There will be no dragons before it’s time. With production on Season 2 of the “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon” just getting underway, HBO and HBO Max content CEO Casey Bloys confirms that sometime in 2024 “is a good guess” for the hit series’ return — although he’s mum on the exact time of year.
But, here’s a hint: Bloys also says it’s “a good guess” that the show won’t be eligible for the 2024 Emmy season (which ends its eligibility period on May 31, 2024) — so expect a likely return in summer 2024.
Is Bloys focused on one “Thrones” series at a time?
“My philosophy is a good script is number one priority,” he says. “I am not doing it based on wanting to have one a year, two a year. I want to do it based on the scripts that we’re excited about.”
But would the eventual plan be to have a steady stream of “Thrones” series to avoid these gaps?
“Remember to get ‘House of the Dragon’ following up from ‘Game of Thrones,’ we developed a lot of shows, shot a pilot, developed a bunch of scripts and we got ‘House of the Dragon,'” Bloys notes. “To do that again is going to take the same amount of effort. You have to develop a lot of things, try things. You never know what’s going to work. So we’re currently doing that. I’m not opposed to any number of shows. There’s probably a natural limit to how many fans want, but I’m open to any as long as we feel really good about the scripts and the prospects for a series.”
“It takes a while to get one that hits the mark,” he adds. “I know George [R.R. Martin] feels the same way. You want to do one that everybody’s really proud of and excited about.” Among potential spin-offs is one featuring Kit Harrington reprising his role as Jon Snow; Bloys says there’s nothing to report on that one, but it’s still in development.
“Game of Thrones” is obviously a franchise that has legs at HBO, but Bloys is cautious in going down that road too often — even as some of his competitors double- and triple-down on popular series. While “Mare of Easttown” was a breakout limited series success for the pay cabler in 2021, creator Brad Ingelsby — who has an exclusive overall deal at the network — is busy creating a new crime-centric show for HBO rather than a “Mare” sequel.
That means, should this upcoming season of “Succession” be its last, Bloys is not entertaining a spinoff.
“I don’t think so,” he says. “I always say ‘never say never.’ When we started talking about doing a ‘Thrones’ prequel that was something that HBO had historically never done. I had some people internally saying, ‘This is crazy. What are you doing?’ That said, I think that there’s something about the universe that George created that lent itself to [spin-offs]. There’s a huge history, a lot of different families, a lot of different wars and battles. It doesn’t seem to me that there’s something in ‘Succession’ where you would go, ‘Let’s follow just this kid’ or whatever. It doesn’t seem like a natural thing to me. But if [creator Jesse Armstrong] said I want to do this, then I would follow Jesse’s lead.”
Bloys offers the same answer when asked whether there would ever be another installment of the Emmy-winning “Watchmen.” He has no interest in bringing it back with anyone other than executive producer Damon Lindelof.
“‘Watchmen’ was so much his creation,” Bloys says. “If he doesn’t think there’s a story that he wants to put his heart and soul into, it’s hard for me to think that it would be worth doing. It was a very special limited series for us. I would put it in the pantheon of HBO greats. If Damon ever wants to revisit it, he knows that it’s an open door. But it is hard for me to imagine doing one without him.”
Also not in the cards are the rumored “Six Feet Under” revival, which Bloys said was never really in the works. A return to “True Blood” was considered, with HBO developing a few scripts, “but nothing that felt like it got there.”
Something still in development is director Bong Joon-ho’s TV adaptation of his Oscar-winning film “Parasite” — although there’s nothing new to report.
Projects under way include “The Palace,” starring Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Andrea Riseborough — yes, the Oscar nominee who was suddenly on everyone’s radar this winter. “I will tell you, I saw the first day of dailies with Kate and she just inhabits her character and is so good. So I’m excited about that,” Bloys says.
Meanwhile, one space Bloys is keeping an eye on is comedy, where he believes the industry will have to make a course correction. Half-hours have become too expensive, he says.
“Everybody knows that there’s been such an arms race in content in general. There’s been so much competition for actors, writers, directors, stage space and materials,” he says. “Everything has gotten so expensive. With a drama, even at that higher expense, they tend to move the needle a little bit more.”
Sometimes that’s because they perform better internationally, he notes, which is why comedies usually had smaller budgets than dramas. “Comedy budgets got a little bit out of whack compared to how they perform. You’re going to see some contraction there. Yu’re going to see, maybe, reining in some costs in comedy across the board as an industry.”