HBO's Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon has become the latest major production to be shut down due to Covid19 in the last week. On the day that many had declared "Freedom Day", when masks and social distancing would be pulled back in the UK and other countries, the UK shoot on the epic Thrones prequel had to be halted for two days after a positive Covid test in zone A, including cast and crew.
It is believed that a production member tested positive and to comply with guidance this had meant the filming of the Targaryen story will not be able to continue until Wednesday, while the individual and all close contacts are required to now isolate. It is not only the House of the Dragon series that has been thrown into turmoil either as more and more disruption is caused by the spreading and increasing Covid numbers, particularly in the UK which is housing many of the current big productions that are underway.
Last week saw the second season of Netflix's period drama Bridgerton shut down twice within days followed positive tests by two separate people days apart, and another Netflix production, Matilda, was also halted after a test. Today brought another industry blow as Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber was forced to announce the postponement of his new musical, Cinderella, which was due to open in Londong, after someone brought in to perform a short cameo in the stage production tested positive on Saturday. With filming on the likes of Indiana Jones 5 going on in Scotland at the moment, Dungeons and Dragons moving around the country and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ant Man and The Wasp both filming at times at The Volume in Pinewood Studios, it is a tense time for many filmmakers right now.
The British government have been adamant about pushing forward with removing the legal requirement of mask-wearing and social distancing from today, although at the same time, the Prime Minister has been encouraging businesses to continue to enforce these rules and keep their workforces safe, while he himself has been forced to make his "Freedom Day" speech from isolation. With so much uncertainty, we are likely to see much more disruption to shooting schedules before this gets any better.
The House of the Dragon is the first prequel to be green-lit in the Game of Thrones franchise, and started filming in April with a targeted premier of 2022. How many delays like the current one the production has to endure and how this affects the readiness of the show to air on time is something that will just have to wait to be seen.
Based on George R R Martin's novel Fire & Blood, the series takes place three centuries before Game of Thrones and details the Targaryen dynasty many years before Daenerys Targaryen brought it to its devastating end. The 10 part series stars Paddy Considine, Olivia Cooke, Matt Smith, Emma D'Arcy and Fabien Frankel, while Martin, Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik share a number of crew credits including writing, producing and directing. This news originated at Deadline.