And then there were two.
HBO is nearing a pilot order for a second Game of Thrones prequel series.
And this one has dragons — lots of dragons.
The network is said to be close to deal for a project that’s based on the history of the Targaryens. EW hears the series would lead up to and eventually chronicle the house’s civil war — a.k.a the legendary Dance of the Dragons.
The project has been a strong contender for an eventual order since HBO commissioned five screenwriters to try their hand at different Game of Thrones prequel ideas back in 2017 in an unusual bake-off effort to replace its departing mega-hit series.
This pilot concept was particularly attractive to saga author George R.R. Martin, who is on board as executive producer. Earlier this year Martin published Fire and Blood, a history of House Targaryen that spans roughly 150 years. The book detailed events that would be covered in this prospective series and is serving as the basis for the show. Yet perfecting the pilot script — now written by Ryan Condal (Colony) — has taken a while, with multiple writers taking swings at it. There’s no title yet for the new series, but Game of Thrones: Fire and Blood would certainly fit.
The Dance of the Dragons was a massive civil war in the Seven Kingdoms held between two rival branches of House Targaryen. The war occurred roughly 200 years before the events in Game of Thrones.
You might recall in GoT season 5, young Shireen Baratheon read a book about the famed Targaryen conflict and enthusiastically described the war to her father Stannis: “It’s the story of the fight between Rhaenyra Targaryen and her half-brother Aegon for control over the Seven Kingdoms,” she said. “Both of them thought they belonged on the Iron Throne. When people started declaring for one of them or the other, their fight divided the kingdoms in two. Brothers fought brothers, dragons fought dragons. By the time it was over, thousands were dead. And it was a disaster for the Targaryens as well. They never truly recovered.”
The project represents a doubling down by HBO on finding a successor to its most popular and award-winning series of all time. The network previously ordered a pilot from showrunner Jane Goldman starring Naomi Watts that’s set thousands of years before the events in GoT when Westeros was on the cusp of The Long Night war with the White Walkers. That as-yet-untitled project predates the Taragaryens and their dragons, and is expected to have a rather different look and feel than GoT. The pilot recently completed filming and HBO has not yet announced if it will receive a series order.
The prequels are unusual for HBO as the network had never ordered a sequel or prequel series to one of its hits in its long history until GoT, but also makes sense given the drama’s massive global appeal and sprawling mythology.
The pilot news comes as the Primetime Emmys approach, where season 8 of GoT is up for 32 nominations — including best drama and acting nods for 10 of its stars.