Yes, there was a 'Game of Thrones' prequel before 'House of the Dragon' — and new photos just dropped

Dragon on House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

Our minds might be on all things "House of the Dragon" season 2 — which you can expect sometime in August 2024, per series star Matt Smith — but years before we met Smith's Daemon Targaryen, Emma D'Arcy's Rhaenyra Targaryen and Olivia Cooke's Alicent Hightower, there was actually an entirely different "Game of Thrones" prequel series in the works.

Back in June 2018, HBO ordered a pilot for a prequel from British screenwriter-producer Jane Goldman ("Kick-Ass", "Kingsman: The Secret Service"), with George R. R. Martin — the iconic author behind "A Song of Ice and Fire," the novel series on which both "Game of Thrones" and "House of the Dragon" are based — attached as a co-producer. 

Along with Miranda Richardson, Denise Gough, Shiela Atim, Toby Regbo, and Jamie Campbell Bower, the prequel was set to star Naomi Watts, reportedly as "a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret," and throwback photos of the Aussie actress in full Westeros wear recently hit the Internet, after hair and makeup designer Flora Moody posted them on Instagram.

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Per Entertainment Weekly, the official description of the spinoff — which was then untitled but would later be known as "Bloodmoon" — read: "Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: 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 ... it's not the story we think we know."

However, as Moody noted in an Instagram carousel that showed Watts in a long, Cersei-esque blond wig during one of her character's hair and makeup tests, the network decided not to move on with the "Bloodmoon" series, despite the pilot reportedly costing a cool $30 million to produce. 

What was the reason for the cancellation? Former WarnerMedia chairman Robert Greenblatt told The Hollywood Reporter: “It was very well produced and looked extraordinary. But it didn’t take me to the same place as the original series. It didn’t have that depth and richness that the original series’ pilot did.”

And we all know what happened next: HBO, instead, premiered "House of the Dragon" in August 2022 and the Emmy-winning fantasy series received both positive critical reviews and such strong viewership that a second season was picked up a mere five days after its debut. 

And if you're looking for even more great shows like "Game of Thrones", the Westeros Cinematic Universe is expanding even further with the recently announced "Aegon’s Conquest", which will reportedly be "a direct prequel to the hit House of the Dragon, telling the story of the Targaryen’s bloody and brutal conquest of Westeros," per The Hollywood Reporter

And along with the second season of "House of the Dragon," "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight" — based on Martin's "Dunk and Egg" novellas — will reportedly start filming this year. 

Tom's Guide will be sure to keep you posted on any news of those "GOT" prequels, as well as the prequels to those prequels! In the meantime, you can revisit both "Game of Thrones" and "House of the Dragon" with a Max subscription

Christina Izzo
Writer

Christina Izzo is a writer-editor covering culture, food and drink, travel and general lifestyle in New York City. She was previously the Deputy Editor at My Imperfect Life, the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.