Casting announcements are continuing to roll out for HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel pilot from Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and author / Game of Thrones co-executive producer George R.R. Martin. Yesterday, it was announced that Naomi Watts would lead the series as “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret,” which doesn’t tell us too much. But since the story is reportedly set long before Game of Thrones, clues aren’t likely to lead us far in any case.
Today, Deadline is reporting that a key role (one of several — the male lead has not yet been cast) for the series has been filled by Josh Whitehouse, who was most recently seen on the PBS series Poldark as an ailing young war hero and would-be politician (who sweeps Poldark’s wife Demelza off her feet). Indeed, Tumblr is ablaze with gifs of Whitehouse’s Hugh Armitage, as well it should be.
Details on the series are scarce, but we do know that it takes place during the Golden Age of Heroes, but as with any Martin story, nothing happy lasts forever. As HBO describes it:
“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’ 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.”
Martin has built in a ton of lore to his Song of Ice and Fire novel series, something the Game of Thrones TV show hasn’t always followed-up well with (we have gotten a glimpse of the origin of the White Walkers via the Children of the Forest, but there is a lot more to get into). It seems like this series might really be leaning into its fantasy roots than even the current series does (ahem, like with the way it ignore the Direwolves). And as has been reported before, Game of Thrones showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff will have no role in the upcoming prequels or other spinoff series; this prequel will be showrun by Goldman.
There’s is no official word yet on when we might see this prequel, but 2020 is probably the earlier. For now, Game of Thrones‘ six-episode final season is set to premiere in April 2019.