Game of Thrones filming is over, long live Game of Thrones. Now comes the portion of the process while fans wait for the first official photos from the final season, and then the first official trailer. (Hopefully, it will be accompanied by the actual official debut date.) But there is good news: The wait will not be an empty one, at least according to sources in Ireland. Rumor has it the first Game Of Thrones prequel starts filming their pilot this coming fall, which means casting must be right around the corner.
According to The Belfast Telegraph those who work at Titanic's Paint Hall, which is the production studio Game of Thrones called home for nearly a decade, have been informed their next big project moving in this October will be the prequel series:
Filming on the Game of Thrones prequel will start in Belfast in October, it has been confirmed. Staff at the Paint Hall studios in the city's Titanic Quarter have been briefed that their next major project will be a series set 1,000 years before the events of the fantasy drama. The news is another huge boost to our growing TV and film industry, with Superman prequel series Krypton also being filmed locally and the latest spin-off in the Star Wars franchise coming here in April 2019.
One small quibble, The Belfast Times refers to the prequel as being set 1,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones. In fact, it is set 10,000 years before, in the Age of Heroes. But really, what's a few millennia?
HBO has been employing artisans from around the Belfast area to create the world of Westeros for years now. This new show may be set in the distant past, but it still takes place on the same continent. Having the same crew who know the ins and outs of making Westeros look like Westeros and who have managed to keep a mostly tight ship on spoilers over the years is a smart choice on the part of the production team.
If this seems rather fast though, it shouldn't. HBO has stated it wants to begin airing Game of Thrones sequels come 2020 so there's no long gap between the end of the anchor program and the spin-off version. In order for this to happen, filming for a full season needs to begin in 2019. This means showrunner Jane Goodman has to have a pilot in front of them to get the series approved sooner rather than later.
It may seem like a long process, but this is how television sausage has been made for decades. Some production companies, like Amazon Studios, have sped things up, putting their shows through to film a full season just based on the strength of reading a pilot script. But HBO still adheres to the old-fashioned method of approving in increments.
This method was actually a boon to Game of Thrones in the past. As fans may remember, the first pilot episode for GoT was such a disaster it has never been aired. The entire thing had to be rewritten and major parts, including Daenerys Targaryen, were recast. (Some scenes from the original still made it in. If you watch the pilot episode with the Director's Commentary on, they note which scenes are which.)
With the memory of the original failed pilot still lodged in everyone's memory, it's not surprising they're shooting the prequel pilot with enough time to spare. If it winds up the pilot has to be retooled, the production can do so and still have filming begin sometime in 2019.
Until then, fans will be keeping their eyes and ears peeled for castings as they occur over the rest of the summer. It's a good pastime while everyone waits for Game of Thrones' final season to eventually turn up on HBO come 2019.