Game of Thrones will air its final episode this year, but there’s already a prequel series in the works. Set thousands of years before Game of Thrones begins, the new series stars Naomi Watts as “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret.” (More about what we know about the Game of Thrones prequel series here.)
Originally, HBO had commissioned five separate Game of Thrones prequel series, but only one is moving forward at this point. Recently, HBO programming president Casey Bloys shared some new details about the confirmed Game of Thrones prequel series, and addressed what’s happening with the other four projects.
USA Today reports that the confirmed Game of Thrones prequel pilot will begin shooting in June 2019, shortly after Game of Thrones‘ final episode airs on May 19. If the pilot moves forward—which USA Today notes is “a relatively safe bet”—production would begin in 2020, and the series would premiere “later that year or beyond.”
And for the other prequel projects? “I don’t know that we’ll do another one; I’m just not sure,” Bloys told USA Today, adding that the current prequel project “was the one that, for us, rose above the others and made the most sense for us.”
In an interview with Deadline, Bloys that location scouting is currently underway: “They’re will be some based in Belfast but beyond that, they are still scouting.” (Much of Game of Thrones was also shot in Belfast.) He added, “I would not even hazard a guess as to when” the Naomi Watts prequel series “would end up on air.”
Bloys didn’t rule out the idea of another Game of Thrones prequel series entirely, though. He said:
I don’t want to build a programming lineup that is dependent on the next Game of Thrones franchise coming. That said, it’s an incredibly rich world that George has created. So, I think we’d be crazy not to take a shot, but it’s not going to be the sole focus of our programming efforts. We’re going to continue that franchise only if it’s good.
Bloys told the Hollywood Reporter that the Naomi Watts pilot has “an early summer shoot date” and that the other prequel series ideas won’t be moving forward at this point. He said:
No other plans to pick up anything else until we get that one going and then we’ll think about if there’s any other one that we want to make. We really just want to get this one going, get it off to pilot and then we’ll think about other options. […] We’re going to do the pilot, see how it goes. Is it possible we do another one? Maybe. But I don’t want HBO to become a network that airs just Game of Thrones or Game of Thrones prequels.
Naomi Watts also recently spoke about starring in the new series. Although she refused to share any spoilers, in an interview with Variety, she said:
“It’s a fantastic world, isn’t it? I think there’s so many brilliant elements to that series that make it very exciting, very appealing. […] I don’t want to dig myself into a big hole here. All I want to say is it’s very exciting…I’ll say that again and again and again—and nothing else.”
Game of Thrones fans should watch closely for more details about the confirmed prequel pilot (George R. R. Martin may have let the title slip on his blog, though HBO hasn’t confirmed it). But it looks like only one Game of Thrones prequel series will make it to TV—at least for the next year or two.