HBO’s untitled Game of Thrones prequel series from Jane Goldman and George R.R. Martin has found its first lead: Naomi Watts has signed on to play a character described only as “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret,” Variety reports. The news comes after the pilot, one of originally five in contention at HBO, was greenlit in July.
It would seem that Watts’ socialite will lead a larger ensemble of characters, based on what HBO president of programming Casey Bloys told Deadline in July: “There are very strong female characters but it’s an ensemble, there is men and women. Jane is a very good writer, we don’t want to limit her to writing female leads. There are a lot of very complicated leads in [the pilot].” Seeing as the series seems to cover the Long Night in some form (judging from Martin’s suggestion of that as a title), perhaps the pilot will establish an ensemble of characters each touched by this horrific winter in a different way.
At any rate, what we do have to go on is the official logline from HBO:
Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: 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… it’s not the story we think we know.
“Jane did not go into that wanting to answer anything about Game of Thrones; it was the story that spoke to her,” Bloys also said back in July. “It will feel very different because it’s 8,000 years before, it’s a very different setting, a very different time in Westeros, It will feel different but still Game of Thrones.”
The pilot is expected to go into production in early 2019, perhaps as early as January. In the meantime, Game of Thrones will return for its eighth and final season in early 2019.