House of the Dragon is not the first Game of Thrones prequel that HBO was making, it was The Long Night, the pilot of the prequel series cost HBO $30 million before it was scrapped as reported by Insider.
In 2022, we will see the first Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon, after the main series concluded its story in 2019, but House of the Dragon was not the first prequel series HBO had planned. Even before GOT aired its final episode HBO has been planning many spin-off and prequel shows, and back in 2018 the first prequel series planned to air after GOT was The Long Night and HBO even shelled out $30 million to make the pilot episode, but it was canceled in 2019.
The Long Night was overseen by Jane Goldman and GOT author George R.R. Martin, and it was supposed to follow the events of the first Long Night when the White Walkers attacked Westeros, which was about 10,000 years before the events of the original series. Naomi Watts was supposed to play the lead character in the series and the other stars included in the cast were Josh Whitehouse, Jamie Campbell Bower, Georgie Henley, and Naomie Ackie.
Some of the details about the cancellation of The Long Night have been revealed because of James Andrew Miller‘s new book Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers. Former WarnerMedia chairman Bob Greenblatt had just joined the company when the pilot of The Long Night was in the works, and after seeing the cut of the episode, Greenblatt shared his opinions with HBO’s chief content officer Casey Bloys. Greenblatt said this in the book:
“They had spent over $30 million on a ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel pilot that was in production when I got there. 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.”
The Long Night’s pilot episode didn’t meet the HBO execs expectations, and there would have been an impossible amount of pressure to get it right because the future of the franchise would have depended on it, but now we can see House of the Dragons next year and decide for ourselves if it is good enough to decide the future of the upcoming Game of Thrones projects.
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