Only a month has passed since the season finale of Game of Thrones aired on HBO, and already fans are gearing toward the universe’s expansion. This meant that the show easily seized headlines this week when filming for the Game of Thrones prequel began in Northern Ireland. This was covered by a local news outlet, Belfast Telegraph, which reported that the show was preparing to shoot across the province of Belfast.
Following this report, CNN reached out to HBO, however the network declined to comment on the filming locations of the prequels.
Ireland is not unfamiliar to the hugely popular fantasy series. Multiple scenes of Game of Thrones have been filmed in Northern Ireland, including series standouts the Red Wedding and Battle of the Bastards.
Despite the overlap in filming locations, the prequels will be distinct from the original series. Although the storyline and cast of Game of Thrones brought in record ratings and a dedicated fanbase, the prequels will feature an entirely new cast and will take place thousands of years prior to Game of Thrones. A description of the project explained that it will take place after the world’s “descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.” Martin has additionally referred to the series as “The Long Night,” referencing an event which precedes the War of Conquest. To quote the author, “the series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend, only one thing is for sure: It’s not the story we think we know.”
According to project creators Jane Goldman and George R.R. Martin, Naomi Watts is slated to play “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret.” Watts will be joined by Naomi Ackie, Jamie Campbell Bower, Denise Gough, Georgie Henley, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Alex Sharp and Toby Regbo. S.J. Clarkson, who has recently gained attention for her work on Jessica Jones and Succession, will direct the show’s pilot.
HBO has yet to announce an official release date for the prequels, although reports speculate that it will likely air in late 2020 or early 2021.