HBO reportedly invested a lot of money into a failed “Game of Thrones” prequel.
While the network gave the green light to “House of the Dragon,” it previously scrapped an untitled spinoff starring Naomi Watts.
And it cost them a lot of money, according to a new book titled Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers by James Andrew Miller.
The book notes that the network shelled out more than $30 million on the pilot episode of the prequel series before pulling the plug.
In addition to Watts, S.J. Clarkson was signed on as director with Jane Goldman as showrunner.
Per Entertainment Weekly, the spinoff was set thousands of years before the hit series and focused on the distant ancestors of noble families like the Starks and Lannisters.
The outlet noted that since it predated House Targaryen's arrival in Westeros, it would not include dragons.
"They had spent over $30 million on a Game of Thrones prequel pilot when I got there," former WarnerMedia chairman Bob Greenblatt reveals in the 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."
HBO did not offer a comment to the outlet.
Shortly after, the network announced that it would be moving forward with another prequel titled “House of the Dragon” instead.
The series, based on George R.R. Martin’s book “Fire & Blood,” got a straight to series order.
Greenblatt noted that he suggested the move to avoid another costly failed pilot.
"I'm the one who encouraged Casey to green-light it to series. 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.' They made the first pilot because they were protecting their own downside and protecting that brand, which I understand, but it was critical that we somehow continue that franchise and move quickly, which meant getting the series into production asap. That's always a nail-biter, but I think the new show that is coming will be incredible,” he said.
“The Crown’s” Matt Smith, “Bates Motel” star Olivia Cooke, and Emma D’Arcy from “Truth Seekers” have all been cast in the prequel.
It is set to air in 2022.
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