There's not much people know about Game of Thrones Season 8, but there's still good news out there for fans of the fantasy series. It's been announced that HBO's Game of Thrones spinoff will officially start filming in October 2018, in — where else? — Belfast, Ireland. The show is reportedly a prequel to the events of Game of Thrones, with an entirely new cast and the working title The Long Night. According to the Belfast Telegraph, book series author George R. R. Martin confirmed both of these facts, though he has some doubts about the title. Apparently, he believes the working title likely will change. He wrote on his website, "HBO will want to work the phrase Game of Thrones in there somewhere." That makes sense, especially since HBO will want to make sure fans know the two series are connected.
By the time the Game of Thrones spinoff begins filming, the world should be just months away from the premiere of the final season. Well, hopefully. Ideally. There's so much up in the air with the way Game of Thrones is wrapping up, it's hard to say for sure whether Season 8 will be right around the corner or in a still-distant future. At least, Martin seems to have confirmed some long-rumored facts about the Game of Thrones spinoff: It's not about Robert's Rebellion, and it will not feature any returning cast members from the original series. But perhaps the producers doth protest too much.
According to Martin's blog post, The Long Night will take place 10,000 years prior to the Game of Thrones fans know and love. The pilot has officially been picked up by HBO, and — this is pretty exciting — the script is from a woman with some series genre credentials. Jane Goldman, best known as the screenwriter behind Kingsman: The Secret Service, not only wrote the pilot episode for the Game of Thrones spinoff, but she'll serve as the official showrunner as well. That's exciting in and of itself, as few female writers and directors worked on Game of Thrones. (It's actually something that's been brought up in the past.) So, to have a fun, female showrunner aboard already feels like a giant step in the right direction.
The Long Night will reportedly film at The Paint Hall in Titanic Studios in Belfast. HBO has previously used the studios for Game of Thrones, so eagle-eyed fans can count on consistency within the beloved worlds of Westeros. Belfast is definitely the hot spot these days for filming, with Game of Thrones, The Long Night, Superman prequel Krypton, and potentially the next Star Wars standalone film all either filming or planning to film in the area, according to the Telegraph. Can you imagine watching a Star Wars film built around a young Obi-Wan Kenobi — played, once more, by Ewan MacGregor — and recognizing Game of Thrones landmarks? If casting Emilia Clarke in Solo: A Star Wars Story wasn't enough cognitive dissonance for you, repeat landmarks definitely ought to be.
Of course, it wouldn't be Game of Thrones news if it didn't come with a caveat. You know the agonizing wait between Game of Thrones seasons? How eager audiences are for even a hint of a hint? How quickly rumors are kickstarted by something as simple as an actor getting a tattoo in the off-season that could be construed as a reference to the end of the series? That's basically about to happen, again, but with a whole new series. News of HBO giving the go-ahead to shoot a pilot broke in July, and that's at least three months ahead of when filming will even begin. There definitely won't be new Game of Thrones by then, so imagine waiting for new Game of Thrones episodes twice over... simultaneously. It's a lot, but in a good way. Valar Morghulis!