HBO Has Axed Its Game of Thrones Spinoff Starring Naomi Watts

HBO has axed one of its prequel spinoffs for Game of Thrones, according to Deadline. The series, written by Jane Goldman and starring Naomi Watts, filmed its pilot earlier this summer, and was reportedly set ten thousand years before the events of A Song of Fire and Ice. 

HBO greenlit the pilot for the potential series, which author George R.R. Martin called The Long Night, in 2018 and was one of at least five shows that HBO had put into in development in anticipation of Game of Thrones‘ conclusion. Watts had been brought on to play a “charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret,” who would be part of an ensemble cast. According to Deadline, the project came to a halt only after a long post-production process and filming issues in Northern Ireland.

At the time, Martin indicated that HBO had killed one of those shows, and reported earlier this year that two of them were still “in the script stage, but are edging closer.” He hinted that one of them might be connected to his recently-released book, Fire & Blood, his faux history of the world set three centuries before ASOIAF. As of last month, HBO was close to ordering a pilot for that project.

The franchise has had its share of production issues: the original pilot for Game of Thrones was famously reshot before it was ordered to series.

Even though there are other projects in the works, it’s unfortunate news for HBO, which has been working to figure out how to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped hole in its schedule. While HBO has its share of new genre projects — such as Watchman and His Dark Materials — the absence of another series set in the franchise will set the network and its parent company, WarnerMedia, back as it’s set to launch HBO Max next year.

Update: This evening, HBO announced that it had given a straight-to-series order for Ryan Condal’s spinoff series, House of the Dragon, based on Martin’s Fire & Blood. 

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