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When the Game of Thrones franchise does something, it has not had a history of seeking to do it quickly. More than a year sometimes goes by between seasons on the HBO show and now the prequel feels like it has been in pre-development for forever. Luckily, we now know filming on the prequel will finally begin during the summer of 2019.
HBO President Casey Bloys dropped the news this week, noting that the network had hoped the project would get underway during the first half of 2019 for a while. Earlier rumors stated October and then (following casting) February might be the start date for filming, especially as more and more people got added to the project. Although that timeframe didn’t work out, the new pilot will be filming sooner rather than later.
Casey Bloys is certainly more of a trustworthy source on the matter than the rumor mill and his comments to EW indicate summer will be when the series gets off of the ground. Still, the show is getting a pilot and no series order has followed yet, indicating that the subscription cabler is taking its time making a decision about its next franchise project.
The reason it has probably felt as if an HBO prequel has been in the works for a long time is that rumors regarding a spinoff started abounding around the time David Benioff and D.B. Weiss announced when Game of Thrones would wrap. At one point, there was even reported to be four potential spinoffs in the works and HBO ultimately chose the one that will be moving forward.
We don’t know a ton about what to expect from the upcoming prequel. Franchise creator George R.R. Martin has talked a little bit about the timeline, revealing it will be pre-Westeros and pre-King’s Landing.
However, Game of Thrones is getting closer and closer to wrapping up its finale. New episodes will hit the schedule this April and at the end of those episodes, the series will have a reached a conclusion. I’m assuming that if HBO is wanting to keep the fanbase invested, the network will want the prequel series to debut about a year after the finale, but that has not been officially stated.
People expect new Game of Thrones content in the spring, and have been irritated before when HBO has skipped a year or switched those dates around. In fact, in 2018 we got no new episodes at all.
So, we’ll wait and see how the prequel goes. Game of Thrones notoriously had a rough go when it was filming its pilot and the whole thing had to be retooled before the show actually made it to the air. Hopefully, the tentatively titled The Long Night won’t have nearly the same issues.