Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming Targaryen-focused spin-off.
Dragon lovers, rejoice. HBO has officially confirmed that it’s working on a Game of Thrones prequel show revolving around the Targaryens, called House of the Dragon.
The network made the announcement shortly after reports broke that another potential prequel show, which focused on the Age of Heroes and starred Naomi Watts, would no longer move to series.
It was first reported in September 2019 that HBO was close to ordering a pilot of a Targaryen–focused project. Now, we have a clearer idea of what’s in store for the fiery series. Here’s everything we know about House of the Dragon so far.
It will debut in 2022.
At the 2020 TCAs, HBO programming president Casey Bloys estimated that House of the Dragon would arrive in two years. “My guess is sometime in 2022,” he said, according to Deadline. The creative team has already started writing, Bloys added.
It will be based on the George R. R. Martin book Fire & Blood.
Martin’s tome about the history of House Targaryen, originally released in November 2018, will serve as the source material for the upcoming series. The story begins 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones we know, and, according to its synopsis, it covers major battles like the Dance of Dragons (the Targaryen civil war) and the aftermath of the Doom of Valyria.
A part of the synopsis on Martin’s website reads …
“Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.”
Paddy Considine stars as Viserys Targaryen.
Considine of The Outsider, Peaky Blinders, Hot Fuzz, and more will play King Viserys Targaryen I, becoming the first cast member announced for House of the Dragon. Entertainment Weekly obtained a new description for the character, teasing potential plot points for the series.
“King Viserys Targaryen is chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal. A warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy. But good men do not necessarily make for great kings.”
Other roles being cast include Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Queen Alicent Hightower, Aegon II Targaryen, and Prince Daemon Targaryen. Entertainment Weekly reported in June 2020 that casting had already begun, though all the specific roles weren’t disclosed at the time.
There will be 10 episodes written by Ryan Condal.
Screenwriter Ryan Condal penned the former USA Network show Colony, as well as the action films Rampage (2018) and Hercules (2014), both starring Dwayne Johnson. He’ll write the House of the Dragon series, which he created with Martin, and serve as co-showrunner with “Battle of the Bastards” director Miguel Sapochnik. Sara Lee Hess (Orange Is the New Black) is also on the writing team.
Famed GoT director Miguel Sapochnik will direct some episodes.
He helmed some of GoT‘s biggest battle episodes, including “Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards” (which won him an Emmy), “The Long Night,” and “The Bells” (the Season 8 battle at King’s Landing).
While serving as co-showrunner, he’ll direct the pilot, plus a few more episodes. This marks Sapochnik’s first project since signing an overall deal with HBO, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“The Game of Thrones universe is so rich with stories,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys said during an HBO Max unveiling. “We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros along with Miguel, Ryan and George.”
George R. R. Martin will be involved—but not for a while.
In a post on his blog about the news, the Song of Ice and Fire author confirmed that he would, in fact, be involved in the new series—but not until he’s finished writing the long-awaited sixth book in the series that inspired the original Game of Thrones series.
“I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered Winds of Winter,” he wrote.
The show may revisit some of Game of Thrones’ iconic shooting locations.
In his blog post about the new series, Martin also suggested that it might revisit countries that served as filming locations for Game of Thrones, including Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Croatia, Morocco, Malta, and Spain.
The show has received a full series order from HBO.
Days after it was revealed that HBO had ordered a pilot for House of the Dragon, news broke that the network is actually ordering a full, 10-episode series. HBO had already released the first promotional poster for the project, complete with a very Targaryen tagline: “Fire will reign.”
Bloys explained at the TCAs that the decision had to do with the source material. “[When] we looked at House of the Dragon, one of the advantages it had, was it had text from George R.R. Martin and had the Targaryen history,” he said, per The Hollywood Reporter. “There was a bit more of a roadmap. It was an easier decision to say, ‘Alright, let’s go straight to series.’ It wasn’t like there was anything glaringly wrong about the pilot; it’s just sometimes these things click and sometimes they don’t.”
Daenerys Targaryen knows nothing.
Emilia Clarke, who portrayed the Mother of Dragons herself for eight seasons on Game of Thrones, admitted that she doesn’t know anything about the Targaryen-centered spinoff. “I genuinely don’t know anything about it,” the actress told Jimmy Fallon in October 2019.
She and her co-stars, however, did discuss the show in their cast WhatsApp group chat, but it wasn’t a very exciting conversation. “Someone popped it on today and was like, ‘Look at that.’ We were like, ‘Ooh.’ And that’s pretty much it,” Clarke explained.
When Fallon brought up the possibility of a Daenerys cameo in the forthcoming series (perhaps as a peek into the future of the Targaryen lineage), Clarke didn’t seem so down. “What else am I going to do?” she asked. Skip to 3:43 in the video below to watch their convo.