After unveiling a first look poster at the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon, HBO has confirmed the freshman season will consist of ten episodes. Merely moments after it had been revealed another planned prequel series for the show had been axed by the network, this new companion series was announced, though there wasn't a lot of information to go on initially. Because seasons 7 and 8 of the original series had shortened episode counts, it also wasn't clear how many episodes would be produced for the freshman series of the spin-off. This is good news as we now definitely know House of the Dragon will debut with a full season.
Additionally, HBO divulged some other details about House of the Dragon as well. Based on George R. R. Martin's companion book Fire & Blood, the show will be set 300 years before the start of Game of Thrones, following the beginning of the end of the Targaryen kings' rule in Westeros. Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal are also on board as showrunners and will be executive producing with Martin and Vince Gerardis. "The Game of Thrones universe is so rich with stories," says HBO president of programming Casey Bloys. Sapochnik will also be directing the pilot with Condal writing the series. "We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros along with Miguel, Ryan and George."
The future of the Game of Thrones franchise seemed to be in jeopardy shortly before the announcement of House of the Dragon. Another planned prequel series dubbed The Long Night was also in the works with Naomi Watts in a starring role. A pilot for the spin-off had been filmed, but after seeing the footage, HBO opted not to move forward with the series, with its cancellation dominating headlines soon after. Other planned spin-offs had been reported to be in the works as well, but given what happened with The Long Night cancellation, some fans were starting to wonder if the Game of Thrones franchise had run its course. Just a matter of hours later, this new Game of Thrones prequel series was officially ordered, so perhaps the network simply saw more potential in this one.
For better or for worse, former Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss will not be involved with House of the Dragon. The writing duo had moved on to develop a Star Wars movie trilogy, which has since fallen through in the wake of their new high-dollar deal with Netflix. As fans of the franchise will know, Benioff and Weiss had generated tons of controversy by the way they chose to end GoT, with a petition to remake the final season from scratch going viral online. However, it's also definitely worth noting the series won't be featuring the characters we know and love from the original series, and capturing lightning in a bottle with an all-new cast is certainly going to be a challenge, no matter who's pulling the strings behind the scenes.
No word yet on when we can expect to see House of the Dragon premiere on HBO. In the meantime, the company continues to fill out its upcoming streaming service HBO Max with plenty of other exclusive content to keep subscribers content in the meantime. This news comes to us from CNBC.