HBO and HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has played a major role in the network’s ambivalence to set a premiere 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 told Deadline.
He continued, “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 centers on an infamous event in Westeros history known as the Dance of the Dragons — a civil war between competing factions of House Targaryen. Based on author George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novel Fire & Blood, the Targaryen-centric spinoff received a straight-to-series order in October 2019 and began filming in April 2021.
Like its predecessor, House of the Dragon features a large ensemble cast that includes Paddy Considine (Peaky Blinders), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One), Emma D’Arcy (Truth Seekers) and Rhys Ifans (Spider-Man: No Way Home). The first teaser for the highly anticipated series debuted in October 2021.
House of the Dragon is the first of several planned Game of Thrones spinoffs, but it’s the only one in active development at this time. When asked in a recent interview about the status of other titles set within Martin’s fantasy world, including 10,000 Ships, Dunk and Egg and 9 Voyages, Bloys explained, “There’s various other projects in development but nothing else is greenlit and right now we’re focused on House of the Dragon.”
HBO’s first planned Game of Thrones spinoff, an untitled prequel based on the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, was abruptly canceled after the network had already spent $30 million shooting the pilot.
Despite not having an official premiere date, the 10-episode first season of House of the Dragon is expected to debut on HBO sometime in 2022.