HBO Passes On The Naomi Watts-Starring 'Game Of Thrones' Prequel Series

HBO has passed on the first ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel.  The pilot for a new series was set thousands of years before the hit series which just wrapped up its award-winning eight-season run this year.  Jane Goldman developed this prequel, working closely with George R.R. Martin.  Goldman would have served as showrunner, had the series progressed.  Naomi Watts was cast in the lead.  The cast also included Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Miranda Richardson, Josh Whitehouse, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Alex Sharp, and Toby Regbo.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, Goldman emailed the cast to inform them of HBO’s decision.  Apparently, this all happened weeks ago, but the news is just now being reported.

Martin has previously divulged that there were five “successor series” based on ‘Game of Thrones’ in development, but that this one, which he referred to unofficially as ‘The Long Night’, was the furthest along.  The pilot, directed by S.J. Clarkson, was filmed this past summer in Northern Ireland.


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This was the show’s logline:

Only one thing is for sure: From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend — it’s not the story we think we know.”

While most details of this spin-off were kept under wraps, it was believed that this story was set during “The Age of Heroes,” and that it would have shown the first battles between humans and the White Walkers, prior to the Long Night War.  Martin had suggested that the White Walkers would be referred to as “The Others,” the term he uses in the books.  While the Starks and Lannisters would have factored in, the Targaryens would not yet have risen.  Therefore, there would not have been any dragons.

Martin previously described the spin-off by saying:

“Westeros is a very different place. There’s no King’s Landing. There’s no Iron Throne. There are no Targaryens — Valyria has hardly begun to rise yet with its dragons and the great empire that it built. We’re dealing with a different and older world, and hopefully, that will be part of the fun of the series.”

The Targaryens are the focus of a separate pilot that looks to still be in development.  HBO has stated that none of the planned prequels will be directly connected to ‘Game of Thrones’ and none of the original cast members is expected to appear.


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In May, HBO’s Casey Bloys stated:

“We’re shooting the pilot in June, you can do the math and figure out when it would be on the air. What I’m not doing is working backwards by saying, ‘This has to be on the air by this date.’ We want to do the best show possible. This is a pilot, so we’re doing it the old-fashioned way, which is shooting a pilot. My expectation is it will be great and we’ll move forward and it’ll move along on a regular TV timetable. I don’t want to speculate any dates.”

No reason was given for this cancellation, so presumably, it just wasn’t up to snuff.  The pilot for ‘Game of Thrones’ was a complete mess, but HBO decided to move forward after recasting and reshoots.  Perhaps with so many potential projects in the works, HBO opted to simply skip this one, which presumably, they were unhappy with.

Are you shocked that HBO passed on a new ‘Game of Thrones’ series?