We’d known for awhile that there were several different Game of Thrones prequels in development at HBO, and one of them even filmed a pilot this past year with Oscar nominee Naomi Watts in a leading role. The new series was developed by Jane Goldman, known for her work on the Kingsman series. Sadly, we will likely never see whatever it is that was actually shot, as HBO has pulled the plug on this potential series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO has decided not to go forward with this particular prequel series after all. The series was said to take place during the so-called “Age of Heroes,” thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones. Viewers would see the early days of House Stark and Lannister, and the rise of the White Walkers. Aside from Watts, the pilot also starred well known actors like Miranda Richardson, Joshua Whitehouse, and Marquis Rodriguez.
Just a few short months ago, as anticipation rode high for the final season of Game of Thrones, it seems everyone at the network was excited about the prospects of this prequel series. They even released an official synopsis for the show, which teased the show’s connections to the lore we were familiar with, and which went as follows:
“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.”
So what exactly went wrong? We may never know. When HBO fast tracked a different Game of Thrones prequel series a few months back, it raised a few eyebrows. Although the network confirmed that many different series set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire were in active development, it seemed unlikely that two of them would be airing at the same time. The news of a different prequel set 300 or so years before the events of Game of Thrones made many wonder if the Goldman/Watts project was still moving forward. It now seems those suspicions were justified.
Of course, it’s always possible this could be retooled completely and brought back again in the future. Certainly the time period is an interesting one for fans of the franchise, and many Game of Thrones devotees would probably like to see the earliest days of the White Walker/human conflict. And HBO has a penchant for retooling high profile pilots and tinkering with them till they get them just right, as Game of Thrones‘ original pilot was famously totally reshot. The same thing happened years before with True Blood, who replaced several lead actors from the first pilot to the second. The same thing could possibly happen here down the line.
But if this pilot episode doesn’t get re-tooled at some future date, don’t expect the episode as is to ever leak. Almost no one has ever seen the original Game of Thrones pilot—or the True Blood one for that matter. When things land in the HBO vault, they stay in the HBO vault.