HBO Once Blew $30 Million On A Scrapped 'Game Of Thrones' Prequel
Long before Game of Thrones fans learned they'd be transported back into the incestuous, blonde world of the Targeryans in the upcoming series House of the Dragon hitting the small screen next year, it seems there was yet another GoT prequel in the works – one that was both absurdly pricey, absurdly epic, and absurdly, well, non-existent.
Yep, in what may be one of – if not the – most expensive pilot to ever grace (or not grace) the airwaves, it seems HBO, riding high on a whole lot of confidence and perhaps mountains of … nevermind, in the direct aftermath of Game Of Thrones rampant popularity apparently decided to try their luck again, blowing a cool $30 million on a pilot for a Westeros-based prequel that never got to see the light of day. According to the new book detailing an oral history of the premium cable giant, Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, WarnerMedia's ex-chairman, Bob Greenblatt, the company was seemingly playing it fast and loose with development, even if it meant creating high-cost, no-reward sample episodes.
“They had spent over $30 million on a Game Of Thrones prequel pilot that was in production when I got there,” Greenblatt reportedly recalls in the new book. “And when I saw a cut of it a few months after I arrived, I said to Casey , ‘This just doesn’t work and I don’t think it delivers on the promise of the original series,'" he continued, referencing his discussing with Casey Bloys, the chief content officer for both HBO and Christopher Nolan's sworn enemy, HBO Max. Although this decision would essentially be the premium equivalent of setting 3,000 bands on fire, it seems Bloys was on board with Greenblatt's controversial call. “He didn’t disagree, which actually was a relief,” the former exec explained.
In the end, it seems the series, even in all of its 8-figure glory, just wasn't good enough for the station, prompting execs to “pull the plug on it." “There was enormous pressure to get it right and I don’t think that would have worked,” he continued.
Despite his disdain for the OG GOT prequel, it seems Greenblat played a role in the upcoming series, urging his colleague to give it the go-ahead. “I’m the one who encouraged Casey to green-light it to series,” he added. “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.’”
Top Image: Shutterstock/HBO/HBO/HBO