Everything we thought we knew about the Game of Thrones prequel has changed, as it’s been revealed that HBO has canceled the Naomi Watts-fronted Bloodmoon in favor of a new prequel that focuses on the Targaryen clan.
Called House of the Dragon, the new series is based on George R. R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, according to The Guardian.
HBO has given House of the Dragon a 10-episode order – right now, the company hasn’t confirmed that Bloodmoon is definitely canceled, but it doesn’t bode well for the series, which had already wrapped filming on its pilot episode.
House of the Dragon is set 300 years before the original series, and will focus on the Targaryens – in other words, the house that birthed Daenerys, Mother of Dragons.
After Game of Thrones came to a dramatic end in May, many of us have been left with a Jon Snow-shaped hole in our hearts.
While the Bloodmoon prequel was slated for a 2020 release, we don’t know when the new prequel will be released – no casting details or confirmation of an air date have been revealed by HBO.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A Game of Thrones prequel, set 300 years before GoT
- What’s it called? House of Dragons
- When will it be released? Still TBC
What we know about House of the Dragon
Right now, there’s not much information on House of the Dragon. We know that it will take place 300 years before the events of the original series, “depicting the stories of the Targaryen kings who had long ruled Westeros”, according to CNBC.
In a statement, HBO’s president of programming said that “we look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros”.
What happened to Bloodmoon?
The original Game of Throne prequel, which had a working title of Bloodmoon, is set around 5000 years before the events that take place in the original Game of Thrones series.
According to HBO, the new series was set to “chronicle the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour”.
The synopsis continues: “From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s history to the true origin of he White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend, only one things is for sure: it’s not the story we think we know.”
Read on for everything we initially knew about Bloodmoon.
When and where can I watch Bloodmoon?
Currently, we don’t have a firm release date for the Game of Thrones prequel, but we do know that the pilot episode is set to air sometime in 2020.
If you’re in the US, HBO Go will likely be the go-to place to stream Bloodmoon, which will require a HBO subscription.
If you’re outside the US you won’t be able to do this as HBO Go is only supported in the US and “certain US territories”. In the UK, Game of Thrones was available to watch on Sky Atlantic and NowTV – we imagine that the prequel will also appear on these platforms.
In Australia, GoT was available to stream on Foxtel Now; again, the likelihood is that Bloodmoon will be available to stream here, too.
Who is confirmed to be working on Bloodmoon?
The creators of the new series are George R. R. Martin and British screenwriter, Jane Goldman, whose past work includes Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and Stardust.
HBO says: “Both will executive produce, alongside SJ Clarkson (The Defenders, Jessica Jones, HBO’s Succession and the upcoming Star Trek installment), who will also be directing the pilot episode; James Farrell; Jim Danger Gray; Vince Gerardis; Daniel Zelman and co-executive producer Chris Symes.”
We know for sure that the creators of the original series, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, won’t be returning; the duo just signed a nine-figure deal with Netflix to exclusively write, direct, and develop new TV series and films for the streaming platform.
Who will star in Bloodmoon?
We know quite a few of the Game of Thrones prequel cast members already, but the most character information we’ve gleaned so far is that Oscar-nominee Naomi Watts “headlines as a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret”.
Photographs of the actress, allegedly in costume for her role in Bloodmoon while filming in Italy, have surfaced on Twitter, having been shared initially by Instagram user kiaruzz91_.
Some fans are speculating that Watts is playing Nissa Nissa, the wife of the fabled Azor Ahai. According to Newsflash, legend has it that Nissa Nissa was “stabbed through the heart to defeat the White Walkers and bring light back to the world” – so, Watts could have a huge role in the Game of Thrones prequel.
#new 📸| Naomi Watts on the set of #GameOfThrones prequel “Bloodmoon”(shared by kiaruzz91_ on Instagram) pic.twitter.com/jChfMQV5BMJuly 14, 2019
According to HBO, she is joined by Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter from the Harry Potter films), Marquis Rodriguez (Manifest), John Simm (Strangers), Richard MCabe (Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams), John Heffernan (Dracula), and Dixie Egerickx (Summerland).
Other confirmed cast members include Josh Whitehouse (Poldark), Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth), Denise Gough (Monday), Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald), Sheila Atim (Harlots), Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans), Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia films), Alex Sharp (How to Talk to Girls at Parties) and Toby Regbo (The Last Kingdom, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald).
According to Watcher On The Wall, a Vikings actor is set to join the Bloodmoon cast too; Tadhg Murphy’s online portfolio says that he appears in the HBO pilot episode of the GoT prequel.
Bloodmoon: everything we know so far
From the synopsis released by HBO, we can glean a few details about the Game of Thrones prequel. While we don’t have a firm release date aside from 2020, as well as no guarantee that the pilot will be made into a full series, HBO and George R. R. Martin have given us a few teasers to work with so far:
Westeros is very different place
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, George R. R. Martin confirmed that the Westeros in Bloodmoon will be very different from the one we came to know and love in Game of Thrones. He said:
“Westeros is a very different place. There’s no King’s Landing. There’s no Iron Throne. There are no Targaryens – Valyria has hardly begun to rise yet with its dragons and the great empire that it built. We’re dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series.”
More recently, Martin revealed that Westeros is divided into “roughly 100 kingdoms in the prequel”, far more than the Seven Kingdoms we’re used to.
Don’t expect Jon Snow to make an appearance
Being set thousands of years before A Song of Ice and Fire, we’re not expecting to see many (if any) characters from the original series. So, if you were hoping for fan favorites like Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, and Ned Stark to reunite, you’ll likely be disappointed.
That’s not to say that we won’t see any old characters though…
Winter is coming
We know that Bloodmoon will take place during the Age of Heroes, a four thousand-year period in the history of Westeros, which was canonized through myths and songs years later.
While we don’t know exactly when during the Age of Heroes that the new series will take place, we do know of a few key historical events that took place in this time frame.
The most famous of these is the Long Night, in which the White Walkers, led by the Night King, sought to “bring an end to all life and cover the world in an endless winter”, according to Fandom.
Of course, the Night King features heavily in the last few seasons of Game of Thrones – could we see a comprehensive White Walker origin story?
Starks, Direwolves, and mammoths… but no dragons
Just because Ned Stark is about 5000 years from being born, doesn’t mean that we won’t see any Starks at all. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Martin confirmed that “the Starks will definitely be there”, being descended from the First Men.
We’ll also see a return of the beloved Direwolves, as well as a new type of creature to contend with: mammoths.
Die-hard dragon fans will be disappointed though; the prequel reportedly predates dragons entirely.
Will there be a Game of Thrones sequel?
Apparently not, according to HBO programming president Casey Bloys, who told The Hollywood Reporter that there will absolutely not be a sequel.
This will come as a disappointment to fans who are desperate to learn the fate of Arya Stark, who set off to explore west of Westeros in the series finale.
What to watch in the meantime
If you can’t wait for the Game of Thrones prequel, there’s a veritable cornucopia of fantastic TV shows you can watch in the meantime.
Craving the bloodthirsty battle scenes that GoT became notorious for? Try Vikings, a historical drama with enough charm and scope to take on Game of Thrones in the sword and sandals stakes.
Based on the sagas of infamous Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok, all five seasons are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
If you’re looking for a hint of magic and mystery (as well as a generous helping of 80s nostalgia), you can’t go wrong with Stranger Things on Netflix – there are three seasons to stream right now, although we’re banking on a Stranger Things season four release date being announced soon.
Also on Netflix is the Emmy award-winning historical drama The Crown; if you’re missing the scandalous affairs and backstabbing of the Lannisters, tune into The Crown season three, which premieres on November 17.