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06th Dec 2017

George R. R. Martin reveals first casting details of new epic TV show

Rory Cashin

The next Game Of Thrones. Almost literally.

George R. R. Martin, the author of the biggest TV show on Earth right now (sorry, Fair City, these are the facts) will not be directly involved in Night Flyers the same way he is with Game Of Thrones, due to his exclusivity deal with HBO, but that doesn’t mean he can’t talk about the big news on the show if and when he sees fit.

The 30,000-word novella on which the series is based was originally written in 1980, and is set in the same ‘Thousand Worlds’ universe as many of Martin’s other published works.

It follows a group of researchers who charter a mysterious spaceship to transport them to an alien ship passing through the galaxy. Then something goes wrong with the ship’s computer. Without giving away the majority of the book’s plot (which you can spoil for yourself via your local bookshop), that is all we’re willing to say about the story right now.

We’ve known for a while now that Night Flyers was filming in Ireland, with the pilot and the majority of the ten episodes in the first season to be filmed over a 16-week period in the south-west, and it will mark the first time the 350,000 square foot Troy Studios opens its doors to an international production..

Night Flyers is expected to draw a cast and crew of more than 500 people, making it one of the biggest productions ever to take place in the Republic of Ireland.

There had been rumours that the new show might feature some actors from that other George R. R. Martin series, and while that remains to be seen, the author did announce on his blog today the first casting announcement: Jodie Turner-Smith.

Turner-Smith has appeared in the likes of True Blood, The Last Ship, The Neon Demon and also popped up in Zayn Malik’s ‘Pillowtalk’ video, and in Night Flyers she will be playing the character of Melantha Jhirl, a genetically-enhanced human who is described in the book as “a head taller than anyone on board, a large-framed, large-breasted, long-legged, strong, muscles moving fluidly beneath shiny coal-black skin.”

Martin is supremely happy with the casting of Turner-Smith, as he took issue with the fact that both the cover of the book, and the 1987 movie version, cast a white woman in the role.

As Martin says in his blog post on the casting: “Maybe it took thirty years, but at long last I can say: now, that’s my Melantha Jhirl.”