Game of Thrones fans are having a rough week, headlined by a cringeworthy public appearance by showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. They’ve shied away from the spotlight since their massively successful show ended with a miserable final season a few months ago, but they decided to show up to the Austin Film Festival and pretty much confirm to everyone that they had no idea what they were doing and couldn’t believe HBO took a chance on them. Read our report from Monday covering their remarks at the festival if you don’t believe me.
And now, another bit of depressing news for Game of Thrones fans — HBO has just unceremoniously stuck a shard of dragonglass through the heart of the super-secretive prequel starring Naomi Watts.
Screenwriter Jane Goldman reportedly emailed the cast members to break the news to them, with The Hollywood Reporter and others citing unnamed sources confirming the shocking cancellation.
Have we been overfed a Game of Thrones diet at this point? That might have factored into HBO’s calculations. Or maybe the pilot just didn’t look up to snuff, though with involvement from creator George R.R. Martin and Goldman — and Weiss and Benioff thankfully nowhere in the vicinity of the project — that’s hard to believe.
Making this cancellation all the more of a surprise, in addition to how established the brand is at this point, was how far along the project seemed to be. Confirmed cast members, in addition to Watts, included Josh Whitehouse, Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Georgie Henley, and Alex Sharp, just to name a few. Additionally, a pilot episode had been shot over the summer, and the story was said to be focused on the first battle between mankind and the White Walkers during the “Age of Heroes” Martin describes in his books.
THR notes that a second prequel is currently in the works at HBO, and that bringing the audience back to Westeros is still a top priority for the cable giant. Unlike the now-dead series from Martin and Goldman, this second prequel will be set just 300 years before the events of the original show, focusing on House Targaryen before it fell to ruin. George R.R. Martin is said to be working with Ryan Condal on this previously unreported series.