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Game of Thrones Spinoffs: Here’s How House of the Dragon Made the cut and The Long Night didn’t

Key artwork for HBO's House of the Dragon
Promotional poster for House of the Dragon. Pic credit: HBO

For the longest time, it seemed that a pilot episode of a Game of Thrones spinoff was in production. Tentatively titled both The Long Night and Bloodmoon, fans were eager to learn more. Then, the prequel series was axed and a new one, House of the Dragon, quickly announced.

So, how did this happen? How can HBO start development on one series and then cut it while greenlighting a new one directly to a 10-episode series without filming a pilot?

According to an interview with Casey Bloys, who is the HBO and HBO Max chief content officer, he explains that the decision-making process definitely involves what the fans want.

Bloys also told TV Line that there is a wealth of information to choose from considering the book series on which the universe is based.

“Obviously, we know [author] George [R. R. Martin] has this incredible world with all of this really rich and complicated history and all of these characters,” Boys said.

“So we’ve been trying to be thoughtful about what are the stories that are worth telling. What would be exciting? What would fans love?” he continued.

Casey Bloys attends the What's My Name: Muhammad Ali HBO premiere
08 May 2019 – Los Angeles, California – Casey Bloys. What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali HBO Premiere held at Regal Cinemas LA LIVE 14. Pic Credit: ©ImageCollect.com/AdMedia

With this in mind, it seemed that HBO decided after viewing the original pilot for The Long Night that it was, potentially, not something that fans will like as much as House of the Dragon.

The Targaryens to get their backstory explored in House of the Dragon

Initially, The Long Night was expected to delve into an event featured in the books of the same name.

The series chronicles the world’s descent from the “Golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour,” the synopsis read.

“From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend, only one thing is for sure: It’s not the story we think we know.”

This story has been previously hinted at in HBO’s original Game of Thrones series and looked like a promising prospect. However, considering it occurred so long before the events that unfolded in the original series, it was certainly possible that fans wouldn’t connect.

The story of the Targaryens, on the other hand, is definitely something that has intrigued fans. Much more information about this major house of Westeros has already been explained to the audience and the characters are already somewhat known, meaning the connection would likely be better when it came to developing House of the Dragon.

So, from this angle, House of the Dragon certainly looks like the winning concept as far as Bloys is concerned.

Dunk and Egg, is another prospect for the Game of Thrones TV universe

In addition to The Long Night, another series has been toyed with by HBO. Titled Dunk and Egg, the story set within the Game of Thrones universe tells of Dunk (aka Ser Duncan the Tall) and Egg (Aegon V Targaryen). According to Variety, this story takes place approximately “90 years prior to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire.”

It would also likely tie in nicely with House of the Dragon, considering it includes another Targaryen character.

In addition, this might not be the only development by HBO for this universe.

“Dunk and Egg is one of those, but not the only one,” Bloys revealed.

On top of that, there is also speculation that HBO has 20 years of content in the pipelines regarding this popular franchise.

Season 1 of House of the Dragon will premiere on HBO at a later date.

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