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HBO boss talks Game of Thrones prequel, potential Watchmen S2, and more His Dark Materials

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Jan 15, 2020, 6:47 PM EST (Updated)

It wouldn't really be the 2020 TCAs without HBO joining the party, would it? They came storming in with the force of three dragons, an armored bear, and Dr. Manhattan on Wednesday, and gave all kinds of updates on future projects. Some are definitely happening, and some are just theoretical at this point. 

Deadline reports that Casey Bloys, HBO's president of programming, said that House of the Dragon, the Targaryen-based Game of Thrones prequel, is on track to come out in 2022. According to Bloys, George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal "are starting writing," and that "obviously it’s a big, complicated show." The series will be based on the vast history of the incestuous Targaryen family that Thrones book writer Martin has already written. Condal and veteran GOT director Miguel Sapochnik are still set to be showrunners together.  

House of the Dragon will be the priority right now, as all of the other potential spinoffs of the insanely successful fantasy series are either on hold, or have been canceled completely. “For me for right now, I think getting House of the Dragon on the air will be the number one priority. There are no other blinking green lights or anything like that," said Bloys.

When asked about the canceled spinoff that was being written by Jane Goldman (and would have starred Naomi Watts), Bloys said, “In development, in pilots, sometimes things come together, some time[s] they don’t. One of the things I think Jane took on beautifully, which was a challenge, there was a lot more role creation because she set hers 8,000 years before [Thrones], so it required a lot more. That is a big swing. One of the things about House of Dragon, there is a text, there is a book so that made it a little bit more of a road map for a series order.”

Bloys went on to praise Goldman's work, but said that "overall it did not quite gel." 

Deadline also talked to Bloys about Watchmen, and whether or not a second season could be in the mix. According to him, it's all based on what series creator Damon Lindelof wants to do. 

“It is really up to Damon at this point, he is thinking about what he wants to do,” said Bloys. “Truly, I don’t know at this point whether it is a returning drama series or a limited series. I think one of the things Damon did so brilliantly was, he opened up this entire world. So maybe there is another version with a whole new set of characters. I don’t know because Damon doesn’t know, and I’m taking his lead on this.”

Bloys added that he's pretty much open to any possibility when it comes to Watchmen: “If it’s a season two — great, if it’s a new take on the world — great, if it’s something else complexly, I’m just going take his lead.”

For any other network, that would be more than enough... but this is HBO, after all. Bloys also discussed His Dark Materials, a show co-produced with the BBC. Bloys pointed out that the series did quite well, and that it is unique because it's a show where kids and parents can watch together. He calls it a "co-viewing" show, and said it is the most successful one that they've had. 

The tale of Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen) and company (based on the book trilogy by Philip Pullman) was originally given a 16-episode order that would comprise two seasons. The plan was to adapt one book per season, but series writer Jack Thorne has already included plenty of material from the second book into the show's first season. Season 2 is a go, and has had plenty of room to fly forward thanks to Season 1... but what about future seasons? The third book in Pullman's trilogy, The Amber Spyglass, is the biggest and most complicated of the lot by far. 

According to Bloys, “Season 2 is just coming in and I think once we get Season 2, we’ll talk about Season 3 and what it would look like. We obviously have to talk to the BBC." Deadline points out that there's been previous talk about doing the third book in two seasons (which there's more than enough material for), which would give this series four seasons in total.

All in all, things seem bright on the HBO front. They're going all in on deep-cut Targaryen history (dragons, blood, murder, incest... sounds about right), they are leaving the door open for more Watchmen if and when Damon Lindelof figures out a way to continue the incredible work already done, and we may end up with an appropriate amount of... dark materials. 

Our daemons are pleased. 


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