Unlike winter, a ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel starring Naomi Watts is not coming.
Rumour spread on Tuesday that HBO had scrapped the buzzy spin-off series, directed by SJ Clarkson, after shooting the pilot episode earlier this year. On Friday, the network finally confirmed its decision — but not before announcing a separate prequel titled ‘House of the Dragon,’ based on George RR Martin’s ‘Fire and Blood.’
The Watts project was the first ‘Game of Thrones’ offshoot in the works following the original hit fantasy epic, which wrapped its polarising final season in May and later went on to win the drama series Emmy one last time in September. English screenwriter Jane Goldman, who was attached as showrunner for the spin-off, reportedly alerted the cast and crew of the show’s cancellation via email.
“After careful consideration, we have decided not to move forward to series with the Untitled ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel,” HBO said in a statement. “We thank Jane Goldman, SJ Clarkson and the talented cast and crew for all of their hard work and dedication.”
Last year, the platform greenlighted the Watts vehicle, possibly titled ‘The Long Night,’ which was supposed to occur thousands of years before the stories adapted by David Benioff and DB Weiss, teasing reveals about the history of Westeros, White Walkers and the Starks.
Its replacement, ‘House of the Dragon,’ will be set hundreds of years before the water-cooler events of the Emmy-winning flagship drama and could include some early screenwriting credits for Martin himself, according to the author’s blog.
The network also had tapped Miranda Richardson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Alex Sharp, Josh Whitehouse and ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ breakout Naomi Ackie to star opposite Watts in the recently scrapped venture.
‘House of the Dragon’ is set for HBO’s new HBO Max streaming service.
“It’s my pleasure to announce today that we are ordering ‘House of the Dragon’ straight to series for HBO,” Casey Bloys, president of programming, told a Los Angeles launch event for HBO Max.
“It tells the story of House Targaryen and the early days of Westeros.”
The new series will be executive produced by Martin, Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, who directed ‘Game of Thrones’ episodes including Emmy-winning ‘Battle of the Bastards.’
HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s new Netflix rival, will launch in the US in May, and will cost $14.99 (Dh55) per month, it was also revealed.
The platform will feature original shows including a Ridley Scott sci-fi and exclusive rights to ‘South Park.’
It will offer around 10,000 hours of content at launch, including all 23 seasons of satirical cartoon ‘South Park’ and three new seasons to follow.
The presentation ended with the surprise announcement of “the next great chapter in George’s saga.”
No details of the ‘Thrones’ prequel’s launch date were announced.