The prequel takes place roughly 5,000 years before the events of the HBO series, predating the rise of the Lannister family

By Aurelie Corinthios
July 10, 2019 02:30 PM
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Production on the Game of Thrones prequel is underway — and the mastermind behind the franchise just shed some light on the highly anticipated project.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, George R.R. Martin opened up about the upcoming prequel, which began filming its pilot last month in Northern Ireland. So first things first: Since the prequel takes place roughly 5,000 years before the events of the HBO series, which families were even around back then?

“The Starks will definitely be there,” Martin revealed of the fan-favorite family, who were descendants of the First Men.

As for the Lannisters? According to Martin, they won’t be featured — at least at first — because the prequel predates their rise.

“The Lannisters aren’t there yet, but Casterly Rock is certainly there,” he said of the future Lannister homestead. “It’s like the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s actually occupied by the Casterlys — for whom it’s still named after in the time of Game of Thrones.” (Per EW, the Casterlys were supposedly swindled from their homestead by Lann the Clever — who founded House Lannister — though it’s unclear if this tale will be told in the prequel.)

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister (left) and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
Helen Sloan/HBO (2)

The prequel also predates dragons, unfortunately — but don’t despair, because Martin promises other creatures will be featured.

“Obviously the White Walkers are here — or as they’re called in my books, The Others — and that will be an aspect of it,” Martin said. “There are things like direwolves and mammoths.”

Last but not least, the show may get a slightly different title than we were expecting. Though still officially untitled, Martin previously suggested the title The Long Night — but as EW points out, that could get confusing, given episode 3 of Game of Thrones’ season 8 is also titled “The Long Night.”

“I heard a suggestion that it could be called The Longest Night, which is a variant I wouldn’t mind,” Martin said. “That would be pretty good.”

As previously announced, the prequel will star Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (King Kong), Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth), and Denise Gough (Broadway’s Angels in America). Martin and Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kick-Ass) are the creators of the new series, with Goldman serving as the showrunner. (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners of the original series, will not be involved.)

Naomi Watts
Jamie McCarthy/Getty
Naomi Ackie
Karwai Tang/WireImage
Denise Gough
Karwai Tang/WireImage

A premiere date has not yet been announced, but according to EW, HBO programming president Casey Bloys previously said it will not air until at least a year after the conclusion to GoT. If greenlit to series, the project theoretically could be on the air in 2020 or 2021.