As the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones draws nearer, the pay-cable powerhouse already has its eye on the next GoT property: A still-untitled prequel pilot that, as of today (Jan. 8), has its director and eight new series regulars.
S.J. Clarkson, pictured above, will direct and executive produce the prequel pilot, per Variety. The director—who has helmed episodes of Showtime’s Dexter, Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, Jessica Jones and The Defenders, and HBO’s Vinyl and Succession, among many other TV credits—was recently tapped to direct the next Star Trek film, the fourth in the rebooted sci-fi franchise. Clarkson was reportedly shortlisted to direct the next Bond film in September, though that gig eventually went to Cary Fukunaga. She executive produced and directed four-episode, Carey Mulligan-starring BBC/Netflix limited series Collateral last year, as well.
It’s heartening to see a female director at the helm here—by the time its run wraps later this year, GoT will have availed itself of the talents of only a single, solitary woman director: Emmy winner Michelle MacLaren, who directed two episodes each in the show’s third and fourth seasons. This prequel has already matched that meager total, and we can only imagine that it will go on to exceed it.
In front of the camera, Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Georgie Henley, Alex Sharp and Toby Regbo have joined the GoT prequel pilot as series regulars, following in the footsteps of Naomi Watts and Josh Whitehouse. Naturally, none of the eight new cast members’ roles have been disclosed.
Though the group is light on household names, that won’t be the case for long: Ackie will star in J.J. Abrams’ forthcoming Star Wars: Episode IX and was recently seen in Idris Elba’s directorial debut Yardie; Gough appeared in Bleeker Street’s Colette opposite Keira Knightley and Dominic West, and will next be seen in Joe Cornish’s The Kid Who Would Be King; Bower appeared in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd adaptation and the Twilight films; Atim is an award-winning English stage actor with appearances in productions in the U.K.’s West End, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Donmar Warehouse and The Old Vic, and a series regular in Hulu’s Harlots; Jeremiah will star in forthcoming film The Flood alongside GoT’s Lena Headey and Iain Glen, and currently stars in AMC sci-fi series Humans; Henley starred in the three Chronicles of Narnia films as Lucy Pevensie; Sharp played the lead in a 2014-2015 stage adaptation of best-selling Mark Haddon novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and starred opposite Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman in John Cameron Mitchell’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties; and Regbo stars in Netflix’s The Last Kingdom, and appeared in the Harry Potter-verse via Fantastic Beasts sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald. There will be a test on all of this later!
Story-wise, we remain largely in the dark on HBO’s GoT prequel—reportedly working-titled The Long Night—outside of the following logline:
Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the new show 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’ 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.
Showrunner Jane Goldman co-created the project with A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin—the pair wrote its story together, while Goldman penned its teleplay. The show is one of a whopping five prequels in development at HBO, though it’s the first and only to obtain a pilot order.
Stay tuned for further updates on the prequel and find out everything we know about it so far here.