When it was announced that HBO was filming a Game Of Thrones prequel pilot, overseen by Jane Goldman and starring Naomi Watts, everyone naturally assumed it would get picked up for series. But in a stunning movie, HBO hasn’t picked up the pilot, and the prequel series is dead.
The pilot shot this summer and took place 5,000 years before the events of Game Of Thrones. It reportedly focused on the Age Of Heroes, which saw humans battling the White Walkers for the first time. It’s unclear exactly why HBO passed on the show, but the network reportedly wasn’t thrilled with the final cut of the pilot. It asked for changes and edits, before deciding to cancel it altogether.
However, in the wake of this news another Game Of Thrones prequel series is getting the greenlight. House Of The Dragons, which will be based on George R.R. Martin‘s companion book Fire & Blood, has been ordered straight to series and will premiere on HBO Max.
Emmy winning Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik will co-showrun the series with Colony creator Ryan Condal. The show will draw inspiration from Martin’s Westerosi history, which charted the rise of House Targaryen, centuries before the events of Game Of Thrones. The Fire & Blood book offers a deep dive into generations of Targaryen history, from the Doom of Valyria to the Dance of Dragons.
It’s likely the cancellation of the Watts series and the announcement of this new one is related. However, HBO had as many as five spinoff ideas in the works, with Martin consulting on all of them. These shows could have co-existed, especially with one on the main HBO channel and the other on HBO Max.
But it seems HBO still values the pilot process and intends to keep the quality of their content high. It would have been easy to greenlight a Thrones prequel and watch the audience converge by the masses, but if the pilot and subsequent series was truly that bad, it would have been a stain on the network.
At the same time, the HBO Max series has already gotten a series order. So HBO naturally has no idea if House Of The Dragons will actually be any good. Perhaps a combination of the Watts prequel being bad and the desire to get HBO Max some content for the streaming wars led to this decision. We’ll probably find out more somewhere down the line.
But, in any case, a Game Of Thrones prequel is a go. It’s just not the one we all expected.