Ironically enough, the next big Game of Thrones star was a little late to join the fandom.
In an interview with NET-A-PORTER’s weekly digital magazine, PorterEdit, Naomi Watts revealed that before she was asked to star in the Thrones prequel, she had never even watched the wildly successful HBO fantasy series.
“I didn’t start watching until I was approached about this job,” she admitted. “But my brother [the photographer, Ben Watts], who is heavily into it, told me, ‘Under no circumstances are you going to turn this down.'”
She then tore through the first seven seasons in three months and said she “was in — hook, line and sinker.” Now, she has an even better understanding of just how much the upcoming role could ramp up her public profile.
“I still have fears about that,” she said. “I don’t really know what to prepare for.”
Production on the prequel’s pilot recently wrapped in Northern Ireland. In will also star Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth) and Denise Gough (Broadway’s Angels in America).
George R.R. Martin, who wrote the Song of Ice and Fire books the show was adapted from, is co-creating the series with Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kick-Ass), who will also serve as showrunner. (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners of the original series, will not be involved.)
Still officially untitled, the prequel takes place roughly 5,000 years before the events of the HBO series. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly earlier this month, Martin confirmed that the fan-favorite Stark family, who were descendants of the First Men, will be featured.
As for the Lannisters? According to Martin, they won’t be seen — at least at first — because the prequel predates their rise.
“The Lannisters aren’t there yet, but Casterly Rock is certainly there,” he said of the future Lannister homestead. “It’s like the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s actually occupied by the Casterlys — for whom it’s still named after in the time of Game of Thrones.” (Per EW, the Casterlys were supposedly swindled from their homestead by Lann the Clever — who founded House Lannister — though it’s unclear if this tale will be told in the prequel.)
The prequel also predates dragons, unfortunately — but don’t despair, because Martin said we can expect other creatures.
“Obviously the White Walkers are here — or as they’re called in my books, The Others — and that will be an aspect of it,” he said. “And there are things like direwolves and mammoths.”
A premiere date has not yet been announced, but according to EW, HBO programming president Casey Bloys previously said it will not air until at least a year after the conclusion to GoT. So, the project theoretically could be on the air in 2020 or 2021.