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HBO’s love affair with Game of Thrones may be over – is that final season to blame?

HBO has cancelled plans to shoot a pilot for a Game of Thrones prequel starring Naomi Watts, according to a Deadline report on Tuesday.

The project, which had been written and produced by Jane Goldman (of Kingsman fame) along with input from George R.R. Martin, was one of the expanded universe projects under consideration by the premium US cable network.

It was due to explore events thousands of years prior to those depicted in A Song Of Fire And Ice, which came to its controversial conclusion on the small screen this spring. The pilot episode, which was already in the editing suite will apparently never make it into the can.

According to the report, Goldman has been emailing potential cast members to let them know “the project is dead,” the Deadline sources say.

Related: Apple TV Plus vs Netflix

Whether this affects any of the other potential scripts commissioned for exploration by HBO remains to be seen, but the network hasn’t commented on the report. Last month it commissioned another prequel chronicling the rise of House Targaryen, set 300 years before the events depicted in Game Of Thrones.

It’s possible executives are souring on Game of Thrones projects, following the critical mauling handed to the eighth and final season – and especially the final episode. While this is pure speculation on our part, it’s also possible HBO is getting a little gun-shy on commissioning such expensive projects, with the spectre of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus imminently looming.

The HBO Max streaming service, set to compete with the pair, as well as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, launches in the United States next spring, bringing all of its classic content and legacy shows from within the portfolio, like Friends. The company is making announcements throughout the day pertaining to content coming to the service in the future.


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