Game of Thrones’ prequel pilot episode cost $42 million before show was axed


The first episode of the Game of Thrones spin-off cost HBO tens of millions to make – before production was axed because it “just didn’t work.”

It was cancelled in a storm of fire and blood — and, apparently, a lot of money.

HBO’s axed Game of Thrones spin-off series, which was set to star Naomi Watts, spent a hefty $42 million making one episode, according to former WarnerMedia chairman Bob Greenblatt.

“They had spent over (USD) $30 million on a Game of Thrones prequel pilot that was in production when I got there,” Greenblatt told James Andrew Miller in the journalist’s new oral history of HBO, Tinderbox.

“And when I saw a cut of [the pilot] a few months after I arrived, I said to [HBO head of content 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.”

The proposed series was from Jane Goldman, who wrote the Kingsman film series, and was set to take place thousands of years before the events of GoT.

Following Stark and Lannister ancestors, the show was going to be focused on the lore of the world such as the true origins of the White Walkers, the mysteries to the East, and the world’s descent from the Golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.

Rumoured to be called The Long Night or Bloodmoon, the show was given the green light in June 2018. The series was scrapped in October 2019 after producing only the costly pilot.

“We unfortunately decided to pull the plug on it,” Greenblatt says in the book. “There was enormous pressure to get it right and I don’t think that would have worked.”

You would think they’d have made sure the show worked before spending $42 million on it.

But there is some good news for diehard fans of the fantasy series.

A Game of Thrones spin-off is on the way next year, a Targaryen-centric prequel series called House of the Dragon starring The Crown star Matt Smith.

It’s based on George R.R. Martin’s prequel novella series Tales of Dunk and Egg, and will air exclusively on Foxtel in Australia next year.

It’s set 200-300 years before the events of GoT, focusing on the rise and fall of House Targaryen during a civil war dubbed the ‘Dance of the Dragons’.

This particular era is when the Targaryen dynasty reigns supreme, with King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) serving as the peaceful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.

But chaos ensues with a long list of potential, power hungry heirs including Viserys’ daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and her half-brother Aegon II (not yet cast). Other players are Prince Daemon Targaryen (Smith), and Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke).

And to spice things up, everyone has their own fully grown dragons.

There’s also a Game of Thrones Broadway play in the works about the Great Tourney at Harrenhal, set 16 years before the events of the original show, expected in 2023.

This story originally appeared on NY Post and was reproduced with permission

Originally published as Game of Thrones’ prequel pilot episode cost $42 million before show was axed

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