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Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen Emilia Clarke HBO

There is great news for Game of Thrones fans anxious to revisit the universe of the wildly successful series as it attempts to franchise. The prequel House of the Dragon is HBO’s big-budget move to continue the flagship’s legacy, and it has taken a significant step forward. The follow-up series is reportedly going into casting mode already.

EW is reporting that the Game of Thrones prequel is diving into the casting process, though it is not yet clear which roles are getting cast. However, characters central to the Targaryen civil war, dubbed the Dance of Dragons, are among those heavily speculated to be in the conversation. Those figures would include Daenerys' (and Jon Snow’s) ancestors such as King Viserys I (the fifth Targaryen King) and Daenerys’ arguable precursor, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.

As you can tell from the name, King Viserys and Daenerys’ creepy older brother share the same name. Game of Thrones viewers know based on Jon Snow’s original moniker (before Ned’s big lie) that the Targaryens are big on reusing the family’s titles. House of the Dragon could delve into all of that and more, and viewers will likely see at least a few high-profile names attached in the near-ish future.

The Game of Thrones prequel initiating casting is a move that might be surprising to some when you consider the coronavirus production halt has made in-person auditions far more complicated for an international project such as this. However, there is precedence for it. Another fantasy epic, The Witcher, is among those who have found a way to continue the casting process despite the industry-wide shutdown, with the Netflix series' creative team quite pleased with its ability to virtually cast.

It is not clear if the Game of Thrones prequel is using that technique, but I would imagine it is highly probable. If late-night interviews and even Comic-Con can go virtual, why not casting for an HBO prequel? News of House of the Dragon starting up the casting process comes a little over a year after Game of Thrones’ first prequel pilot started filming in mid-June 2019, though that project did not move forward.

That prequel featured Naomi Watts among a plethora of others in its cast, but in a move that sent shockwaves through the fandom, HBO announced near the end of October that the Game of Thrones spinoff wouldn't be getting a season order. It was cited that a “troubled” pilot was the cause for the end of the potential series. It was past any redemption, or you would think the premium cabler would have seized on it.

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In an announcement that took some of the sting out of the initial blow, HBO also confirmed that it had picked House of the Dragon up to series. So, no need to necessarily worry about a troubled pilot. HBO subsequently elaborated on the decision to drop the Naomi Watts-led Game of Thrones prequel in favor of House of the Dragon. HBO’s Casey Bloys pointed to the latter’s rich and pre-existing source material.

Do you know what else has some excellent source material? Game of Thrones itself. Yes, I’m still holding out for a Sansa Stark sequel series. A woman can dream! The good news is that something in the Game of Thrones realm is happing, and casting is a huge step forward in shaping it.

You can currently stream Game of Thrones (in its entirety) on HBO Max. While you wait for House of the Dragon to arrive in 2022, check out this fall’s premieres.

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