The world of Westeros is one step closer to returning to television, as production wrapped on the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel pilot starring Naomi Watts. HBO programming chief Casey Bloys confirmed filming recently finished filming the pilot in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Bloys did not reveal much about the untitled series though.
Bloys discussed the pilot during HBO's panel at the Television Critics Association Press Tour on Wednesday. He said he has not seen any footage, but is "looking forward" to seeing it, reports Diane Gordon. He also told reporters that the backlash to the Game of Thrones final season has not changed HBO's approach to the prequel.
The HBO executive humorously replied to the viral petition that called for a remake of Game of Thrones Season 8 with new writers replacing David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
"Look, I take all of the activity around the finale as — there are very, very few downsides to having a hugely popular show, but one I can think of is when you try to end it, many people have big opinions on how it should end," Bloys said, reports The Wrap. "I think that just comes with the territory."
He continued, "The petition, I think, shows a lot of enthusiasm and passion for the show, but it wasn't something we seriously considered. I can't imagine another network would, but who knows."
HBO ordered the new pilot last year. It was written by A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin with Kingsman screenwriter Jane Goldman. The still-untitled show is set thousands of years before Game of Thrones, during the "Age of Heroes" era.
Aside from Watts, the pilot's stacked cast includes Miranda Richardson, Josh Whitehouse, Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Arim, Georgie Henley, Ivanno Jeremiah, Alex Sharp, Toby Regbo, Maruies Rodriguez, Richard McCabe, John Simm, Johnheffernan and Dixie Egerickx.
The Game of Thrones finale may have divided fans, but the show was still a hit with Television Academy voters. The six-episode final season earned a record 32 nominations, breaking a record NYPD Blue set in 1994 with 27 nominations. Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Nickolaj Coster-Waldau, Gwendoline Christie, Sophie Turner, Lena Headey, Maisie Williams, Carice van Houten, Kit Harington and Alfie Allen were all nominated for their performances. Weiss and Benioff were nominated for writing and directing the final episode, "The Iron Throne."
The show was also nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, where it will face off against Ozark, Better Call Saul, Bodyguard, Killing Eve, Pose, This Is Us and Succession.
The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards start at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 22 on Fox.
Photo credit: HBO