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Why Game of Thrones spin-off Bloodmoon was cancelled – HBO explains

The star-studded, mega-budget project would have starred Naomi Watts and Jamie Campbell Bower.

Matt Smith House of the Dragon
Published: Tuesday, 19th July 2022 at 5:48 pm
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Fresh details have emerged about why HBO scrapped its costly first attempt at a Game of Thrones spin-off so suddenly, when it opted instead to green-light House of the Dragon.

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Before the upcoming show was announced, the US broadcaster had reportedly poured $30-35 million into a pilot titled Bloodmoon, which was set to star Naomi Watts (The Loudest Voice), Jamie Campbell Bower (Stranger Things), Toby Regbo (The Last Kingdom) and Naomi Ackie (The Rise of Skywalker), among others.

According to a new article in The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Jane Goldman was confident of a full season order, but the plug was suddenly pulled last year with little explanation.

As House of the Dragon prepares to launch, creatives involved in both projects have shed light on the change in focus, with the consensus being that they initially wanted to move away from the premise of the original Thrones (i.e. a royal power struggle), which Goldman's show provided.

“Bloodmoon really stood out as different, with unique world-building," said Francesca Orsi, HBO’s Executive VP of Drama. "Tonally it felt very adult, sophisticated and intelligent."

However, a feeling soon grew that the show was perhaps too far removed from what audiences – and even creator George RR Martin knew – as it took place during a time period that the author himself had barely ever explored.

"Bloodmoon was a very difficult assignment,” he said. “We’re dealing with a much more primitive people. There were no dragons yet. A lot of the pilot revolved around a wedding of a Southern house to a Northern house and it got into the whole history of the White Walkers.”

HBO's Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys and WarnerMedia's former chairman Robert Greenblatt agreed that Bloodmoon was very well produced, but simply not what the network was looking for from the first ever spin-off in its history.

"It didn’t take me to the same place as the original series," Greenblatt said. "It didn’t have that depth and richness that the original series’ pilot did.”

THR's investigation reveals that George RR Martin still hasn't seen the Bloodmoon pilot, while also uncovering ideas for other abandoned Game of Thrones spin-offs, including an adaptation of Martin's light-hearted Dunk and Egg stories, following a knight and his young squire, and the fabled adventures of the Seven Gods of Westeros (scrapped early in development).

House of the Dragon will launch on Monday 22nd August on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW – sign up for Sky TV here. Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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