HBO Max's 'Game of Thrones' Prequel Unveils First Look at Cast as Series Begins Production

HBO Max's Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon, is slated to debut in 2022

Game of Thrones fans have a lot to look forward to in 2022.

HBO Max announced on Monday that production on its spinoff prequel series, House of the Dragon, has begun. Using the show's newly-launched Twitter profile, the network shared a photo of the cast participating in a socially-distanced table read.

"Fire will reign," the tweet read, featuring a photo of the stars at work. "The @HBO original series #HouseoftheDragon is officially in production. Coming soon to @HBOMax in 2022."

House of the Dragon's Twitter page also confirmed details about the cast and their respective characters. Matt Smith stars as Prince Daemon Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Steve Toussaint as The Sea Snake and Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.

House of Dragon table read
House of Dragon/Twitter

House of the Dragon scored a straight to series order on HBO Max shortly after the show was announced in late 2019. During February's Television Critics' Association event, it was announced that production on the project would begin in April.

Created by Ryan J. Condal and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, House of the Dragon is set 300 years before the events that transpired in the acclaimed HBO drama and will recount the Targaryen civil war. The new series will have 10 episodes.

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House of the Dragon is one of many Game of Thrones spinoff series that are currently in development. Though HBO chose to cancel its planned Naomi Watts-led prequel show, Tales of Dunk and Egg — following Ser Duncan the Tall (Dunk) and Aegon V Targaryen (Egg) — was announced in January.

Matt Smith House of Dragon
House of Dragon/Twitter

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The Hollywood Reporter also reported in January that an animated drama is underway; Deadline reported in March that HBO is working on a trio of shows, titled 9 Voyages, Flea Bottom and 10,000 Ships; and a series based on Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books is in the works.

Games of Thrones premiered in 2011 to acclaim from critics and fans alike. It ran for eight years, ending in 2019 after eight seasons.

The show's controversial series finale ultimately divided the fanbase, but some Game of Thrones stars have defended the ending.

House of Dragon
House of Dragon/Twitter

"We had such a blast. We loved it. I was so happy with my ending, and it was just a beautiful end to a decade of my life," Maisie Williams, who played Arya Stark, said on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in August 2020. "I couldn't be happier with it, honestly."

Sophie Turner, for her part, called out the various petitions speaking out against the show's conclusion. "People always have an idea in their heads of how they want a show to finish, and so when it doesn't go to their liking, they start to speak up about it and rebel," Turner, 25, previously told The New York Times in 2019.

Turner, who played Sansa Stark, noted that the petitions disregard the show's various teams of staff "who have worked tirelessly" on making the series what it is. "So many people worked so, so hard on it," she continued. "And for people to just rubbish it because it's not what they want to see is just disrespectful."

House of the Dragon is expected to premiere on HBO Max in 2022.

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