HBO has officially ordered a pilot episode for a Game of Thrones prequel series about the Long Night during the Age of Heroes, set some 8,000 years before the War of the Five Kings in the original TV series. It is currently one of four Game of Thrones prequel projects being actively considered for development by HBO.
On June 8, 2018, HBO put out a press release that it had ordered a pilot episode for the prequel pitch by Jane Goldman - with George R.R. Martin attached as a co-producer. It provided this short description for the prequel:
- "Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles 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's 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."
The White Walkers first attacked during the Long Night, which occurred some 8,000 years before the War of the Five Kings and narrative of the main series, during a historical epoch known as the Age of Heroes.
On June 11, 2018, George R.R. Martin commented on the announcement in his personal blog. He congratulated Goldman, but stated that at this point, only the pilot script was finished: no directors, filming locations, or actors had been looked at yet.
Martin went on to say that while a pilot has been ordered, there is no guarantee that HBO will order production of a full TV series based on it. Moreover, Martin clarified that three other prequel projects are still in active development - Goldman's was just the first to be officially ordered (though this may indicate HBO's confidence in it). As Martin understands it, HBO's intention is to have at least one and possibly all three of the other prequel pitches film pilot episodes, then pick one of these to develop based on the strength of the pilots. He also believes that HBO intends to hopefully premiere the first prequel series in 2020, about one year after the original TV series has its finale - enough time later that they don't overlap, but close enough that interest in the franchise as a whole doesn't start to fade.
The final title of this prequel project has not been determined yet. Martin stated in his blog announcement about it that he would personally choose "The Long Night" for this prequel, but he doesn't have final say. Also, he thinks HBO would probably want to put "Game of Thrones" in it so audiences will know they're part of the same franchise. Thus this article uses "Game of Thrones: The Long Night " as a placeholder title for navigation purposes, pending further updates.