There’s no doubting the epic scale of the Battle of Winterfell from the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, but it almost had at least one more mammoth moment.
Miguel Sapochnik, who directed the episode, has revealed that an action scene involving 50 direwolves attacking the undead dragon ridden by the Night King was axed from the script.
He also said he wanted Jorah Mormont to die in the first moments of the battle, rather than at the end of the episode.
Sapochnik, who also directed the iconic Battle of the Bastards from series six and the fifth season massacre Hardhome, told Indiewire podcast Filmmaker Toolkit that he thought the direwolf attack would be boring.
He said: “There were many things that happened, that people would have been so happy to have happen. Attack of direwolves and crazy stuff.
“At some point you’re like, 50 direwolves attacking an undead dragon does not a good movie make.”
Sapochnik, who faced criticism for the dark cinematography of the episode, said he was wary that the skirmish between living and dead could have become a “remix of every battle we’ve done” on the show.
He said he wanted to be more ruthless in terms of killing off major characters, but was restrained by showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.
“I wanted to kill everyone,” said Sapochnik. “I wanted to kill Jorah in the horse charge at the beginning.”
He added: “I wanted it to be ruthless so that in the first 10 minutes you say all bets are off, anyone can die.
“David and Dan didn’t want to. They were saving it for [penultimate episode] The Bells, kind of.”
The battle episode was one of many divisive instalments in the final season of Game of Thrones, which divided fans who were disappointed at the conclusion to the adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novels.
More than a million fans ultimately signed a petition calling for the entire season to be remade by a different creative team.
Benioff and Weiss are now set to work on a trilogy of films within the Star Wars universe, while the Game of Thrones franchise will expand into a series of spin-offs.