British Black stars Naomi Ackie, Ivanno Jeremiah, and Sheila Atim …

… will join the cast of the as yet untitled Game of Thrones spin off! Said to land in 2020 the series is apparently a prequel set a staggering 5000 years before Game of Thrones. So far, British director S.J. Clarkson who is in line to direct the new Star Trek film will direct. Jane Goldman (Dexter, Orange is the New Black) is on board as showrunner (the person who oversees the creativity and management of a show) with filming to begin later this year..

But it’s the British Black talent announced to be joining the cast which has us most intrigued. Rising star actress Naomi Ackie who won a Most Promising Newcomer BIFA award in 2017 for her role in Lady McBeth and who will be joining John Boyega in Star Wars: Episode IX out in December, Ivanno Jeremiah best known for his leading role as synthetic human Max in British sci-fi futuristic series Humans and renowned stage actress Sheila Atim who has stolen the scene in epic stage productions such as Girl From the North Country which earned her best supporting actress nominations at the 2018 Olivier and Evening Standard Stage awards.

It’s extremely significant we have a black cast, because as John Boyega once said in an interview, “There are no black people in Game Of Thrones … You don’t see one black person in Lord Of The Rings”. He’s not wrong many fantasy projects tend to overlook the presence of black empires, or any type of black mythological characters. Considering the word ‘fantasy‘ it shouldn’t be too difficult to imagine an African warrior or two!

In Game of Thrones, the only Black characters who wielded any type of authority for a short insignificant amount of time were Nonso Anozie’s Rich Merchant Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Lucian Msamati’s Pirate Lord Sallador Saan. The longstanding black characters have been Nathalie Emmanuel’s Missandei and Jacob Anderson’s Grey Worm who are both slaves if we’re to be super critical. Background characters have included Deobia Oparei as Areo Hotah a Martell guard, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje played a Black Slaver and Charles Jarman played a pit fighter. Steven Cole, Chuku Modu and Fola Akingbola Evans all played Dothraki (note the Dothraki are known as savages #JustSayin).

The argument is that Game of Thrones is about ‘Norse, Finnish and Anglo-Saxon legends‘ so of course that can’t include anyone non-white. However, IT IS A FANTASY SERIES. The characters often travel. HOW COME THEY CAN FIND BLACK ACTORS FOR THE BACKGROUND BUT NO BLACK ACTORS TO PLAY COMMANDING ROLES IN LONGSTANDING, WE RUN TINGS, NEGOTIATE WITH US BECAUSE WE KNOW HOW TO WIN WARS TYPE STORYLINES? WE KNOW THERE WERE BLACK EMPIRES. WHY NOT INCLUDE THEM? PLUS IT’S FAN.TA.SY Le sigh.

Anyhoo, would love for Black Hollywood, or British Black creatives to come up with something similar (yes we know, finance, commissioning, gatekeepers) but 2019 is our year, am I right? In the mean time, fingers crossed this prequel series will do us some justice!

The highly anticipated final series of Game of Thrones comes to our screens this April!


Read TBB’s interview with