Games of Thrones premiered over 10 years ago, and the first spin-off of the biggest show of the 21st century is on the way. HBO announced the Targaryen-centric House of the Dragon -- set centuries before the events of the original series -- last year, and fans have been waiting for more info and a first look at the series ever since. Although HBO's other proposed prequel series starring Naomi Watts has been scrapped, fans will still get to dive back into Martin's vivid world of dragons, mad kings, and epic betrayals with House of the Dragon.
While details on the project remain scarce, here's what we know so far about the upcoming show, including the first set of official images.
Milly Alcock and Emily Carey have joined the cast in recurring roles of House of the Dragon Season 1. Alcock is playing young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, per Variety, the king's eldest child. She is of pure Valyrian blood and also a dragonrider. Carey will be playing the younger version of Olivia Cooke's Alicent Hightower, the politically savvy daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King.
House of the Dragon won't premiere for a long time. HBO's head of programming, Casey Bloys, told Deadline after HBO's fantastic night at the 2020 Emmy Awards that production on the series was "underway" and that it was on track to debut in 2022, despite delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
It's all about the Targaryens. Set 300 years before the events in Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is based on Martin's novel Fire & Blood, which chronicles the first 150 years of the white-haired family. A planned second book covering the remaining history leading up to Robert Baratheon's rebellion will offer up plenty of material for potential future seasons or spin-offs.
The cast is stacked. TV Guide has confirmed that Paddy Considine will play the noble King Viserys Targaryen in the new series. He is described as "a warm, kind, and decent man" who succeeds the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, as the series begins. Unfortunately for him, good men seldom make great kings.
Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, and Emma D'Arcy have also joined the lead cast of House of the Dragon, per Deadline. Smith will play Prince Daemon Targaryen, younger brother of King Viserys and heir to the throne. A masterful warrior and a dragonrider, Daemon "possesses the true blood of the dragon. But it is said that whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air." Cooke has been cast as Alicent Hightower, the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King. Raised in the Red Keep, Alicent is described as beautiful and regal, with a sharp political mind. And D'Arcy will play Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the king's first-born child and a dragonrider.
The main cast will also include Rhys Ifans, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, and Sonoya Mizuno. Deadline reports that Ifans will play Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, who serves both his ruler and his realm, while Toussaint will play Lord Corlys Velaryon, who comes from a bloodline as old as the Targaryen and a house richer than the Lannisters. Best has been cast as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, a dragonrider and Lord Velaryon's wife. Mizuno will play Mysaria, a close ally to Smith's Daemon.
The Serpent star Fabien Frankel has been added to the cast as Ser Criston Cole, a commoner from Dorne, according to Variety. He is a steward of Lord Blackhaven -- a character whose casting has not yet been announced -- and has no lands or title of his own, but he's very deadly with a sword.
Outlander's Graham McTavish confirmed that he has been cast in an undisclosed role, though HBO hasn't commented on his involvement. "I'm really having a lot of fun," he said of his mysterious character. "We've just started. It's a very big project, so we're getting to know each other. They're lovely people. It's great, but I can't tell you too much. I can't tell you really anything about the story! But it involves a lot dragons."
Production began in April. The official House of the Dragon Twitter account shared the news that production had kicked off on April 26. The announcement was accompanied by a photo of the cast doing a socially distanced table read.
The project has enlisted some Game of Thrones greats behind the scenes. The series was co-created by George R. R. Martin and Colony's Ryan Condal, the latter whom will pen the script and serve as co-showrunner alongside Miguel Sapochnik. Sapochnik, who directed major Game of Thrones episodes like "Battle of the Bastards" and "The Long Night," will helm several House of the Dragon episodes, including the pilot.
Clare Kilner (The Alienist: Angel of Darkness), Geeta V. Patel (The Witcher), and Greg Yaitanes (Banshee) will round out the team of directors, Deadline reports.
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will not be involved. The Game of Thrones showrunners will not be involved in House of the Dragon. It's probably for the best.
Martin won't be writing episodes any time soon. The author announced that he won't script any episodes for the show until he has finished Winds of Winter, the next installment of his A Song of Ice and Fire series.
"I expect to be involved in all of this to some extent... and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of Game of Thrones," Martin wrote in a blog post. "But... let me make this perfectly clear... I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered Winds of Winter. Winter is still coming, and Winds remains my priority, as much as I'd love to write an episode of House."
First look images arrived early. HBO released the first official images from the series, which give us a glimpse at Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower.
The series will be available to stream. In addition to airing on HBO, House of the Dragon will also be available to stream on HBO Max.
The first season will be 10 episodes. Much like most seasons of Game of Thrones, Season 1 of House of the Dragon will consist of 10 episodes.