It seems that the upcoming book Tinderbox, which explores the history of HBO, keeps delivering some nuggets about Game of Thrones, including the scrapped spinoff.
While House of the Dragon is scheduled to take flight and there is another spinoff coming based on the “Dunk & Egg” stories, there was yet another that was supposed to be based on the Golden Age of Heroes, before the white-haired Targaryen colonized Westeros with their dragons. But before it was canceled, it is reported that the studio still spent over $30 million trying to make it work.
According to former WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, as reported by Indie Wire: “They had spent over $30 million on a ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel pilot that was in production when I got there. And when I saw a cut of it in a few months after I arrived, I said to [HBO boss Casey Bloys], ‘This just doesn’t work and I don’t think it delivers on the promise of the original series.’ And he didn’t disagree, which actually was a relief.”
Naomi Watts was cast as the female lead and the recurring cast that we knew of at the time was meant to include Toby Regbo, Ivanno Jeremiah, Georgie Henley, Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Alex Sharp, and Miranda Richardson. Both young Dumbledore and Grindelwald would have been in the show.
Part of what made the project seem really engaging was that they were outspoken about having a female lead, more diversity in the cast, and not repeating the same errors of uncritically presenting sexual violence onscreen. Watts especially seemed excited about the project, and it would have been female-led behind the scenes, as well. Still, whatever kind of mess it was, it will probably (like the original GOT pilot) never see the light of day.
After this, Greenblatt decided to just move forward with House of the Dragon, without a pilot, just trying to make a “great series” and let it live or die on its own merit.
“I’m the one who encouraged Casey to greenlight it to series,” Greenblatt said. “I said, ‘Let’s not risk $30 million on a pilot.’ You can’t spend $30 million on a pilot and then not pick it up. So I said, ‘Let’s not make a pilot. Let’s get a great series that we feel good about, and just make it. Or not.'”
We don’t know how much was spent on House of the Dragon, but since it will be out sometime next year, clearly the people HBO feel it is worth it. But it seems like Game of Thrones will continue its legacy of lackluster pilots.
(via IndieWire, image: HBO)
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