HBO content chief Casey Bloys explains why a premiere date for Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon hasn’t been announced just yet. HBO has been interested in expanding the world of Game of Thrones since even before the pop culture juggernaut came to a close in 2019, and sometime this year, the first spin-off will finally arrive. House of the Dragon was officially ordered to series in late 2019 and began production last year. Fans have been treated to peeks at the cast in costume and an early teaser trailer, but there have been little updates regarding House of the Dragon since then.
Set hundreds of years before the start of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon centers on the triumphs and losses of House Targaryen. It begins during the reign of King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) and plans to work its way towards the famed Targaryen civil war, which is often referred to as the Dance of the Dragons within author George R.R. Martin’s lore. Like its predecessor, House of the Dragons contains a large ensemble cast that also includes Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Rhys Ifans, Sonoya Mizuno, and Steve Toussaint.
As of right now, House of the Dragon is without any kind of premiere date, and that is because of one major reason. Speaking to Deadline, HBO and HBO Max’s content head Casey Bloys said the network is trying to be cautious in scheduling the series because of the coronavirus pandemic. When production was taking place last year amid surges and varying case numbers, it was harder to predict when filming would be over. Bloys wished to avoid settling on a date that would need to be changed. He explained:
“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. 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 control out of our control.”
Though some COVID-era productions have been fine with scheduling their premiere dates months in advance (for example, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is already set to debut in September), HBO’s more careful approach to House of the Dragon is a smart one. Fans are already quite eager to return to Westeros, and getting everyone excited over a date that later has to be delayed would just lead to disappointment. House of the Dragon did have to shut down production for at least a few days last year over positive COVID cases, so it’s clear that it was not unaffected by the pandemic. Waiting for the show to be closer to completion is a better option when it comes to setting a release date.
As Bloys said, now that House of the Dragon season 1 has wrapped, HBO can actually figure out the best time to debut the series. Assuming the network wants ample time to promote the show, House of the Dragon will likely end up with a premiere date in the back half of 2022. Summer isn’t out of the question, but HBO will need to settle on it soon. What seems certain now is that it will arrive this year, so Game of Thrones fans will just have to keep their eyes open for further updates.