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HBO Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon gets green light

One prequel, focused on the heyday of the dragon-riding Targaryens, will go straight to series. Another, set in the earliest years of White Walkers, appears dead.

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HBO

Game of Thrones' fantasy world is one step closer to returning to TV, as HBO gave the green light to House of the Dragon, a prequel digging into the family history of dragon-riding queen Daenerys from the original hit series. The details were revealed Tuesday at an investor event thrown by AT&T and its unit WarnerMedia, parent of HBO, dedicated to unveiling HBO Max, the company's planned streaming service to launch next year. 

Even a news announcement about Game of Thrones couldn't get by without a surprise twist. Reports earlier Tuesday said HBO was pulling the plug on another Game of Thrones prequel that was even further along in development. That series had already shot a pilot episode starring Naomi Watts. It was to be set in the early years of the First Men, White Walkers and Children of the Forrest, thousands of years before the saga of Daenerys and Jon Snow. 

House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin's book Fire and Blood, and is set 300 years before Game of Thrones. It's co-created by Martin and Ryan Condal, known for Colony on USA Network. It is being produced and directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who won an Emmy for his directing on Game of Thrones. He's known for some of Game of Thrones iconic, battle-heavy episodes, like Battle of the Bastards and The Long Night

The expanding Game of Thrones universe is expected to play a crucial role in HBO MaxAT&T's combatant in the so-called streaming wars. AT&T is pouring billions into its streaming venture, aimed at taking on Netflix, the dominant force in streaming with more than 150 million subscribers worldwide, as well as a crop of new streaming services launching in the next six months. 

Apple TV Plus goes live with nine titles Friday, followed quickly by Disney's high-profile offering, Disney Plus, on Nov. 12. NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service, is expected to go head-to-head with HBO Max early next year.