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Game of Thrones: Executive explains reason first prequel was cancelled after $35m pilot

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The former chairman of WarnerMedia has revealed why the first Game of Thrones spinoff was cancelled.

Referred to as Bloodmoon, the project got as far as the pilot stage, with between $30m (£25m) and $35m (£29m) being spent on the debut episode.

However, the programme never saw the light of day; even Thrones mastermind George RR Martin was not allowed to view it. A number of other Thrones spinoffs are currently in various stages of development, with the first – House of the Dragon – set to air in August.

Bloodmoon was announced back in 2018, ahead of the release of Thrones’s eighth and final season. The series would have taken place during the Age of Heroes, and the “wintry apocalypse known as The Long Night”. Jane Goldman had been lined up as showrunner, with Naomi Watts in a starring role.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke to a number of people involved in the Thrones spinoffs, including HBO chief content officer Casey Bloys.

“[Bloodmoon] required a lot more invention; it was higher risk, higher reward,” Bloys said. “There wasn’t anything glaringly wrong with it. Development and pilots are hard.”

Robert Greenblatt, the former chair of HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia, told the outlet: “It wasn’t unwatchable or horrible or anything. It was very well produced and looked extraordinary.

“But it didn’t take me to the same place as the original series. It didn’t have that depth and richness that the original series’ pilot did.”

Blonde ambition: Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen (HBO)
Blonde ambition: Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen (HBO)

The article notes that Martin had enjoyed greater influence following the pivot away from Bloodmoon and towards projects that hewed closer to his source material.

The creators of House of the Dragon, however, recently revealed one key change they made from Martin’s books.

It has also been reported that a spinoff focusing on Kit Harington’s character, Jon Snow, is currently in the offing, with Harington set to return.

House of the Dragon debuts on 21 August 2022. In the UK, the series will air on Sky Atlantic.

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