Although Game of Thrones may have come to a tumultuous and controversial end this year, HBO was never going to leave it's most popular franchise alone for very long. It came as no surprise when the premium network announced that there were multiple spinoff ideas in development, offering fans more opportunities to dig into the world of Westeros. What was surprising, however, was the recent announcement that the prequel known as The Long Night -- the only one of these projects actually in production -- was canned by HBO after shooting its pilot. A second series, House of the Dragon, was greenlit instead, but fans still felt the sting of what could have become of the Jane Goldman-written and Naomi Watts-starring series.
There's been no word as to the motivation behind HBO's decision to pull the plug on this Game of Thrones prequel, especially since it was so quick to send another into production. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, who has been actively involved in the development of these spinoffs, took to his personal blog on Wednesday to share his excitement for House of the Dragon, as well as his disappointment for the cancelled series.
"As exciting as the series order is, I would be remiss if I did not also mention the bad news," Martin wrote. "HBO also announced that it has decided not to proceed with the other successor show we had in development, the one I kept calling THE LONG NIGHT (though it was, and remains, officially untitled), the pilot for which was shot in Northern Ireland last spring and summer. Set thousands of years before either GAME OF THRONES or HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and centered on the Starks and the White Walkers, the untitled pilot was written by Jane Goldman, directed by S.J. Clarkson, and starred Naomi Watts, Miranda Richardson, and a splendid cast. It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series. Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her."
"I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had to do with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON," he continued. "This was never an either/or situation. If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and CHICAGO shows… well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters for a dozen shows. Heartbreaking as it is to work for years on a pilot, to pour your blood and sweat and tears into it, and have it come to nought, it’s not at all uncommon. I’ve been there myself, more than once. I know Jane and her team are feeling the disappointment just now, and they have all my sympathy… with my thanks for all their hard work, and my good wishes for whatever they do next."
As long as there is HBO, there will probably be some kind of Game of Thrones-related project in some stage of development or production. The franchise has been a pop culture mainstay for the better part of a decade and there's no chance that a network like HBO doesn't take advantage of it.
Are you disappointed by the prequel's cancellation? Let us know in the comments!