The Game of Thrones audience is still recovering from the jarring events of season 8, but many eyes are still on the upcoming HBO prequel. That series remains officially untitled (although, according the George R.R. Martin, it may or may not be called The Long Night), but we do know that the series will share a core prophecy and be based thousands of years prior to the Game of Thrones happenings. HBO has also stated that the prequel will not be “the story we think we know,” and it will include horrifying historical secrets and “the true origin of the White Walkers,” meaning that we’ll likely see the Children of the Forest and perhaps the Night King. When will this series surface for public consumption? It’s gonna be awhile.
HBO Programming President Casey Bloys sat down with Deadline to discuss finale fallout and more, and the interview meandered toward the prequel. Bloys stated that only one Thrones offshoot was currently in process, and there won’t be another until fan response to the prequel is gauged. When quizzed about whether the prequel’s first season — shooting will begin this June — would possibly launch in 2020, Bloys said that felt like too much of a rush:
“I don’t know. I have to get a sense from production when we see scripts for a season, how big and involved it is. Shooting a pilot in June and having it on the air a year later feels a little rushed, but it’s too soon to tell … I wanted to get through the final season and let that stand as a cultural moment. We have the pilot starting in June and then we will decide whether to want to do another one or not. I’m letting those things happen before we decide whether to do another one or not.”
So … 2021? Sounds like it. In addition, Bloys stressed that the reaction to the Thrones final season did not have any effect on the prequel’s pilot timing, there are no sequels currently in the works (sorry, Arya fans), and that writer Jane Goldman has created a very different series “that is of that world but not a replica.” There’s the additional sentiment that this pilot will see producers “take our time and do it right,” which of course, brings to mind how screenwriter Craig Mazin called the original Thrones pilot a “piece of sh*t.” That sent David Benioff and D.B. Weiss back to the drawing board — a process that of course paid off handsomely but probably one that HBO would like to avoid going through again.