For the better part of a decade, Game of Thrones was a year-round occupation for HBO. Most shows have long breaks between filming and airing. But HBO's flagship series had such an intense schedule, there was no break. The show would begin filming in July and finish in December, going directly into post-production until the premiere. Then pre-production for the next season started while the show was airing to prep to film in July. Now, it looks like HBO is planning to launch the machine again, as the Game Of Thrones prequel will begin production as soon as the series finale of the parent show ends.
This is good news for fans, who have been wondering when production would start on HBO's first TV series spinoff in the channel's history. (There have been follow-ups to HBO shows before, but Game of Thrones marks the first time said spinoff is a TV show and not a big screen feature film.) By holding off on production until Game of Thrones Season 8 is over, there's no distraction from the main series by the looming prequel.
But also, for those who will need something to help them in the weeks after the finale airs. Having filming news to check in on, and fan sites obsessively covering the new series will provide a needed shot of low-dose GoT news on a regular basis, so no one has to go cold turkey.
According to Entertainment Weekly, which broke the news:
The as-yet-untitled project will begin production in early summer, HBO programming president Casey Bloys told EW on Monday. The news follows nearly a year of rumors of when the prequel to HBO’s all-time biggest hit will start filming.
Now, fans should be aware, this is not the beginning of filming the still-untitled GoT prequel's first season. This is just to shoot the pilot. Unlike streaming services like Amazon, who go straight to series order, HBO is taking its time. It is doubtful anyone thinks director SJ Clarkson or showrunner Jane Goldman will lay a turkey egg the size of the original Game of Thrones pilot. But memories of the recasting and reshoots the original show underwent in 2010 most likely haven't been forgotten.
HBO and Bloys have said the new series will not arrive until at least a year after Game of Thrones Season 8 has been off the air, suggesting the channel anticipates adjustments from the pilot stage to the final product. Though the show is currently entirely cast, this may change after the pilot is completed. The original Game of Thrones, for instance, recast both Daenerys Targaryen and Catelyn Stark between the first go round and the final show.
With so much at stake for the first attempted spinoff TV series, getting the details right is going to be important to everyone involved.
Game of Thrones Season 8 will premiere on HBO on Sunday, April 14, at 9 p.m. ET. The Game of Thrones prequel is expected to premiere in 2020 if it is greenlit to series.