After shutting down plans for one “Game of Thrones” spinoff earlier today, HBO has pivoted to a new prequel series — this one based on George R.R. Martin’s “Fire and Blood” novel. “House of the Dragon” received a 10-episode, straight-to-series order Tuesday afternoon, marking a new direction for the network’s most profitable franchise.
Emmy-winning “Game of Thrones” director Miguel Sapochnik will return to direct the pilot as well as additional episodes. He will serve as co-showrunner alongside Ryan Condal, the former co-creator and showrunner of USA Network’s “Colony” series, who’s also writing the pilot. Martin and Vince Gerardis are on board as executive producers, making the new team setting “Game of Thrones” future entirely male.
Earlier Tuesday, HBO nixed plans for another prequel series from writer and showrunner Jane Goldman. Even after shooting a pilot and acquiring a big name star (Naomi Watts), network executives decided not to move forward with their first-choice spinoff.
“House of the Dragon” is indeed focused on the formation of House Targaryen, a family line that eventually produced the mother of dragons, Daenerys Targaryen. Don’t expect an Emilia Clarke appearance, however, as the prequel series is set 300 years before the events of “Game of Thrones.”
“The ‘Game of Thrones’ universe is so rich with stories,” Casey Bloys, president, HBO programming, said in a statement. “We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros along with Miguel, Ryan, and George.”
Sapochnik won an Emmy for directing the famous “Battle of the Bastards,” but he also helmed well-regarded episodes like “Hardhome” and “Winds of Winter.” His next project is the Amblin Studios’ film, “Bios,” starring Tom Hanks, which is set for release in fall 2020.
While Goldman’s “Game of Thrones” spinoff was given the green light to shoot a pilot back in June 2018, this latest prequel series was first reported in September 2019, not long after the series finale of the original show. Then, it was reported that Condal was reworking a pilot idea from the original five “Game of Thrones” spinoffs HBO was developing, based on a pitch originally developed by Bryan Cogman.
The state of the other “Game of Thrones” spinoffs are still undecided, save for Goldman’s now-dismissed pilot.