The COVID-19 epidemic, according to HBO and HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys, has played a big influence in the network’s hesitancy to announce a launch date for the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon.
“One of the reasons why we’re trying to be cautious about it is when you’re shooting a show that big during a pandemic, especially with the last round [with] a lot of crew and cast members… you didn’t know who was going to drop out or if we’re going to have to shut down so we just didn’t want to declare a date and then find ourselves shut down,” Bloys says in an interview with Deadline.
He went on to say, “Now that we are out of production, I think that we will talk to their guys and figure out what we want to do in terms of announcing a date. But I was just trying to make sure that we didn’t come out with a date that we couldn’t meet for something that was out of our control.”
Set hundreds of years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon focuses on the historic Dance of the Dragons, a civil conflict between warring factions of House Targaryen in Westeros history. The Targaryen-centric spinoff acquired a straight-to-series order in October 2019 and will begin production in April 2021, based on author George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novel Fire & Blood.
Paddy Considine (stars in Peaky Blinders), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One), Emma D’Arcy (Truth Seekers), as well as Rhys Ifans star in House of the Dragon are included in the cast, follows in the footsteps of its predecessor (Spider-Man: No Way Home). In October 2021, the first teaser for the highly anticipated series was released.
The first of numerous potential Game of Thrones spinoffs, House of the Dragon is currently the only one in active development. Bloys noted in a recent interview that “There are various other projects in development but nothing else is greenlit and right now we’re focused on House of the Dragon” when questioned about the status of other games set in Martin’s fantasy universe, such as 10,000 Ships, Dunk and Egg, and 9 Voyages.
After spending $30 million on the pilot, HBO quickly scrapped its first planned Game of Thrones spinoff, an unnamed prequel based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series.
Despite the lack of an official launch date, HBO is likely to air House of the Dragon’s 10-episode first season in 2022.