HBO kicked off its Television Critics Association press run with a whimper rather than a bang, addressing things like Watchmen creator Alan Moore's displeasure at the upcoming adaptation and the frustrated fan response to Game of Thrones' final season. But HBO programming president Casey Bloys had more to say about the future of the latter franchise beyond the fact that the currently-untitled prequel pilot about The Long Night has finished Belfast, Ireland production. In fact, while some had believed that this Naomi Watts-led show was the only way forward for the franchise in the wake of a tepid finale, the original reports that HBO was considering multiple prequel paths still seems to be the case.
Speaking to The Wrap, Bloys explained the company still may have a few prequel options from the original batch of five pitches to consider besides the pilot — even if GoT writer Bryan Cogman's has been nixed. That leaves three pitches outside of showrunner Jane Goldman's greenlit pilot and the one worked on by Cogman and George R.R. Martin: those of Max Borenstein, Brian Helgeland, and Carly Wray. However, it sounds like one of those may no longer be in contention. While Bloys said that HBO is “possibly” thinking about more spinoff pilots from these projects, he only mentions "one or two more scripts" and explains a desire to see how the pilot fares before getting too serious about the others. “We’re gonna see what happens with this one,” he said.
It sounds like fans will have to wait until The Long Night project is either canned or ordered to series after its pilot is edited and shown to the bigwigs before knowing more about the future of Game of Thrones. And who knows when that will be. When asked about a timeline for the pilot's completion and when the decision would be made to greenlight more episodes, Bloys replied, “Nope, nope, nope. Nothing to share. That I’m not gonna tell ya.”
HBO's tight-lipped care of its cash cow makes sense after its fandom has turned somewhat against them, writing petitions to remake the final season and causing a ruckus at the show's final San Diego Comic-Con panel. Whether or not the prequel/prequels work is one thing — whether fans accept them is truly another.