After nearly a year of development and a total of five projects getting batted around, HBO has finally announced their (first?) prequel pilot for fantasy juggernaut Game of Thrones. It’s been over a year since the network’s head of programming Casey Bloys announced that spin-offs were in the works. In that time George R.R. Martin confirmed the network was developing prequels and the number of potential projects grew from four to five. The network attached several different writers to the projects including Thrones’ own Brian Cogman, as well as George R.R. Martin to two separate possibilities. After frenetic speculation about which writer and which project (or writers and projects) would get made, the network finally released its decision on Friday.
George R. R. Martin and Jane Goldman’s pilot about the Age of Heroes is the first GoT prequel pilot to be greenlit. The network released a description along with the announcement that read as follows:
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’ 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.
For the casual watcher, the Age of Heroes is Westeros’ ancient history. It takes place about 10,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones and is essentially their mythological age. Old Nan’s stories are typically from this time in Westerosi history and they feature heroes and tricksters like Bran the Builder (architect of the Wall, founder of House Stark), Lann the Clever (founder of House Lannister) and the Night King (who you’ve met). It also features formative events in the continent’s history like the arrival of the First Men, their subsequent war with the Children of the Forest, and everyone’s subsequent war with the White Walkers 1.0.
We’ve seen folktales related to the events of this time period and brief glimpses from Bran, but there’s nothing in the way of recorded history. It looks like HBO’s going to tell the story behind the stories in regards to Westeros’ most fantastical age.
Anyone familiar with the source material will recognize this as an incredibly fertile ground for storytelling. There are plenty of major events and characters to tackle, but there’s also a ton of room to maneuver artistically. It’s a huge win for fans of the more magical side of A Song of Ice and Fire because while Game of Thrones has tried to maintain a 70/30 balance between its politics and its fantasy (at least in the first few seasons), a pilot set in the Age of Heroes wouldn’t be able to do the same. Too many elements of the story are already based in magic from the Children of the Forest to the eventual White Walkers to the construction of the Wall — and we haven’t even gotten to those “mysteries of the East” they mentioned. There’s a lot to look forward to in terms of spectacle. And, frankly, we couldn’t have asked for a better team.
G.R.R.M needs no introduction, but for the uninitiated, his writing partner Jane Goldman could not be a better choice to help bring the Age of Heroes to life. She wrote along with director Matthew Vaughn on Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and the Kingsman franchise. She’s a powerhouse voice in genre film and stands poised to become a defining addition to what may soon be called the Game of Thrones franchise.
That said, all of this excitement aside, now would also be a good time to manage expectations. HBO’s greenlit a pilot, but that’s no guarantee it’ll get a series order. And the network hasn’t said the other prequels are totally out of the running, just that Martin and Goldman’s is definitely off the ground. A lot of things can happen between now and 2020 which would presumably be the earliest we’d see the series if it gets to that point.
Still, forward movement is forward movement, and this news is only furthering our excitement about what HBO has in store for fans once Game of Thrones concludes next year.
Are you excited for what Martin and Goldman have in store for us or are you brokenhearted that they didn’t pick another period in Westerosi history to illuminate? Let us know in the comments and keep checking back at Geek for our continuing coverage as this story develops.
Photos: Gage Skidmore, HBO