The Long Night: Game of Thrones prequel release date, trailer, cast and everythi
Game of Thrones' strength lies in the vastness of its universe. Like J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, George R.R. Martin has constructed a rich ecosystem with ties in the past, present and future, which means that there are a wealth of new stories just waiting to be tapped into – and the wheels are officially in motion.
Following the end of the fantasy drama series in 2019, fans will have something shiny and (almost) new to fixate on.
The Long Night is a White Walker origin story set thousands of years before Game of Thrones during the Age of Heroes, when a great shadow was cast across the world and winter reigned supreme.
(That title, btw, is unofficially official – George RR Martin originally declared that GoT's first spin-off would be named The Long Night, but later clarified that "the pilot is still officially UNTITLED.")
The teaser synopsis reads: "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."
George RR Martin has suggested that Westeros is "a very different place" in the spin-off. "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," he said.
"We're dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series.
"[Jane Goldman] is a tremendous talent. She flew into Santa Fe and we spent a week talking about her ideas. She's going into territory that I haven't explored very much in the books. I've hinted about them. But she's a major writer, I love her work."
Martin previously revealed that there are five spin-off scripts in development, but HBO's President of Programming, Casey Bloys, has said that the network only expects to produce one: "The idea is not to do four shows [or five, as we now know]. My hope is to get one show that lives up to it."
But we all know just how quickly things can shift, and if the prequel is a success, there's plenty more where that came from.
The Long Night release date: When will it be out?
The team behind Game of Thrones hasn't had any qualms about taking their sweet time with all eight seasons of the show. The final chapter, as you would expect, is taking the longest, with the final six episodes of the series all being extended beyond what we've seen previously – though not to two hours, as Bloys initially hinted at.
And there was a big hoo-ha when it was announced that the eighth and final season was likely to premiere in June rather than May, which is still a solid eight months away.
The Long Night also doesn't have an official premiere date as it stands, but it's expected to start shooting in 2019, so 2020, we're looking at you, kid.
The Long Night trailer: When can we see it?
With no clues as to when we can expect the prequel, don't expect to see a trailer or official photos any time soon – the fact that we're still waiting on a trailer for season eight says it all.
But HBO did unveil a trailer to tease all of its upcoming shows back in August, and squirrelled away among a number of Thrones season seven shots was a brand new clip featuring Jon Snow and Sansa Stark.