With the Holidays upon us some of us are already starting to feel buyers remorse for things we either don’t need or things for others who really don’t need them. But at least we aren’t HBO who reportedly sunk over 30 million dollars into a failed pilot for a proposed Game of Thrones series.
Not to be confused with the upcoming other GoT prequel series, House of the Dragon, this failed prequel series would have starred Naomi Watts in the lead. The nameless prequel series has S.J. Clarkson on and Jane Goldman attached to direct and be showrunner. This prequel would have been set thousands of years before Game of Thrones, and would have involved the distant ancestors of noble families like the Starks and Lannisters — but it would not have included dragons, since it would have predated House Targaryen’s arrival in Westeros. Author George R.R. Martinhad suggested The Long Night as a possible title, but that phrase was instead used as the episode title for the final season’s epic battle at Winterfell.
The House of the Dragon is much more closer in tone to the original GoT series the dragon-filled civil war in House Targaryen. Unlike the Watts show, House of the Dragon has direct source material in the form of Martin’s 2018 book Fire & Blood. But according to former WarnerMedia chairman Bob Greenblatt in Tinderbox, that wasn’t the only reason HBO chose the latter over the former.
“They had spent over $30 million on a Game of Thrones prequel pilot when I got there,” Greenblatt says in Miller’s book. “And when I saw a cut of it in a few months after I arrived, I said to [HBO chief content officer] Casey [Bloys], ‘this just doesn’t work and I don’t think it delivers on the premise of the original series.’ And he didn’t disagree, which actually was a relief. So we unfortunately decided to pull the plug on it. There was enormous pressure to get it right and I don’t think it would have worked.”
So while some series would make a 30 million dollar budget stretch across an entire season, this failed pilot managed to blow it through that in one failed pilot. Ouch!
The House of the Dragon arrives on HBO Max next year.