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HBO confirms Game of Thrones prequel with Naomi Watts is canceled

But fans are still getting House of the Dragon, based on the Targaryen family.

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Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
2 min read
got-the-children-of-the-forest

The Game of Thrones prequel reportedly would've included the Children of the Forest, who created the White Walkers.

Video screenshot by Jován Pulgarín/CNET

There's now confirmation on earlier rumored news from the Game of Thrones universe. HBO won't be making the Game of Thrones prequel starring Naomi Watts, Miranda Richardson and Josh Whitehouse after all, the network said on Friday.

"After careful consideration, we have decided not to move forward to series with the Untitled Game of Thrones prequel," the network said in a statement. "We thank (showrunner and screenwriter) Jane Goldman, (director) S.J. Clarkson, and the talented cast and crew for all of their hard work and dedication."

The news was reported Tuesday by a variety of media outlets, but at the time, HBO said it could not confirm it. But there was some good news for Thrones fans: This week also brought confirmation that another HBO show set in the Game of Thrones universe, House of the Dragon, will be happening. That show will focus on the history of the Targaryens as laid out on author George R.R. Martin's recent book, Fire & Blood Volume 1.

The canceled show, which never had an official title but was called The Long Night by Martin, was set hundreds of years before either Game of Thrones or House of the Dragon, and was said to focus on the first battle between man and the first White Walkers. HBO had promised a surprising series, writing, "Only one thing is for sure: From the horrifying secrets of Westeros' history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend -- it's not the story we think we know."

The now-canceled project was being run by Jane Goldman, who co-wrote the Kingsman movies.  Entertainment Weekly reported that a full pilot episode had been shot in Northern Ireland earlier in 2019.

In a post written Wednesday on his website, author Martin wrote, "It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series. 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."

It's been a hot news for Game of Thrones headlines. On Monday, news broke that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, showrunners of the original Game of Thrones, had bowed out of their announced Star Wars trilogy project.

Originally published Oct. 29.
Update, Nov. 1: Adds HBO's confirmation and comments from George R.R. Martin.

Game of Thrones stars, from season 1 through today

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Originally published Oct. 29, 12:19 p.m. PT.