According to a new book from former WarnerMedia chairman Bob Greenblatt, an original Game of Thrones prequel was canceled by the studio after having spent $30 million on the project.
Greenblatt’s book, Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, tells the story of the company as a whole (via IGN), but Greenblatt does mention that when he arrived at the company, a Game of Thrones prequel was already in production and that HBO had already spent $30 million on the project. Unfortunately, those at the top didn’t think the show had much promise, and it was swiftly canceled.
“They had spent over $30 million on a Game of Thrones prequel pilot that was in production when I got there,” Greenblatt says in the book. “And when I saw a cut of it in a few months after I arrived, I said to Casey, ‘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. We unfortunately decided to pull the plug on it, there was enormous pressure to get it right and I don’t think that would have worked.”
Not much was known about the prequel other than the fact that Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service) was attached to write the pilot, and that Naomi Watts had been cast in a leading role. The series was said to have taken place thousands of years prior to the original television series of Game of Thrones. A pilot for the episode had been shot in 2019 but was ultimately shelved by HBO.
Instead of moving forward with the original prequel series, a new series, Game of Thrones: House of Dragons, was greenlit and will premiere on HBO sometime in 2022.