The news hit us this week like Viserion falling to the ground after being struck in the heart by the Night King: filming for Game of Thrones is over, forever. Although not quite, as HBO, George R.R. Martin and several pairs of screenwriters are working on spin-offs which will continue to explore the mythology of the Seven Kingdoms. One of these, announced for 2020 at the earliest, will be a prequel to the series and will begin filming imminently.
As a reminder, this new show will be set during the decline of the Age of Heroes, 1,000 years prior to the events of the War of the Five Kings which marked the beginning of Game of Thrones. The well-informed website Winter Is Coming reports that a filming date has been set for October. The mysterious team in charge of the spin-off will only film a pilot, which HBO will have to approve before an entire season can be produced. Filming will take place in Belfast, in the Paint Hall studios in the Titanic Quarter which are so familiar to the GoT cast.
The showrunner for the commissioned pilot is Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Kingsman), who has a great deal of experience in action movies. We don't yet know who will direct this pilot episode, nor who will act in it. The cast is likely being selected as we write, and HBO could release names in the coming weeks. The pilot for Game of Thrones underwent a series of reshoots before the cable network approved it. There's no doubt that its younger sister will meet the same fate, whether or not the dragons are flying over Westeros.