During the regular TCA presentations, where various networks and studios present themselves, performers, and new shows to the Television Critic Association, Casey Bloys had a number of things to say about Game of Thrones prequels and projects. Deadline has a detailed report, and The Hollywood Reporter has an interview with Bloys that touches on it as well.
The main takeaway—beyond the more concrete reveal that House of the Dragon is going into production in April—is that while reports of prequels being explored in live and animated form, it’s still very much up in the air. Though Bloys suggests that “zero” of these shows going forward would be the “wrong number”, it’ll be a matter of finding stories worth telling (and, one hopes, worth telling well!) that determines how many of these shows will go ahead.
Following on recent news that HBO is taking pitches for prequels to Game of Thrones, The Hollywood Reporter has now revealed that another aspect of the process of turning Game of Thrones to new material is exploring creating an “adult-leaning” animated series. Per the article:
“Meetings with writers for the adult-leaning project, which would be similar in tone to HBO’s Emmy-winning flagship, are already under way. No deals have been made and there’s still a possibility that the animated series never comes to fruition.
“Reps for HBO Max declined comment.
“The animated idea is part of a larger strategy to expand the world of creator George R.R. Martin’s fantasy drama. Sources say development executives at HBO — led by drama head Francesca Orsi and her group — are working directly with Martin on building out the sprawling Game of Thrones world. (Martin remains under a rich overall deal with the cabler.)”
Funnily enough, we brought up the possibility—or likelihood, really—that HBO and HBO Max would be looking to expand the world into different forms beyond just a standard hour-long, multi-episode series, much as Disney and Paramount have done with Star Wars, Marvel, and Star Trek. In fact, the THR report notes that HBO was looking in this direction long before Disney announced its massive expansion of Star Wars series.
Deadline has reported on an interview with Casey Bloys, the president of HBO, following HBO’s strong showing at the 2020 Emmys. Towards the end of the article, Deadline reports:
On October 6th, Asmodee Digital and Dire Wolf Digital‘s A Game of Thrones: The Board Game - Digital Edition will launch, but until then Asmodee has offered a substantial discount of 20% for those who pre-order the game on Steam.
Based on the well-regarded, popular board game from Fantasy Flight Games, the game will support single-player (with up to five AI opponents) as well as full multi-player with up to six players. A new trailer has been released for the game, showing a deal of gameplay, which you can see below.
We’ve reported previously that James Hibberd will be publishing an in-depth oral history of Game of Thrones—filled with new interviews and never-before-heard anecdotes from behind the scenes—titled Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon. Over at EW, a lengthy excerpt has been posted sharing a wide-array of comments from producers (Benioff and Weiss first and foremost, as well as Bryan Cogman), actors (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Jason Momoa, Mark Addy, Iain Glen), and executives (most notable Michael Lombardo and Richard Plepler) concerning the original pilot which was heavily reshot by Tim van Patten, including recasting of several key roles. There’s some decidedly new details just in this short excerpt, which bodes well for the rest of the book’s insights. Below are a couple of quotes from GRRM himself that are interesting.
According to the BBC, borough councils in County Down, Northern Ireland, have given permission for the Linen Mill Studios Game of Thrones tour experience which was first announced in April. It seems the global pandemic has delayed plans, as the original notion had been to open over the Spring in 2020, which obviously did not happen. The tour will essentially be a permanent exhibition of sets, props, and costumes with interactive elements at the studios that were used for some of the filming of the production (most notably one or more ship sets were made on site).
In a new Not a Blog post titled “Writing, Reading, Writing”, GRRM has written from his cabin hideaway about his isolation during the global pandemic. In the course of being up there, his assistant captured two mice that they’ve now made into pets named Timmy and TomTom, and George notes they have not been too helpful in advising him on The Winds of Winter...
... but he actually has a deal to say about the progress he has made, even if he thinks he won’t be able to recapture the blazing rate of speed in which he wrote A Storm of Swords (which peaked at about 150 manuscript pages a month).
Here’s what he has to say:
“If nothing else, the enforced isolation has helped me write. I am spending long hours every day on THE WINDS OF WINTER, and making steady progress. I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week. But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go. Please do not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings.”
And below the fold, here’s some additional details that are slightly spoilerish in nature:
A friend in Belfast brought to our attention this breaking news from the Belfast Telegraph, revealing that HBO has served notice that it will no longer be holding on to its lease on the sprawling Paint Hall studio complex following the wrapping up of the “Long Night” prequel.
More importantly, however, the article indicates that NI Screen was aware that the House of the Dragon prequel series was definitely or at least unlikely to be filmed in Northern Ireland, which is a shock to some but perhaps not to others:
(Above: A photo from the season 1 set visit, taken in the bowels of the Paint Hall as Bryan Cogman led George R.R. Martin, Parris McBride [the photographer], and I between sets.)
A very interesting post at the Wild Cards World official website from veteran TV writer and producer Michael Cassutt (a long-time member of the Wild Cards Consortium, and heavily involved in the present work on the two Wild Cards being developed at Hulu) discusses what goes on in the writing room when shows are developed and seasons are broken down, but one particular detail caught our eye as he turned to discuss a number of genre-fiction writers who have become involved in TV shows:
“And some novelists have made the leap. Michael Chabon – Michael Chabon! – is showrunning DISCOVERY for CBS All-Access. Charlie Jane Anders is in L.A. right now, working in a room. Close to home, novelists Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck have worked in the room for THE EXPANSE, one of the most acclaimed SF TV series ever, for five seasons now. And other members of the WC consortium have been blessed with these opportunities, including David Anthony Durham on one of the GAME OF THRONES prequels, and Saladin Ahmed on FOUNDATION. Max Gladstone did time in three different mini-rooms, not for the four big TV drama markets listed above, but for the vital and growing world of web series, such as WIZARD SCHOOL DROPOUT.”
Durham has written numerous novels, most of them historical, but also a well-reviewed fantasy trilogy, Acacia. He’s also been part of the Wild Cards Consortium since 2011, when he contributed to Fort Freak. Because of this connection to the sphere of George R.R. Martin collaborators, we suspect that Cassutt has let slip that Durham has been added to the writing staff of House of the Dragon following its series order. As some will recall, an initial team of writers was named by George as having helped develop the series prior to the order, but it would not be strange if others came onboard after that stage.
That said, it’s also possible that Durham was involved in the now-cancelled Long Night pilot, or perhaps one of the pitches for other successors that have now been put on indefinite hold. Currently, Durham’s own website and Twitter have no further information on the subject, although his new Twitter account does note that next year will see the publication of a new novel for him, a fantasy YA set in ancient Egypt titled Shadow Prince.
Last night, the trades had word from the HBO’s session at the TCA Winter gathering, with executive Casey Bloys discussing the status of post-Game of Thrones successor shows and the fact that he expected House of the Dragons would not premiere before 2022.
News is moving fast. We posted just a little while ago about Condal’s series getting a rumored pilot order… and now word is that the show, titled House of the Dragon, now has a full series order for ten epiodes, according to Variety. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik will be co-showrunners, with George R.R. Martin and Vince Gerardis as executive producers alongside.
This is an amazingly fast news day, to say the least.
According to Deadline, the Jane Goldman-led pilot set in the era leading up to the Long Night is not getting a series pickup from HBO. While there’s no official statement from HBO to this end, reporting has it that Goldman has been contacting cast and crew to inform them of this.
As we noted at Worldcon, Linda and I did some consulting work on the project. Our interaction with Jane and fellow executive producer James Farrell impressed us with their dedication and interest in the setting and its history.
Some guessed this might be the outcome after word spilled last month that a new pilot was nearing an order from HBO, one somehow based on the Targaryen history in the Targaryen history presented in Fire & Blood (Amazon) and being developed by Ryan Condal. At his “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin spoke very approvingly of the bible and pilot script Condal had put together, but so far there has been no clear confirmation that this is the next pilot to be filmed.
Addendum: Over at EW, James Hibberd shares more news about the pilot being passed on, including a quote from one of the actors prior to the news discussing it, as well as Hibberd’s information on Condal’s proposed pilot which Hibberd indicates will lead into the Dance of the Dragons.
HBO has revealed that the Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection Blu-ray set will have what looks to be one of the most stylish, interesting collector’s boxes out there thanks to clever use of Robert Ball‘s signature artwork. A couple of videos have been released along with the announcement, as well as a detailed press release concerning the exclusive extras that are a part of the set, which is due to be released on December 3rd alongside the season 8 stand-alone collection sets (4K and regular Bluray/DVD) and a full complete collection without the limited edition packaging featured below.
Linda has roped me into discussing the final season of Game of Thrones, with an eye to discussing what the choices of the showrunners mean (or don’t) regarding George’s plans for A Song of Ice and Fire. We think it’s a lot murkier than some have taken it, but see the epic, near-2 hours video (with handy timestamps in the description to jump to particular characters of interest) to learn more:
Over at Not a Blog, George R.R. Martin has shared thoughts on the close of Game of Thrones, how it might be compared to his plans for the final two novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, and more. Well worth a read as a reminiscence and commentary for those who wonder about these things. It’s been a long road for George, for everyone who worked on or covered the show, and for the tens (hundreds?) of millions around the world who’ve watched it.
I had the great privilege to accompany George and Parris to a visit to the set as the first season filmed (the image above comes from that visit, George and I moving down a dark hallway in the Paint Hall studio, led by Bryan Cogman to one of the several sets in that colossal space).