Tower of the Hand

Naomi Watts joins Game of Thrones prequel

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Oct 30, 2018, 8:00 PM ET
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Naomi Watts in last year's Gypsy.Naomi Watts in last year's Gypsy

Two-time Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts has been tapped to lead the upcoming Game of Thrones spinoff, set during the legendary Age of Heroes. Little is known about her role (and the new show in general), but Deadline reports that Watts will play "a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret." Watts has a lengthy film résumé that includes Mulholland Dr., King Kong, and Birdman, and she recently appeared on the small screen in the Twin Peaks revival and Netflix's Gypsy.

It's not an accident that Naomi Watts is the first casting decision we've heard about the prequel. Aside from being a high-caliber, in-demand name that the network probably couldn't wait to announce, HBO is setting expectations that the prequel, with showrunner Jane Goldman, will prominently feature female characters, perhaps more so than its predecessor. (Though Deadline previously reported that HBO's president of programming Casey Bloys cautioned, "There are very strong female characters but it's an ensemble; there are men and women.")

More than nine years ago, Peter Dinklage became the first actor to be officially attached to HBO's Game of Thrones. Seven seasons and three Emmys later, Dinklage continues to set the tone for the show and his Tyrion Lannister is perhaps the show's most recognizable character. Will Naomi Watts follow in his footsteps and become the prequel's enduring prestige actor, is she destined to be more like Sean Bean, a high profile actor hired to draw in viewers only to depart as the story just begins?

In any case, Naomi Watts is just the first of what we anticipate will be many additions to the cast. The Game of Thrones prequel is "actively casting for numerous roles and also seeking a director" and is set to begin filming a pilot episode in early 2019. Do you think this is a good first step for the show? Will Naomi Watts be the biggest name to join the show, or will another actor of equal or even higher esteem be part of the show?

Updated to add George R. R. Martin's reaction to the announcement: "I could not be more excited. Welcome to Westeros, Naomi." GRRM also seems committed to the show being titled "The Long Night," even though the news reports don't consider that official yet.

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Warning: Discussions are not subject to scope. That is, commenters can and often do discuss events from the most recent A Song of Ice and Fire book and/or Game of Thrones episode.

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