With the casting of star Naomi Watts, the Game of Thrones prequel is becoming more real.
Great stories have great back stories. But do those backstories need to be explored? Deadline recently reported that Naomi Watts has agreed to star in the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel penned by writer Jane Goldman. The new series will take place LONG before the familiar era of the Starks and Lannisters, which could allow it to have its own creative elbow room.
Spinoffs are as ubiquitous in television as sequels and remakes are in movies. Happy Days spun off six shows. All in the Family spun off five. We all knew some time ago that when it came to the beloved GOT, "spinoffs were coming", to paraphrase Ned Stark.
But what we still don't know is if this Naomi Watts' starrer will be a Laverne and Shirley or more of a Joanie Loves Chachi.
Like other similar phenomenons, Game Of Thrones took the mainstream audience by surprise. While George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series was beloved in the fan community, it wasn't a known quantity. Like Star Wars decades before, Martin's epic by way of showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Wiess plunked viewers down into a world they knew next to nothing about.
And they couldn't wait to find out more.
The power of this dynamic was such that Game Of Thrones quickly turned into the ultimate water-cooler show. With shocking turns and predictions abound. I even knew some people who did a Game Of Thrones "who will die this season pool" for a while.
In one sense the worm has already turned. We can't go back to the newness, and the lack of hype or anticipation. The casting of Watts signals the need for major names. The original show gave audiences character actors and unknowns, leaving us guessing as to the way things might go, and the hierarchies within the world.
A multi-oscar nominated legit star like Watts brings a different quality to the table. One the original Game Of Thrones series never had.
And we all know that sometimes hype and a loving fanbase can go south real quick. Once again, you only need to look to Star Wars and it's prequels to see how that kind of story ends...
So is Naomi Watts set up to suffer the fate of Jar-Jar? That actually might be worse than suffering any number of horrific fates one expects when it comes to the Game Of Thrones universe. Like... getting married.
One fascinating thing to watch for early on will be how Goldman's voice steers the budding franchise. There has been plenty of criticism for the handling of female characters in past seasons, and at the same time Game Of Thrones is a series that seems built almost entirely on the strength of its female characters. Goldman and Watts teaming up seems like a potentially exciting next step.
One thing we know for sure is that audiences and executives alike will have there eyes and ears scanning for the next Game of Thrones. Could that be another show from the same Game Of Thrones universe? Sure.
It could also be something similar, but different. Which could just as easily come from you.
We'll keep tracking how this massively anticipated prequel shakes out, and what it means for the rest of the industry as more information becomes available.