Game of Thrones has now officially ended, but the watch is far from over.
Fans of the HBO epic still have a lot to look forward to from the world created by George R.R. Martin — and not just finding out how the final two books in his A Song of Ice and Fire series will align with the series' ending, either.
One spin-off of the series is already in the works, and at least two others are currently in the scripting stages. The first of those sister series will take fans back in time to the ancient days of Westeros to tell the real story of how the Long Night began.
Here's a look at everything we know about the first Game of Thrones prequel series so far.
Prepare for a history lesson. After HBO ordered a pilot for one of the pitched prequels, the network released an official logline that holds a few clues about the new-old journey, which will venture back thousands of years and shed light on some familiar subjects. "It 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," the teaser reads.
That means fans will get to journey even further back into the Stark family's history than even Bran's time-hopping visions have so far allowed, and apparently there's even more to learn about how the White Walkers came to be. Legend has it that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers to protect themselves from the First Men before the monsters got out of hand — at which point they helped erect the Wall to protect Westeros — but it sounds like the history scrolls and cave drawings might not tell the whole story.
What's in a name? A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin initially indicated that the title for the new series would be The Long Night, which would potentially relate to an era often referenced throughout Game of Thrones — by the Red Witch Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and Old Nan (Margaret John), in particular — during the Age of Heroes when winter came and cast a shadow of darkness across the world for a generation. However, he's since retreated from calling that, and the reported working title of the prequel is now Bloodmoon. Martin has since revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the series may go by a variation of his preferred title, such as The Longest Night.
The cast is set. The first cast member to be announced for the potential series' pilot was none other than Naomi Watts, whose role is as-yet-unnamed but has been described as a compelling socialite with a dark secret. She was soon joined by Poldark star Josh Whitehouse for a "key role" that is not expected to be the male lead of the hopeful show.
Then, in January, it was revealed that Naomi Ackie (Star Wars: Episode IX) would also take on a leading role, with Denise Gough (Guerrilla), Jamie Campbell Bower (The Crimes of Grindelwald, Mortal Instruments), Sheila Atim (Harlots), Toby Regbo (Reign), Alex Sharp (To the Bone), Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia), and Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans) also starring. Fun fact: Jamie Campbell-Bower originally appeared in the long-lost Game of Thrones pilot.
In March, actress Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter) was added to the cast for a mystery role, while actors Marquis Rodriguez, John Simm, Richard McCabe, John Heffernan, and Dixie Egerickx were also added as series regulars.
There'll be fresh blood behind the scenes. Game of Thrones' executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss are not going to be involved with this prequel, and instead, it'll be Jane Goldman who runs the show if it's picked up to series, with Daniel Zelman (Bloodline) producing alongside current Game of Thrones producer Vince Gerardis.
It is being shot in Belfast. HBO president of programming Casey Bloys recently confirmed the pilot episode will start shooting in earnest come June (and local reporters observed production underway in early May in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where most of Game of Thrones' scenes were produced).
Expect to see some familiar sigils. George R.R. Martin has confirmed that ancient members of House Stark will appear in the new series, although House Lannister will not feature at first. The author also revealed that fans should expect to see direwolves and mammoths and that the Casterly family for which the Lannister family home was named will also be a part of the series.
There'll be way more kingdoms than before. So much for one ruler presiding over Seven Kingdoms. The new series will feature hundreds of smaller kingdoms. Martin told EW that these will be "petty kingdoms" that long predate the era when Westeros had a king/queen of the Seven.
There might be more where this one came from: The script for the first Game of Thrones prequel pilot comes from Jane Goldman and Martin himself and was one of several prequel scripts submitted to the network for consideration. The other series, which were written by Max Borenstein, Brian Helgeland, and Carly Wray and Martin, would explore other eras of the fictional realm. Brian Cogman, who wrote many of Thrones' most beloved episodes — most recently, the highlight of Season 8, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" — also revealed that he'd submitted a series concept, which was declined.
Of those that may move forward, Martin has hinted that at least one could be based upon his ASoIF companion book Fire & Blood, which will include a few dragons as well as "all the Targaryen kings from Aegon I (the Conquerer) to the regency of Aegon III (the Dragonbane), along with their wives, wars, siblings, children, friends, rivals, laws, travels, and sundry other matters."