We’re just a month away from the debut of House of the Dragon, but the series wasn’t the first Game of Thrones prequel to emerge. Even before Game of Thrones concluded, HBO was already exploring options to keep the franchise going. The studio had several potential projects in development but ultimately announced a pilot order for a prequel set thousands of years before the events of the main series. Under the working title of Bloodmoon, a pilot for the potential series was shot for somewhere between $30 million to $35 million, but HBO decided to scrap it and move forward with House of the Dragon instead.
The Game of Thrones prequel 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.” A new report from THR has helped shed a little light on why Bloodmoon was shelved, especially after so much money had already been spent. HBO’s executive VP of drama Francesca Orsi said that “Bloodmoon really stood out as different, with unique world-building. Tonally it felt very adult, sophisticated and intelligent, and there was a thematic conversation at the center of it about disenfranchisement in the face of colonialism and religious extremism.” Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin hadn’t written all that much about the period in which Bloodmoon took place and admitted that it was a difficult task.
Bloodmoon was a very difficult assignment. We’re dealing with a much more primitive people. There were no dragons yet. A lot of the pilot revolved around a wedding of a Southern house to a Northern house and it got into the whole history of the White Walkers.
At the end of the day, HBO decided not to move forward with Bloodmoon. Former WarnerMedia chairman Robert Greenblatt said, “It wasn’t unwatchable or horrible or anything. It was very well produced and looked extraordinary. But it didn’t take me to the same place as the original series. It didn’t have that depth and richness that the original series’ pilot did.” The news came as a “total shock” to Jane Goldman, who had been assembling a writers room for what she assumed would be a series pickup and was making changes to the pilot based on HBO notes. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever get to see Bloodmoon, as HBO apparently hasn’t even let George R.R. Martin watch the pilot.
House of the Dragon will debut on HBO on August 21st.