Game of Thrones Spin-Off Bloodmoon Releases First Look That Was Scrapped by HBO Despite Massive $30M Budget

House of the Dragon was the first successor show to materialize from the massively successful Game of Thrones IP. However, HOTD was only one among the five concepts selected by HBO to be put into development and it wasn’t even the first show to be greenlit for a pilot. A pilot was developed for the script based on The Long Night storyline, titled Bloodmoon. However, HBO canceled the series after its $30 million pilot episode, which fans never saw until now.

Bloodmoon, the Game of Thrones spinoff, was based on The Long Night storylineBloodmoon, the Game of Thrones spinoff, was based on The Long Night storyline
Bloodmoon, the Game of Thrones spinoff, was based on The Long Night storyline

Even George R R Martin wasn’t reportedly allowed to see the pilot locked away somewhere deep in HBO’s vaults. However, thanks to actress Naomi Watts’ makeup artist, fans now got a glimpse of a few photos and videos from the set of Bloodmoon.

Leaked First Look Of Game Of Thrones Canceled Spinoff

Leaked photo of Naomi Watts from Game of Thrones canceled spinoff BloodmoonLeaked photo of Naomi Watts from Game of Thrones canceled spinoff Bloodmoon
Leaked photo of Naomi Watts from Game of Thrones canceled spinoff Bloodmoon (credits: @westerosies)

The pilot episode of Bloodmoon, the canceled Game of Thrones spinoff, reportedly featured an ensemble cast led by Naomi Watts. Others included Stranger Things fame Jamie Campbell Bower and Andor actress Denise Gough. Jane Goldman, known for her work on Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Golden Circle as a writer, was brought in as the showrunner.

In her now-deleted Instagram account, Flora Moody, who worked as the personal hair and makeup artist for Watts on the show, shared multiple posts, revealing various photos and videos from the set. Moody wrote in the captions (via Dexerto):

“Naomi Watts for the unaired ‘Bloodmoon’ that sadly didn’t make it to the screen. Disappointed that the opportunities to carry on the hair and makeup aesthetic for Naomi’s character were cut short! But a wonderful crew, wonderful cast and a great time had filming in Belfast 5 years ago.”

It remains unknown whether the deletion of Moody’s account is a direct consequence of leaking these photos and videos. HBO was highly secretive about the canceled spinoff show and even overshadowed the controversial cancelation announcement by revealing a series order for a Game of Thrones prequel. The leaked photos later appeared on several social media fan pages, including @westerosies.

The fate of the series came as a shock to the cast and crew of Bloodmoon. Goldman was confident about a series order after the pilot and she had assembled a writers’ room, who were in the middle of making changes to the pilot according to network notes. Goldman later moved on to other projects and never talked about Bloodmoon or HBO’s decision.

Why Was The Game Of Thrones Spinoff Canceled?

George R. R. Martin George R. R. Martin
George R. R. Martin shared that Bloodmoon was a difficult assignment

HBO’s Drama Chief Francesca Orsi told The Hollywood Reporter that Bloodmoon instantly captured the attention of the studio with its “unique world-building”. She revealed that the show felt “very adult, sophisticated, and intelligent”. However, there was a major problem with developing the series. George R. R. Martin didn’t have the entire material of the show written and only had published about eight lines of text about the time period of Bloodmoon. Martin told THR:

“Bloodmoon was a very difficult assignment. We’re dealing with a much more primitive people. There were no dragons yet. A lot of the pilot revolved around a wedding of a Southern house to a Northern house and it got into the whole history of the White Walkers.”

HBO’s chief content officer, Casey Bloys, revealed that the show needed a lot more invention, which made it a higher risk. He revealed that there was nothing glaringly wrong with the pilot, an opinion shared by the then chairman of WarnerMedia, Robert Greenblatt, who shared with THR:

“It wasn’t unwatchable or horrible or anything. It was very well produced and looked extraordinary. But it didn’t take me to the same place as the original series. It didn’t have that depth and richness that the original series’ pilot did.”

After Bloodmoon‘s cancelation, Martin brought in Ryan Condal to rewrite the Dance of the Dragon storyline with him. Condal later assumed the role of showrunner for the prequel show, House of the Dragon. Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon Season 1 are now available for streaming on Max.

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