House of the Dragon may be nearing its season 2 debut, but it wasn’t the first spinoff that was planned for Game of Thrones. That honor belongs to a show codenamed Blood Moon, which was going to be about the Long Night — at least, before HBO canceled it shortly after its pilot was completed. It has long been assumed that we’d never see anything from that series. However, over the weekend hair and makeup designer Flora Moody posted on Instagram the first real look at the canceled series.
First look at Naomi Watts in the pilot episode of HBO’s cancelled ‘BLOOD MOON’ #GameOfThrones prequel series.— westerosies (@westerosies) February 2, 2024
The pilot reportedly revolved around a wedding between a Stark and a Casterly, taking place at Casterly Rock. pic.twitter.com/4htFRbSJsg
The post shows a short production shot of Naomi Watts, who was set to star in the series, standing in a large room looking regal. Supposedly the series would have centered on a Stark who marries a Casterly (likely Watts), so it’s possible this brief sequence is set in Casterly Rock before it was under Lannister control. We also know the show would have delved into the history of the White Walkers. George R.R. Martin has no supporting text or information for that as of yet, which was apparently a big stumbling block for the series.
Of course, what the series would have been about doesn’t matter much now. Shortly after the pilot was finished, HBO announced it wouldn’t be picking the show up to series. This came as quite a surprise, particularly once the pilot’s $30 million price tag was revealed. But HBO apparently decided losing the $30 million was a better price to pay than taking an even bigger gamble on a less-than-great pilot in their biggest franchise. That decision is a lot easier to understand after the release of a series like The Witcher: Blood Origin, a prequel so bad that it permanently soured some fans on the entire series.
HBO has always taken a slow-and-steady hand with starting up Game of Thrones shows. The series’ initial pilot was famously so rough, HBO scrapped it and started over from the beginning, which produced the fantastic pilot that debuted in 2011. Meanwhile, we know the network has several different Game of Thrones spinoffs in the works, but only House of the Dragon has actually come out so far. The Hedge Knight is also on the way, along with a series called Nine Voyages, which just pivoted from live-action to animation, proving HBO isn’t done tinkering with its spinoffs just yet.