Showrunner Goldman has been emailing the cast and crew of the project to tell them that the pilot is dead, we hear. The development has not been confirmed by HBO.
The prequel, created by the Kingsman scribe and George R. R. Martin, takes place thousands of years before the wars, romances and dragons of the Emilia Clarke- and Kit Harington-led GoT, which wrapped up its blockbuster eight-season run in May. Weaving in issues of race, power, intrigue and White Walkers, the Goldman-run prequel was given the pilot green light back in June 2018.
It was picked among several GoT prequel scripts that had been commissioned by HBO. While the pilot, carrying heavy corporate expectations, was in editing, HBO in September gave an unofficial pilot green light to a second prequel project from Martin and Ryan Condal, which is set 300 years before the events in Game of Thrones and tracks the beginning of the end for House Targaryen.
Word of the Watts-led pilot, penned by Goldman and directed by S.J. Clarkson, not going forward comes after a lengthy post-production, which included re-editing of the initial cut after it was not well received, and rumors about issues during filming in Northern Ireland.
That is not altogether unheard of for a production of such scope — hardcore fans of the Emmy-winning mothership series will recollect that the $10 million pilot for the show created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss also had a rocky road. The duo and others have admitted that the original GoT pilot was a mess that required it to be re-shot almost entirely at great expense before HBO execs would give the go-ahead to take the project to series.
News of the prequel’s demise comes as HBO owner WarnerMedia hopes to blow some dragon fire of its own today with an investors day presentation of its HBO Max streaming service on the Warner Bros lot in Burbank.
Set to launch next spring, the AT&T-owned media company’s latest foray into the streaming wars has its eyes set on a prize almost as large as the conquest of the Seven Kingdoms. With AppleTV+ premiering on November 1 and Disney+ on November to crowd the space already occupied by Netflix, Amazon and the Disney controlled Hulu, plus NBCUniversal’s Peacock on the horizon for 2020 too, AT&T CEO Randell Stephenson declared yesterday that he sees big numbers for HBO Max in such a tight landscape.
The telecom conglomerate boss said in a forecast issued Monday that HBO Max aims to have 50 million U.S. subscribers in its first five years. A desire for more Game of Thrones likely is partially fueling that ambition.