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‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel: Here’s Everything We Know About the HBO Pilot So Far

Just as “Game of Thrones” is coming to an end, HBO is working on breathing new life into Westeros with a prequel pilot that will flesh out some of the series’ backstory that all you die-hard fans have been craving for years.

While details are few and far between at the moment, we know way more than we probably would about the project thanks to George R.R. Martin. The “A Song of Ice and Fire” series author is helping to develop the project and he refuses to stop teasing it.

Also Read: Lena Headey Shares ‘Game of Thrones’ Behind-the-Scenes Videos of ‘Best Bro’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

1. We know who is in charge.

Ordered to pilot earlier this year, the project from Martin and “Kingsman” screenwriter Jane Goldman is set thousands of years before the events of the current “Game of Thrones” series in the era known as the “Age of Heroes.”

Goldman wrote the pilot from a story she developed alongside Martin. She will serve as showrunner and will executive produce alongside Martin, James Farrel, Jim Danger Gray, Vince Gerardis and Daniel Zelman. Chris Symes is co-executive producer.

Also Read: ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season Director Says Security Was Dialed Up to ‘Gestapo’ Level This Year

2. We’ve got a description.

According to HBO, the drama “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.”

3. We (possibly) know what it’s called, thanks to George R.R. Martin.

Maybe it’s “The Long Night,” maybe it’s not “The Long Night.” All we know is that Martin for sure said it was — and then retracted that statement after HBO “informed” him it’s still currently untitled.

Also Read: Kit Harington Cuts Off Jon Snow’s Long Hair, Signals ‘Game of Thrones’ Winter Is Coming

4. We’ve got some stars.

Naomi Watts has been cast in a leading role for the (supposedly) untitled project, along with Josh Whitehouse.

Watts will play a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret, but further details about her character and the plot are not being made public, while no character details are currently available for Whitehouse’s part on the prequel pilot.

5. It won’t have Targaryens — and maybe no dragons.

While discussing his new book “Fire and Blood” — which catalogs the history of Westeros before the current events of his “A Song of Ice and Fire” books and David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ fantasy series — the author teased more about the upcoming project, which is set 10,000 years before “GoT.”

Also Read: George R.R. Martin’s Childhood Pet Turtle Influenced ‘Game of Thrones’ (Video)

“‘10,000 years’ is mentioned in the novels,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly in an interview published Monday, while addressing how “recognizable” the series will be for fans. “But you also have places where maesters say, ‘No, no, it wasn’t 10,000, it was 5,000.’ Again, I’m trying to reflect real-life things that a lot of high fantasy doesn’t reflect. In the Bible, it has people living for hundreds of years and then people added up how long each lived and used that to figure out when events took place. Really? I don’t think so. Now we’re getting more realistic dating now from carbon dating and archeology. But Westeros doesn’t have that. They’re still in the stage of ‘my grandfather told me and his grandfather told him.’ So I think it’s closer to 5,000 years.”

“But you’re right. Westeros is a very different place,” Martin continued. “There’s no King’s Landing. There’s no Iron Throne. There are no Targaryens — Valyria has hardly begun to rise yet with its dragons and the great empire that it built. We’re dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series. [Goldman] is a tremendous talent. She flew into Santa Fe and we spent a week talking about her ideas. She’s going into territory that I haven’t explored very much in the books. I’ve hinted about them. But she’s a major writer, I love her work.”

Also Read: George RR Martin Says ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Pilot Won’t Involve Targaryens, TBD on Dragons

6. It’s the only pilot HBO is moving forward with — for now.

HBO chief Casey Bloys told reporters during the Television Critics Association press tour in July that of the five “Thrones” spinoff scripts in development, Goldman’s is the only one they are putting into production. “The reason we did multiple scripts in the development process, [we knew] out of five we’d be lucky to get one we’re excited about,” he said. While he didn’t confirm the others are dead, we have yet to see any movement on them since he made that statement.

7. Production is supposed to begin in early 2019 — just as “Game of Thrones” is coming to an end.

“Our hope is that it would shoot, you know, first half of ’19,” Bloys told TheWrap during TCA. “I don’t know where the October came from,” he added, referencing a Belfast Telegraph story from June that first reported the prequel pilot would go into production in Belfast this October. “I’m guessing maybe they wanted it to be? [laughs] But there was no truth to that.”

Also Read: George RR Martin Says ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Pilot Won’t Involve Targaryens, TBD on Dragons

8. The “Game of Thrones” showrunners aren’t involved.

Weiss and Benioff will have nothing to do with the prequel series, and will be moving on from the franchise after “GoT” airs its final season, starting in April 2019.

And, because you don’t need to let go of the OG series just yet, you can read everything we know about the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” here.

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Guillermo del Toro Lists His 18 Unproduced Scripts – Among Them ‘Justice League Dark’ and ‘Hulk’ TV Pilot

It sounds like even Guillermo del Toro, a two-time Oscar winner for “The Shape of Water,” has trouble getting some of his movies made: He tweeted a list of 17 films he says he has ready to go, including “Justice League Dark.”

His list, which also includes a TV pilot for Marvel’s The Hulk, includes projects that are “developed, fully written or co-written” but “have gone unproduced (so far).”

They aren’t just passion projects. Besides “Justice League Dark,” which is a, well, darker take on the DC super-team, he also has versions of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and “Haunted Mansion,” and a remake of “Fantastic Voyage.”

Also Read: Guillermo del Toro Sets ‘Pinocchio’ Passion Project With Netflix

“To be clear these screenplays are WRITTEN, done,” del Toro said in a series of tweets on Monday. “Each of them took months, years of my life. Meetings synopsis, beat sheets and were all written, features, 90-130 pages each.”

Del Toro said the films amount to a decade of work “lost” and added that they are not pipe dreams.

“These are not ‘maybes’ or ‘wish list’ items. They are done,” del Toro added.

At least one of the projects, “Pacific Rim 2,” has already been made, but he said on Twitter that his version is “very different” from the version that audiences ultimately saw, this year’s “Pacific Rim: Uprising.”

Many of the other projects have already been previously reported and slowly faded from view over the years. For instance, del Toro was previously attached to direct “Beauty and the Beast,” which Disney released their own remake of in 2017. For “Justice League Dark,” del Toro confirmed to Gizmodo that he was in talks for the project back in 2012 and by 2013 had even revealed to IGN some of the characters that would be featured. But TheWrap reported back in 2017 that the movie still lives on at Warner Bros. and that Gerard Johnstone was hired to rewrite the script. Finally, Deadline reported that del Toro became attached to “The Hulk” TV pilot at ABC in 2010. The last update came in 2012 when he told Collider that he was “in a holding pattern” on the show. The director has also hinted at some of the other projects, some of which date back to 2001.

Also Read: Guillermo del Toro Signs Multi-Year Exclusive Deal With DreamWorks Animation

View the full list of movies del Toro tweeted out below:

1/2 SCREENPLAYS I have developed, fully written or co-written that have gone unproduced (so far):
THE WITCHES, JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, FANTASTIC VOYAGE, THE COUNT OF MONTECRISTO, MEPHISTO’S BRIDGE, PACIFIC RIM 2 (very different),

— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) November 26, 2018

2/2 SECRET PROJECT (UNTITLED), SUPERSTITIOUS, NIGHTMARE ALLEY, HAUNTED MANSION, THE HULK pilot, THE BURIED GIANT, THE COFFIN, DROOD, LIST OF 7 (Mark Frost) and a few others…

— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) November 26, 2018

The thing is- each script takes about a year, so- more than a decade of work lost (in the case of mountains, much more, since we scoiuted and designed etc)

— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) November 26, 2018

Oh, and WIND IN THE WILLOWS (which I loved)

— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) November 26, 2018

To be clear these screenplays are WRITTEN, done. Each of them took months or years of my life. Meetings, synopsis, beat sheets and were all written, features- 90-130 pages each.

— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) November 26, 2018

These are not “maybes” or “wish list” items. They are done.

— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) November 26, 2018

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George RR Martin Says ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Pilot Won’t Involve Targaryens, TBD on Dragons

George R.R. Martin has shared yet another fact about the “Game of Thrones” prequel pilot — which may or may not be titled “The Long Night.”

While discussing his new book, “Fire and Blood” — which catalogs the history of Westeros before the current events of Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” books and David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ fantasy series — the author teased more about the upcoming project, which is set 10,000 years before “GoT.”

And, well, if you were hoping for a lot of the same elements of “Thrones” in its prequel, you might be disappointed, as this Westeros very different from the one we know now. For one, there won’t be Targaryens and there may not even be dragons, said Martin, who is working with HBO and showrunner Jane Goldman.

Also Read: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: Here’s Everything We Know About the Series’ Epic Ending – So Far

“‘10,000 years’ is mentioned in the novels,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly in an interview published Monday, while addressing how “recognizable” the series will be for fans. “But you also have places where maesters say, ‘No, no, it wasn’t 10,000, it was 5,000.’ Again, I’m trying to reflect real-life things that a lot of high fantasy doesn’t reflect. In the Bible, it has people living for hundreds of years and then people added up how long each lived and used that to figure out when events took place. Really? I don’t think so. Now we’re getting more realistic dating now from carbon dating and archeology. But Westeros doesn’t have that. They’re still in the stage of ‘my grandfather told me and his grandfather told him. So I think it’s closer to 5,000 years.”

“But you’re right. Westeros is a very different place,” Martin continued. “There’s no King’s Landing. There’s no Iron Throne. There are no Targaryens — Valyria has hardly begun to rise yet with its dragons and the great empire that it built. We’re dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series. [Goldman] is a tremendous talent. She flew into Santa Fe and we spent a week talking about her ideas. She’s going into territory that I haven’t explored very much in the books. I’ve hinted about them. But she’s a major writer, I love her work.”

The eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” will premiere in April 2019.

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‘Surveillance’: Matthew Modine to Star Opposite Sophia Bush on CBS’ NSA Drama Pilot

Matthew Modine is moving from Hawkins, Indiana to the NSA.

Modine will star opposite Sophia Bush in CBS’ NSA drama pilot, “Surveillance,” from producer Matt Reeves.

Modine will play Man in a Red Tie, a high level and mysterious government operative whose identity and true mission is shrouded in secrecy. The casting will not impact Modine’s role on Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” where he plays the nefarious Dr. Martin Brenner.

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“Surveillance” is described by CBS as a complex and timely spy thriller centered around the head of communications for the NSA (Bush), a charming operative who finds her loyalties torn between protecting the government’s secrets and her own.

Modine joins a cast that also includes Catalina Sandino Moreno and Raphael Acloque. Sandino Moreno will play Natalie, who oversees all active operations at the NSA, the first woman to do so – and she’s excellent at her job. She is fiercely loyal to Maddy (Bush), her close colleague and longtime friend, and the two are like sisters. Acloque will play Jack, a smart, calculating and resourceful journalist with an alternative news website. He’s a vocal critic of the NSA, determined to expose corruption and abuse within the agency and the intelligence community at large.

Reeves executive produces via his 6th & Idaho production company alongside Riggen; White co-executive produces. The project is a co-production between 20th Century Fox, where Reeves is set up, and CBS TV studios. David C. White wrote the script and Patricia Riggen is set to direct.

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George RR Martin Says HBO ‘Informed’ Him ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Pilot Is Still Untitled

You might wanna scratch “The Long Night” off all your “Game of Thrones” prequel pilot fan fiction — at least for now — because George R.R. Martin had to take back his premature announcement that that is in fact the name of the upcoming HBO project.

“Oh, I should also mention … HBO has informed me that the Jane Goldman pilot is not (yet) titled THE LONG NIGHT,” Martin wrote on his Not A Blog blog Monday. “That’s is certainly the title I prefer, but for the moment the pilot is still officially UNTITLED. So… mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. Elsewise, the pilot is coming along well, with casting falling into place. I could tell you more, but I am not supposed to. We also have a couple of other successor shows still in development, but I cannot tell you about those either. Sorry.”

Yes, his bad, his bad. But, did you notice Martin’s “not (yet) titled” and “but for the moment” and “I could tell you more” remarks? OK, so make of that what you will. (He’s also continuing to tease those other possible “GoT” prequel projects that we’ve seen no movement on since this one was ordered.)

Also Read: Always a Jon Snow, Kit Harington Knew Nothing About ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season Until Table Read

Last week, Martin was so excited to welcome Naomi Watts — who was cast as a lead in the project — into the “Game of Thrones” family that he prematurely gave the prequel pilot the “The Long Night” moniker.

“Casting is now underway for THE LONG NIGHT, the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor series to ordered to film,” Martin wrote on his aforementioned blog. “HBO has just announced the first cast member: NAOMI WATTS is coming on board as one of our stars. I could not be more excited.  Welcome to Westeros, Naomi.”

An an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap at the time the pilot remains untitled — and it looks like HBO told Martin the same thing.

Also Read: ‘Game of Thrones’: Here’s How Season 8 of HBO’s Fantasy Epic Opens – With a Ton of Callbacks

Ordered to pilot earlier this year, the project from Martin and “Kingsman” screenwriter Jane Goldman is set thousands of years before the events of the current “Game of Thrones” series in the era known as the “Age of Heroes.”

According to HBO, the drama “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.”

Goldman wrote the pilot from a story she developed alongside Martin. She will serve as showrunner and will executive produce alongside Martin, James Farrel, Jim Danger Gray, Vince Gerardis and Daniel Zelman. Chris Symes is co-executive producer.

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George RR Martin Says ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Pilot Will Be Called ‘The Long Night’