Talk of Game of Thrones prequel filming in Cornwall as crews are spotted

Speculation is rife that the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel is being filmed in Cornwall right now, after crews were spotted in different locations. House of the Dragons, a prequel to the hit series Game of Thrones which ended in 2019, began production this year and will feature Doctor Who star Matt Smith. The new series will reportedly tell a story set 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

It will depict the war of succession between Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors Rhaenyra and Aegon II, two dragon-wielding heirs to the Iron Throne. The Game of Thrones franchise is owned and produced by American studio HBO. You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with CornwallLive’s FREE newsletters – find out more about our range of daily and weekly bulletins and sign up here or enter your email address at the top of the page.

However, it was reported in October 2020 that House of the Dragons would be filmed in the UK, at Leavesden Studios, which is owned by Warner Bros. In Cornwall, locals today spotted lorries bearing the Warner Bros logo at Penhale Camp, near Holywell, Newquay. The spotter said: “Through the eye of a lens!

Exciting to see what film this will be. A Warner Bros logo can be seen!” At Penhale, lorries with “Warner Bros set lighting and rigging” were seen, as well as several other vehicles including tractors and small off-roaders.

A Warner Bros lorry at Penhale Camp, Holywell, near NewquayA Warner Bros lorry at Penhale Camp, Holywell, near Newquay

There were also wheeled lighting rigs which appear to have been driven down to the site on the sand near the dunes.

People on site were not able to say what was being filmed, or provide any further details. Meanwhile, at St Michael’s Mount, crews of people could be seen building sets, and up some scaffolding rigging film equipment. One image shows crews creating a stone archway, which looks like it could fit in with sets from the original Game of Thrones series.

What appears to be set builders are putting together something which looks quite Game of Thrones-eyWhat appears to be set builders are putting together something which looks quite Game of Thrones-ey

On the island, there were also large tents which appear to have also been set up by the crews present.

Pictures spurred on speculation that it could be anything from a new Fantastic Beasts feature to a Sesame Street film. However, rumours and other small pieces of information point to it being potentially the pre-production of House of the Dragons. One such piece of information was a recent casting call, as CornwallLive reported, which asked for: “Men and women of all ethnicities, ages and looks to film Cornwall on a medieval drama.

“Ideally, we are looking for men with longer hair and beards and women with long natural hair, so no obvious dye or highlights. “You must have your own transport. You must live in Cornwall.”

The stunning St Michael's Mount could well be hosting the cast of the Game of Thrones sequelThe stunning St Michael’s Mount could well be hosting the cast of the Game of Thrones sequel

Game of Thrones isn’t strictly a “medieval drama”, but it does feature plenty of beardy, long haired men and is loosely based on the medieval War of the Roses.

As well as this, the casting call was similar to one put out in 2011 – reported on by the BBC – for series two. The timing also fits for the currently-known production schedule for the Game of Thrones prequel. An official Twitter account for the franchise simply posted on April 14 the slogan: “Winter is Coming”, prompting further speculation that there was either upcoming news, or production, for the new series.

The account also Tweeted, on December 3, 2020: “Dragons are coming. #HouseoftheDragon begins production in 2021.” Well, it is now 2021, and with Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen in the original series, recently wishing the film crews for the new ones “Godspeed” – the timing checks out. Warner Bros has been approached for a comment on what is currently being filmed at the location.

The National Trust, which owns the land, was unable to confirm what was being filmed.

A lighting rig set up near the Warner Bros lorries at PenhaleA lighting rig set up near the Warner Bros lorries at Penhale

A spokesperson said: “We are unable to share any further details at this time to protect the integrity of the project. “Security and traffic management services will be provided by the production company to keep disruption to a minimum. The production company has experience of working in similar locations and on similar projects.”

The series was previously filmed largely in Northern Ireland, but also included shoots in Croatia, Spain, Morocco, Malta and Iceland. With Cornwall’s sweeping landscapes, stunning scenes and ancient sites, it would be a perfect place for the story of the Targaryens to be filmed. Emma D’Arcy will star as Rhaenyra Targaryen opposite a yet to be cast Aegon II.

Doctor Who star Matt Smith was previously announced as Daemon Targaryen, along with Eve Best as Rhaenys Velaryon, Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria and Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon. Casting began last year, with filming having commenced some time in early 2021. It is due to be released in spring 2022.

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