“It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series,” the A Song of Ice and Fire scribe and GoT EP stated on his blog yesterday, the day after Deadline revealed that the big budget pilot penned by Jane Goldman and co-created by Martin was deemed unsalvageable by the premium cabler. “Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her,” Martin adds of the Kingsman franchise writer and producer.
Given the green light back in June of 2018, as David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were still bringing GoT to its epic but controversial conclusion, The Long Night Martin's working title had a very problematic production last spring and summer over in Northern Ireland, I hear. Conflicts over story, credits and interpersonal conduct plagued the Goldman-run effort to the point where HBO were considering killing it before deciding on hoping things could be save in post-production — as had been the case with the original GoT pilot, to great expense to the now AT&T-owned outlet.
Sadly, a successful Hail Mary was not in this particular playbook and Goldman started alerting cast members like Naomi Watts and Miranda Richardson and key crew earlier this week that the project was DOA at HBO.
In his blog, Martin kept his cards to his chest on what had truly gone down.
“I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had to do with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON,” the man sometimes called “the American Tolkien” declared. “This was never an either/or situation.”
“If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and CHICAGO shows... well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters for a dozen shows,” Martin somewhat scolded over the Watts-led pilot that details the dark end of the Golden Age of Heroes thousands of years before the dragons and wars of the eight seasons of GoT.
Then the small screen industry vet, who always has several projects on the go it seems, including more than a couple GoT “successor” shows, shifted into Zen mode — with a clear signal of not looking back.
“Heartbreaking as it is to work for years on a pilot, to pour your blood and sweat and tears into it, and have it come to nought, it's not at all uncommon,” the Nightflyers and Beauty and the Beast producer asserts. “I've been there myself, more than once. I know Jane and her team are feeling the disappointment just now, and they have all my sympathy... with my thanks for all their hard work, and my good wishes for whatever they do next.”
What we do know is next for Martin is that he is determined to finish the much delayed and multi-volumed The Winds of Winter, which will bring very different conclusions to some of the characters from GoT that the somewhat lambasted final season which I thought was great, BTW. To that end and against that deadline, the author promises he won't be penning any of the scripts for the first season of the Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik co-showrun series — at least that's what Martin says now
Announced by at the HBO Max investors day by HBO programming boss Casey Bloys just hours after news of The Long Night pilot's demise, the 10-episode House of the Dragon is scripted by long-time pal and Colony co-creator Condal and based on Martin's Fire & Blood book and his Rogues and Dangerous Women anthologies. Set 300 years before the intrigues of GoT, the new HBO series spotlights the reign of House Targaryen — who decedent Daenerys. was known in GoT circles as the “Mother of Dragons.” GoT vet and Emmy winner Sapochnik will direct the pilot and additional episodes.
“ HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has been in development for several years though the title has changed a couple of times during that process,” divulges Martin. “It was actually the first concept I pitched to HBO when we started talking about a successor show, way back in the summer of 2016.
While Martin says he's probably not writing any of House of the Dragon's first season, the author makes clear that Condal “has already done a considerable amount of writing on HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, but a lot of work remains ahead of us.” With his TV cap on, Martin outlines how “there's a writer's room to be assembled, episodes to be broken down and scripted, a cast and crew to be assembled, budgets and production details to be worked out.”
“I expect to be involved in all of this to some extent,” the multiple Hugo Award winner adds in a nod to his apparently more hands off approach to the Goldman pilot, “”and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of GAME OF THRONES.”
Already it sounds like The Winds of Winter may be a bit longer in coming after all. And if you completely doubt that, let me point out that at the end of his latest blog post, Martin self-described his current mood as “excited.”
The actress also played "Box of Lies" when she visited 'The Tonight Show' on Wednesday.
Emilia Clarke finally revealed who was responsible for the coffee cup mystery on Game of Thrones when she stopped by The Tonight Show on Wednesday.
Back in May, fans of the HBO show noticed that what looked like a Starbucks cup appeared in a scene that took place at Winterfell, the home of House Stark. In response to "inquiries from those who saw a craft services coffee cup in Sunday night's episode," the network said in a statement, "The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea."
The cup was later removed from all platform re-airs.
While many assumed that Clarke was responsible for the cup, she said that the cup belonged to co-star Conleth Hill.
"We had a party before the Emmys recently and Conleth, who plays Varys, who's sitting next to me in that scene, he pulls me aside and he's like, 'Emilia, I've got to tell you something. I've got to tell you something, love. The coffee cup is mine,'" she said. "It was his. It was Conleth's coffee cup. He said so."
"He's like, 'I think it was. I'm sorry, darling. I didn't want to say anything cause it seemed, you know, the heat was very much on you.' And I was like, 'What?'" she recalled. "He was like, 'I didn't have very much to do in that scene.'"
She added that she felt confident that Hall was responsible for the act. "I think that's who did it," she said. "He said it. He might have been drunk, but he said it."
Clarke also joined host Jimmy Fallon in a game of "Box of Lies."
Fallon explained that each player would choose a box and describe the object to their opponent. The other player must guess if they are lying or telling the truth.
The actress kicked off the game by opting to lie about the object in her box. While the box contained a corndog dressed as a vampire, she said that she was looking at "a very small frog wearing a monocle."
After Fallon questioned her description, he declared that she lied. She then showed Fallon the real object and admitted that she thought the corndog was a carrot. "I'm so English. I don't know what a corndog is," she joked.
For Fallon's first round, the host inaccurately described his object as figurines of Donald Trump and "the hero dog that caught the terrorist." He added, "And they're doing a Lady and the Tramp. They're about to kiss each other."
Clarke asked Fallon if the figurines were sitting down before she guessed that he was telling the truth. Fallon celebrated his victory by revealing that his real object was a model of a hockey-themed McDonald's meal. "I think that was the first time I ever won!" he said.
For the final round, Clarke chose to tell the truth and described the object as "a salad bowl of money." Once he clarified that she said "salad bowl" instead of "solid bowl," Fallon guessed that she was telling the truth.
Between David Benioff and D.B. Weiss losing Star Wars, and one prequel series the possibly-titled The Long Night getting axed only for another House of the Dragon to rise from its ashes, it’s been an eventful week for Game of Thrones news. So, naturally, George R.R. Martin took to his blog to comment on everything that’s happening.
The author wrote that he was “saddened to hear” that Jane Goldman’s prequel would not be going to series, but he sounded enthusiastic about House of the Dragon, “the first concept I pitched to HBO when we started talking about a successor show, way back in the summer of 2016.” The series will be led by director Miguel Sapochnik “one of the hottest directors in television today” and Ryan Condal “He’s a terrific writer… and a fan of my books since well before we met”, and Martin revealed he’ll be involved, too:
“As yet, we don’t even know where we will be shooting… though I expect we will revisit at least some of the countries David & Dan used for GAME OF THRONES Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Croatia, Morocco, Malta, and Spain. I expect to be involved in all of this to some extent… and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of GAME OF THRONES. But… let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered WINDS OF WINTER. Winter is still coming, and WINDS remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes of HOUSE.
I hope Martin means House, the Hugh Laurie show. He’s a busy man, writing books and watching the Jets equally painful. No one tell him House went off the air in 2012.
It’s been a whirlwind week for “Game of Thrones” fans. Just a couple of hours after HBO announced it would not be moving forward with a prequel television series starring Naomi Watts, the network shocked fans by saying it would be giving a Targaryen-centric prequel series entitled “House of the Dragon” a straight-to-series order. “Dragon” will be overseen by “Colony” showrunner Ryan Condal and Emmy-winning “Thrones” director Miguel Sapochnik, who in addition to serving as co-showrunner will also direct the pilot episode of the prequel series. “Thrones” author George R.R. Martin will be involved behind the scenes, but he is making a vow not to write any “House of the Dragon” episodes until he finishes the next “Thrones” book, “The Winds of Winter.”
“I expect to be involved in [‘House of the Dragon’] to some extent and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of ‘Game of Thrones,'” Martin wrote in a post on his blog. “But let me make this perfectly clear...I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered ‘Winds of Winter.’ Winter is still coming, and ‘Winds’ remains my priority, as much as I'd love to write an episode of ‘House.’”
Martin’s last “Game of Thrones” novel, “A Dance of Dragons,” was released in 2011. The author has famously expressed regrets over the flagship HBO series surpassing the novels before he could finish writing the final two installments, “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring.” In his blog post, Martin revealed “House of the Dragon” was the original idea he pitched to HBO for a “Thrones” spinoff series back in the summer of 2016. The author also weighed in on the prequel that got dropped, one that he was working on with showrunner Jane Goldman.
“It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series,” Martin wrote. “Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her. I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had to do with ‘House of the Dragon.’ This was never an either/or situation. If television has room enough for multiple ‘CSIs’ and ‘Chicago’ shows...well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters for a dozen shows.”
Martin continued, “Heartbreaking as it is to work for years on a pilot, to pour your blood and sweat and tears into it, and have it come to nought, it's not at all uncommon. I've been there myself, more than once. I know Jane and her team are feeling the disappointment just now, and they have all my sympathy...with my thanks for all their hard work, and my good wishes for whatever they do next.”
HBO confirmed the straight-to-series order for “House of the Dragon” on October 29. No casting or production details have been revealed.
Late Monday word spread that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, better known as the showrunners of HBO's Games of Thrones, had jumped ship from the Star Wars trilogy to which they had previously been attached. In their brief public statement, the pair cited their already busy schedule, including a $250 million deal with Netflix. On Wednesday The Hollywood Reporter released some deep-dive reporting into why they hightailed it. And while they found a number of possible reasons, one source said it was because they wanted to avoid the franchise's “toxic fandom.”
During their Game of Thrones tenure, Benioff and Weiss earned scores of accolades and applause, but they also weathered criticism and backlash, particularly during the show's divisive final stretch. They famously said that, when the final episode aired over the summer, they had planned to be “very drunk and very far from the internet.” They even cancelled a farewell panel at San Diego Comic Con due to final episode's reaction.
So you can imagine what the two must have felt like when they signed up for a franchise with fans who bully Asian-American cast members off of social media and say The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson ruined their childhood by turning Luke Skywalker into a bitter recluse. Another THR source commented on the idea of them jumping from one prickly fanbase to another: “Who wants to go through that again? Not them,” the source said of the two. “This was in the 'Life's Too Short' category.”
THR's story offers other possible explanations for their departure. One is that Benioff and Weiss' lucrative Netflix deal wasn't viewed upon well by Kathleen Kennedy, current Star Wars honcho:
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Benioff and Weiss' exit has been brewing since August. Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy is said to have been unhappy with the Netflix deal, inked just as they were scheduled to begin work on Star Wars. Benioff and Weiss had said multiple times that they would not turn their focus to Star Wars until production wrapped on the final season of Thrones, which ended in July 2018.
There was also reportedly anxiety over the two having too much on their plate — from Kennedy and team, and, again, from Benioff and Weiss themselves. Though Benioff has a long and varied CV, including having written the novel and the screenplay for Spike Lee's drama 25th Hour, as well as the epic Troy and the comic book film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Weiss pretty much only has Game of Thrones. And when they made HBO's fantasy powerhouse, they took a two-year hiatus before the abbreviated last season. All that reportedly raised concerns.
Kennedy was not convinced the pair — known for focusing on one project at a time — could develop a sci-fi trilogy while also overseeing film and TV projects at Netflix. Sources say that as the duo shopped for an overall deal over the summer, they told potential suitors that they planned to work on Star Wars concurrently with any projects under their new deal.
The report says Benioff and Weiss had been at work on a Star Wars treatment at the time of their departure, and that though they were commissioned to make three films — to be released in 2022, 2024, and 2026 — they were only committed to writing one.
Whatever the case, Benioff and Weiss' departure was seen by some as a blow to the Kennedy-shepherded Star Wars era, which has seen no less than four filmmakers be fired from various projects: Chronicle's Josh Trank from a stand-alone back in 2015; Lego Movie's Chris Miller and Phil Lord mid-production on Star Wars: A Solo Story; and Colin Trevorrow from what became The Rise of Skywalker.
Kennedy was reportedly worried that the perception would be that they're burning through filmmakers, though they still have Johnson — working on his own trilogy — and they still have Kevin Feige, the MCU master who's doing his own thing as well. Throw in the about-to-bow show The Mandalorian, and one might not have to worry about the idea that there will be Star Wars movies, or at least Star Wars content, until the end of recorded time.
Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy is on the hunt for new filmmakers as David Benioff and Dan Weiss leave a galaxy far, far away over their commitment to a lucrative $250 million Netflix deal.
Sometime this past summer, David Benioff and Dan Weiss took their families to Italy. It was partly a vacation, but the Game of Thrones showrunners were also visiting Star Wars creator George Lucas there, doing research for the trilogy of films they were set to oversee after wrapping HBO's Emmy-winning fantasy drama.
Now, a few months later, those plans are as much in ruins as King's Landing. Late Monday came the announcement that Benioff and Weiss were no longer attached to the trilogy they were hired to shepherd back in February 2018. The news, predictably, sparked a frenzy among Star Wars fans on social media.
Some speculated the exit had to do with a rare public appearance the duo made over the weekend at the Austin Film Festival, where they were candidaboutthe mistakes they made during their Game of Thronesreign, and how they had to learn on the job. Others were surprised that it was Benioff and Weiss' trilogy and not the other one in the works, from The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson who is also in fan crosshairs, that was being shelved.
Benioff and Weiss said Monday that they were caught in the push-and-pull that came with juggling one of the world's biggest movie franchises and the $250 million Netflix deal they signed in August. "There are only so many hours in the day, and we felt we could not do justice to both Star Wars and our Netflix projects. So we are regretfully stepping away [from Star Wars]," read their joint statement.
While there is some truth to their stated reason for parting ways with Lucasfilm, insiders say there is more nuance to the story.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporterthat Benioff and Weiss' exit has been brewing since August. Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy is said to have been unhappy with the Netflix deal, inked just as they were scheduled to begin work on Star Wars. Benioff and Weiss had said multiple times that they would not turn their focus to Star Warsuntil production wrapped on the final season of Thrones, which ended in July 2018. Kennedy was not convinced the pair— known for focusing on one project at a time — could develop a sci-fi trilogy while also overseeing film and TV projects at Netflix. Sources say that as the duo shopped for an overall deal over the summer, they told potential suitors that they planned to work on Star Warsconcurrently with any projects under their new deal.
Sources say Netflix learned of Benioff and Weiss' Star Warsdeparture mere days before news broke Monday.
Benioff and Weiss' departure also marks the latest in what has become a tenuous relationship between Netflix and Disney. Sources say Disney was among the early meetings the Thrones pair had for an overall deal, though the Mouse House did not make it to the final round. Amazon was a frontrunner before Netflix swooped in. Disney famously severed ties with the streamer years ago when it began pulling back its Marvel movies as it prepared its own Disney+ streaming service. Disney networks more recently began rejecting advertising from Netflix.
Representatives for Disney, Lucasfilm, Netflix, and Benioff and Weiss declined to comment for this story.
While Benioff and Weiss were in high demand after wrapping the megahit Thrones— controversial final season notwithstanding — nine-figure deals such as theirs have traditionally been reserved for prolific producers who can manage multiple projects at once. Netflix, for example, paid Ryan Murphy $300 million over five years, and he's working on 10 projects less than two years after signing the deal. Benioff and Weiss, for their part, have never tackled anything other than Game of Thronesand have effectively only made 73 episodes of television over the past decade. It's also worth noting there was a nearly two-year delay before the abbreviated final season aired, the longest stretch the show was ever off the air.
Many TV industry insiders at the time questioned why Netflix would spend $250 million to be in second position to Star Wars. But sources familiar with the deal say Netflix and Disney were in a shared first position, meaning the duo could work on both simultaneously. Before signing the deal, Netflix was briefed on the Star Wars plans and wasn't worried about having to wait for them to finish a potential trilogy — earmarked for 2022, 2024 and 2026. "It's not going to be 10 years [until] Netflix sees their first output," one source said, adding that Benioff and Weiss "have a lot of ambition."
At the time of the Netflix pact, Benioff and Weiss were working on a treatment for Disney and Lucasfilm. The pair was committed to penning at least one of the films though the original deal was to write all three.
"They're deep-dive guys," says one person in their orbit. Adding to the wrinkle was that, according to one source,the Netflix deal required them to be exclusively on the sets of the projects they created during production, and not be away for Star Wars at the same time.
Kennedy, according to a source familiar with her thinking, was nervous. The duo would become the fourth directors to exit a Star Warsproject since she took the helm of Lucasfilm. Josh Trank was fired from a Star Warsstand-alone movie in 2015; Chris Miller and Phil Lord was canned from Solo: A Star Wars Story mid-production in June 2017 and, that same year, Colin Trevorrow departed Episode IX,replaced by J.J. Abrams. Production under Kennedy has also run into trouble, with Tony Gilroy brought in to reshoot and rewrite much of Gareth Edwards' 2016 stand-alone Rogue One, and Ron Howard stepping in after Lord and Miller's departure from Soloto finish the project.
When THRexclusively reportedlast month that Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige, the architect of Disney's multibillion-dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe, will be working with Kennedy on a Star Warsmovie, some speculated that the move was an acknowledgement that not all is well in the Star Wars universe. For their part, Disney co-chairmen Alan Horn and Alan Bergman continue to stand by Kennedy. "With the close of the Skywalker Saga, Kathy is pursuing a new era in Star Warsstorytelling, and knowing what a die-hard fan Kevin is, it made sense for these two extraordinary producers to work on a Star Warsfilm together," the studio chiefs said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Benioff and Weiss were also feeling the heat and began having second thoughts about jumping into Star Warsdue to what one source described as "toxic fandom."
The creators had built Thronesfrom the ground up — based on author George R.R. Martin's sprawling novels — and were initially lauded by both critics and fans, who made the show HBO's most watched original series ever. But the divisive six-episode final season that aired in the spring was met with such backlash that the duo backed out of a farewell panel at San Diego Comic-Con in the summer.
To go from Thronesto Star Wars, where fans have bullied actors off social media and taken aim at filmmakers like Johnson? "Who wants to go through that again? Not them," notes another source with knowledge of Benioff and Weiss' thinking. "This was in the 'Life's Too Short' category."
Whether forces internal or external were in play, Benioff and Weiss wanted out. "It was a hard quit,” says an insider.
It was a different scene when Kennedy brought Benioff and Weiss into the Star Warsgalaxy, three months before the underwhelming performance of Soloin May 2018 led Disney and Lucasfilm to re-evaluate its strategy and abandon its stand-alone film ambitions, meaning a number of projects in the pipeline had to be revamped or killed. Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker, with its December release, closes the 40-year saga that began with Lucas' Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977 .
Earlier this year, Kennedy met with Benioff, Weiss and The Last Jedidirector Johnson — whose own trilogy will explore new realms in the Star Wars universe — to plot the next decade of films. With half those plans now blown up like the Death Star, sources say the Lucasfilm head is actively looking to enlist new filmmakers.
Although Disney and fans might hope for Feige's touch to come to Star Wars sooner rather than later, it's unlikely the Marvel executive's feature will be moved into that December 2022 slot that was once carved out for Benioff and Weiss. Feige, who was recently promoted to expand his oversight to include television as well as film and other creative parts of the comic book powerhouse, will next launch a massive slate of MCU TV spinoffs for Disney+, which launches Nov. 12.
The question many are asking is if Lucasfilm will look beyond white male talent for its film future. Disney+ series The Mandalorian, created by Jon Favreau, boasts a more inclusive roster of behind-the-screen talent than the franchise's big-screen installments have so far, and Kennedy has said she's dedicated to being inclusive behind the camera as well as in front.
One underlying problem Benioff and Weiss' exit illustrates, one source notes, is that there is still no consensus as to what Star Warsis and what Star Warsshould be. Disney CEO Bob Iger said there would be a "slowdown" of Star Warson the big screen, and Lucasfilm shelved a planned Obi-Wan Kenobi movie in favor of making it a Disney+ streaming series, while a planned Boba Fett movie from filmmaker James Mangold was also put on ice. For now, the immediate future of Star Warswill be on the small screen, with Disney+ launching The Mandalorianas its flagship show. In addition to an Obi-Wan series, a Diego Luna-led Rogue Oneprequel is also in the works.
Unlike Marvel, which has had a clear vision of its cinematic universe, Star Warshas had trouble finding its footing. Johnson took big swings with the mythos in The Last Jedi, and while the film was welcomed by critics and some fans, he was batted down by a vocal portion of the Star Warscommunity.
“This stuff needs to be sorted before it gets to a cataclysmic point,” says the source.