Game Of Thrones prequel not going forward at HBO

EXCLUSIVEHBO has more Game of Thrones in the pipeline, but the prequel written by Jane Goldman and starring Naomi Watts is no longer happening.

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 places thousands of years before the wars, romances and dragons of the Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington-led GoT that wrapped up its blockbuster eight season run earlier this year. Weaving in issues of race, power, intrigue and White Walkers, the Goldman-run prequel was given the green light back in June of 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 pilot, penned by Goldman and directed by S.J. Clarkson, not going forward comes after a lengthy post-production 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 David Benioff and D.B. Weiss-created show had a rocky road too. The duo and others have admitted that the original GoT pilot was a mess that required to be almost entirely re-shot 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.

Deadline