Unlike winter, a “Game of Thrones” prequel starring Naomi Watts is not coming.
Rumor spread Tuesday that HBO had scrapped the buzzy spinoff series, directed by S.J. Clarkson, after shooting the pilot episode earlier this year. On Friday, the network finally confirmed its decision — but not before announcing a separate prequel titled “House of the Dragon,” based on George R.R. Martin’s “Fire & Blood.”
The Watts project was the first “Game of Thrones” offshoot in the works following the original hit fantasy epic, which wrapped its polarizing final season in May and later went on to win the drama series Emmy one last time in September. English screenwriter Jane Goldman, who was attached as showrunner for the spinoff, reportedly alerted the cast and crew of the show’s cancellation via email.
“After careful consideration, we have decided not to move forward to series with the Untitled ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel,” HBO said in a statement to The Times. “We thank Jane Goldman, S.J. Clarkson and the talented cast and crew for all of their hard work and dedication.”
Last year, the platform greenlighted the Watts vehicle, possibly titled “The Long Night,” which was supposed to occur thousands of years before the stories adapted by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, teasing reveals about the history of Westeros, White Walkers and the Starks.
Its replacement, “House of the Dragon,” will be set hundreds of years before the water-cooler events of the Emmy-winning flagship drama and could include some early screenwriting credits for Martin himself, according to the author’s blog.
The network also had tapped Miranda Richardson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Alex Sharp, Josh Whitehouse and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” breakout Naomi Ackie to star opposite Watts in the recently scrapped venture.