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The Long Night: Everything we know about the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series

It feels like every time we scroll through our feeds, there’s more news about Game of Thrones.

Whether it’s the highly-anticipated release date of the eighth and final season, rumours about deaths, relationships and new characters, or the announcement of a new spin-off, there always seems to be something to catch up on. Not that we’re complaining.

And courtesy of George R.R. Martin’s blog, we have some pretty juicy new details around the new spin-off series.

Seeing that it’s almost impossible to keep up with everything that’s going on in Westeros and beyond, we’ve collected everything you need to know about the new Game of Thrones prequel.

What is the Game of Thrones prequel series called?

Ever since HBO announced a new series, rumours have been flying about the cast, the release date and the plot. It was actually the author of the Game of Thrones series, George R.R. Martin, who took to his blog to confirm the spin-off would be a prequel.

Indeed, Martin himself let slip the name of the series in an ill-timed blog post which has since been deleted. The Sun reported several of the details that Martin leaked, most notably the show’s title. Oops. Martin wrote:

“Casting is now underway for The Long Night, the first show of the Game of Thrones successor series ordered to film.”

So there we have it: the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series is called The Long Night.

When is the show set?

The official plot description, which you can read in full below, tells us that the show takes place “thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones”.

On his blog, Martin confirmed the show is indeed a prequel – and also casually mentioned that there are several other spin-offs in the works. Hype!

“Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel,” Martin wrote.

“Some may not even be set on Westeros. Rather than ‘spinoff’ or ‘prequel’, however, I prefer the term ‘successor show’. That’s what I’ve been calling them.

“I can’t tell you the subject matter of those projects, no, sorry, wish I could.”

When is it coming out?

All we know at this point is that The Long Night should hit out screens in 2020.

Who is creating the new series?

While George R.R. Martin will be involved in the process, co-creators and showrunners of Game of Thrones, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, have both confirmed that they will not be overseeing the new series. During the 2016 Emmys, Benioff said:

“I’m sure there will be other series set in Westeros, but for us, this is it.”

With Benioff and Weiss out of the picture, Martin announced that there are as many as five pilot scripts in development. The writers associated with the pilots are: Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island), Academy Award-winner Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential), Carly Wray (Westworld) and one of Game of Thrones’ current head writers, Bryan Cogman.

In June of this year, HBO confirmed that they’d picked up Goldman’s pilot. The writer told Digital Spy that the show would include the mix of humour and gore that she’s renowned for.

“Those are things I love and things I like to do… It would be remiss of me not to put them in.”

What is the plot of The Long Night?

The official plot description reads:

 “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.”

The wiki page for Martin’s book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, says that The Long Night refers to a time of terrible darkness across the world, “which lasted a generation and laid waste through famine and terror”. Spooky.

HBO’s President of Programming, Casey Bloys, told TVLine that the new untitled series will not feature any Game of Thrones characters that we are familiar with. However, as the show is set in the past, there could be some recognisable bloodlines.

Who has been cast in The Long Night?

In the same blog post detailing the show’s title, Martin spilled the beans on one of the big names that’s set to star in the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series.

Naomi Watts is coming on board as one of our stars… I could not be more excited. Welcome to Westeros, Naomi,” he wrote.

naomi watts seated

Naomi Watts in ‘Gypsy’. (Netflix)

That’s right. Naomi-freaking-Watts, the star of Mulholland Drive, The Ring and Twin Peaks: The Return. HBO isn’t mucking around.

HBO is yet to confirm or deny Martin’s claims, but there must be some truth to them. I bet HBO – like A Song of Ice and Fire fans – wish that Martin had chosen to write The Winds of Winter rather than leak details about their new series prematurely.

It seems that the television giant won’t be able to keep a lid on the show for much longer. Deadline Hollywood reported that Josh Whitehouse, a British actor known for his role in Poldark and as the face of Burberry’s ‘Mr. Burberry’ fragrance, has been announced as the show’s lead actor.

Josh Whitehouse as Hugh Armitage in Poldark.

Yeah, he’ll do just fine. (BBC One/PBS)

There’s sure to be more details in the coming weeks. Whatever the case, seeing that we don’t even have a concrete release date for season eight of Game of Thrones, yet we certainly have a while to wait before we see The Long Night – or whatever its final title may be – hit our screens.

One’s thing for sure – we can expect another epic series from HBO.

[Feature image courtesy of HBO, body image from Netflix]

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