Once again, HBO ties news from Game of Thrones Season 8 to press releases for theThrones prequel in hopes the excitement of the one will carry over. It's not the first time marketing has done this, Naomi Watts' casting was announced the same week Entertainment Weekly's Game of Thrones Season 8 behind-the-scenes deep-dive was published. Now the first significant Season 8 clip is followed by the full cast list for the prequel. These clues about the Game Of Thrones prequel from the cast list point to how the show will be different from its predecessor, and how it will be the same.
Let's run down the names of those announced for the prequel so far. All the parts these actors are playing are being kept under wraps.
- Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive
- Josh Whitehouse (Poldark)
Added this week, per Variety:
- Naomi Ackie (Star Wars)
- Denise Gough (Collette)
- Jamie Campbell Bower (Twilight, Harry Potter)
- Sheila Atim (Harlots)
- Ivanno Jeremiah (Black Mirror)
- Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia)
- Alex Sharp (How To Talk To Girls At Parties)
- Toby Regbo (Fantastic Beasts)
Additionally, S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones, Orange Is the New Black) has come aboard as director for the pilot. She will have an executive producer credit as well.
Here are all the clues about the GOT prequel we have so far:
The Diverse Casting
One of the biggest complaints Game of Thrones has faced over the years is the lack of racial diversity. This stems from the source material where Martin imagined a Westeros which is fully native caucasian.
But nearly half the cast are persons of color, including Naomi Ackie, Sheila Atim, and Ivanno Jeremiah. Most assume this is proof the new show will have scenes in Essos. But it could also mean the racial makeup of Westeros was very different, once upon a time.
The Gender-Balanced Cast
Out of 10 roles announced, fully half are women, a far cry from the male-heavy Season 1 of Game of Thrones. Naomi Watts is rumored to be playing Lann the Clever, who schemed the family into Casterly Rock and the mountain of gold underneath. The number of women actors backs up the idea of Watts as a major historical figure.
The Recasting Of Actors Who Got Away
Jamie Campbell Bower was cast in a role in the original Thrones series but dropped out. Bringing in actors who got away the first time suggests there are more families which stretch back than one might think.
Bower was to play a Royce. Could he now be playing a Royce ancestor?
The Lack Of Big Names
Other than Naomi Watts, none of the names on this list are easily recognizable. Henley may be one of the best known from Narnia series as Lucy.
This list suggests, for all the prequel plans to tell a new story, some of the same values, including casting for talent over name recognition, is still a significant factor.
The Lack Of Easily Categorized Westerosi Family Members
Toby Regbo is a perfect example of how difficult it is to classify each of the new cast members. Watts, of course, is assumed to be a Lannister, because of her vague resemblance to Cersei. But this guy? He could be anyone.
By not casting actors who look like our preconceived notions of Westerosi ancestors, the series is doing everything it can to stand separately.
More Women At The Helm
"The Future Is Female" was a 1970s era slogan Hillary Clinton brought back into vogue in 2016. But Westeros, always so perverse, seems to suggest the opposite. For this story, the past is female.
Viewers have watched on Thrones as the men who run the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms fell one by one, until the only ones left were women. The sheer amount of women, both in front of and behind the scenes suggest the Westeros arriving in 2020 is the opposite. Could this be a world where women already run the joint? Perhaps it's one where the wars to comes slowly bring them down.