HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel series is starting to come together in a more tangible way now that the premium network has made the announcement of a director for the pilot as well as the full cast list. Back in October, we learned that Naomi Watts would lead the series as “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret,” and the next day it was revealed that Poldark‘s Josh Whitehouse had been cast in a “key” role. But things have been quiet since then — until now!
Director S.J. Clarkson (Collateral) has been tapped to helm the series’ pilot (as well as executive produce), which could mean that Star Trek 4 might be pushed (or may go on without her, as she was also selected to direct the next installment of the rebooted franchise). With Watts in the lead, Clarkson behind the camera, and Jane Goldman serving as showrunner, it seems like HBO is learning from some of its past mistakes in the handling of women’s stories on Game of Thrones, and addressing a lack of diversity with a diverse supporting cast.
That cast includes Naomi Ackie (Star Wars: Episode IX), Denise Gough (Angels in America), Jamie Campbell Bower (The Twilight Saga), Sheila Atim (Harlots), Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans), Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia), Alex Sharp (How to Talk to Girls at Parties), and Toby Regbo (Reign), who have all joined the pilot as series regulars. However, nothing is yet known about their characters or roles (of course!)
The series has been described as chronicling “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.”
As I wrote when Whitehouse was cast, George R.R. Martin has built in a ton of lore to his Song of Ice and Fire novel series, something the Game of Thrones TV show hasn’t always followed-up well with (we have gotten a glimpse of the origin of the White Walkers via the Children of the Forest, but there is a lot more to get into). It seems like this series might really be leaning into its fantasy roots than even the current series does (ahem, like with the way it ignores the Direwolves). And as has been reported before, Game of Thrones showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff will have no role in the upcoming prequels or other spinoff series.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO for its final season in April.