HBO reportedly spent over $30 million on scrapped Game of Thrones spinoff

Game of Thrones, spinoff, $30 million, cancelled

Although Game of Thrones didn’t have the most graceful ending in the eyes of many fans, HBO clearly wanted to keep the franchise going. The network was juggling several possible Game of Thrones successors and wound up moving forward on a pilot for a series that would have been set thousands of years before the main series. HBO elected not to move forward with the series, but a new report claims that they spent more than $30 million on the pilot for the Game of Thrones spinoff.

The Game of Thrones spinoff starred Naomi Watts and was directed by S.J. Clarkson with Jane Goldman serving as showrunner. “The series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour,” read the official logline. “And only one thing is for sure: From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the white walkers, the mysteries of the East, to the Starks of legend… it’s not the story we think we know.” According to James Andrew Miller’s Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, former WarnerMedia chairman Bob Greenblatt spoke about pulling the plug on the series.

They had spent over $30 million on a Game of Thrones prequel pilot when I got there. And when I saw a cut of it in a few months after I arrived, I said to [HBO chief content officer] Casey [Bloys], ‘this just doesn’t work and I don’t think it delivers on the premise of the original series.’ And he didn’t disagree, which actually was a relief. So we unfortunately decided to pull the plug on it. There was enormous pressure to get it right and I don’t think it would have worked.

That’s certainly a lot of money to spend on a pilot that didn’t go to series, but Greenblatt said it taught them a lesson, which is part of the reason they decided to order House of the Dragon directly to series. “I’m the one who encouraged Casey to green-light it to series,” Greenblatt explained. “I said, ‘let’s not risk $30 million on a pilot.’ You can’t spend $30 million on a pilot and then not pick it up. So I said, ‘let’s not make a pilot. Let’s get a great series that we feel good about, and just make it. Or not.’House of the Dragon takes place a few hundred years before Game of Thrones and revolves around a Targaryen civil war. The series is expected to debut on HBO next year.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.