Compared to 2019, which saw the final season of Game of Thrones and the incredible success of Watchmen, 2020’s looking comparatively thin for HBO—although there’s still a lot of intriguing new and returning premieres on the horizon. Regardless, there are lots of questions about whether Watchmen will return for a second season—and plenty of people want to know when the first, long-gestating Game of Thrones spinoff will premiere (and they also want to know what happened to the original pilot that HBO declined to pick up).
HBO’s president of programing, Casey Bloys, has answers—for the Game of Thrones questions, at least. Watchmen’s future is still up in the air, but uh...it probably isn't gonna happen, and certainly not anytime soon.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter at the Television Critics Association upfronts on Wednesday, Bloys explained that Watchmen’s future was up to showrunner Damon Lindelof.
Lindelof, who also created Lost and The Leftovers, created a fairly successful nine-episode “sequel” series to Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel. The show was controversial, especially since Moore vehemently didn’t want a sequel, and even most fans were skeptical it could be done. Lindelof’s series, which starred Regina King, Jeremy Irons, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, was a shocking masterpiece. But the story those nine episodes told is essentially finished, and Lindelof has indicated that he doesn’t know if he has another Watchmen story in him. Bloys told THR that was...fine.
"The one thing Damon has been clear about is he doesn't see a continuation of this story," Bloys said. "He has to think about it more, and we have to think about, as it relates to Emmys, what the right category is so that we're not misrepresenting where we want it to be or where it should be. A lot of that will depend on Damon's plans for the future and what he's thinking about."
In other interviews, Lindelof has said that even if he’s done with Watchmen, he’s intrigued by what ideas other creators might have for the deconstructivist superhero world Moore originally created, but Bloys seemed to suggest Lindelof’s presence would be a key part of any future Watchmen seasons.
“I think Damon did a brilliant job. It is so much from his brain—obviously, I know there was the underlying IP—but the reinvention and the world is so much from his brain that it's hard to imagine somebody else doing it," Bloys said. "Not to say it can't be done, but right now I'm just giving Damon the time he needs to think about what he wants to do, creatively, next."
So, at this juncture, it does not appear there will be a second season of Watchmen, which is kind of a remarkable bit of restraint, given how successful its first season was. There will, however, be more Game of Thrones coming, as HBO revealed that the spinoff House of the Dragon, which focuses on the Targaryen Kings prior to Robert’s Rebellion and the events of GoT, is expected to air in 2022.
House of the Dragon is based on the history-text-esque books that George R.R. Martin is writing while everyone waits for him to finish The Winds of Winter, and it came as a bit of a shocker when HBO announced they’d ordered it to series. For a long time, it seemed as though the network was interested in a prequel series about the events of the Long Night, and potential showrunner Jane Goldman had shot a full pilot starring Naomi Watts. HBO passed on the pilot, though, and ordered House of the Dragon to go straight to series literally hours later.
Bloys explained that the main reason HBO went with House of the Dragon over Goldman’s pilot was because the latter was based on Martin’s books and was more recent Westerosi history than the events of the Long Night. In other words, there was “a bit more of a roadmap.”
"One of the things that I think Jane did beautifully—and it was a big challenge that she took on—which was there was a lot of world invention because she set her pilot 8,000 years before the current show," Bloys said. "It required a lot of thinking about what would it look like back then—how would people talk and relate to each other and what was the mythology underneath? It was a really big swing."
“I would not point to one thing and say, 'This or that totally missed'; sometimes pilots gel and sometimes they don't and that's just the process,” he continued. “So when we looked at House of the Dragon, one of the advantages it had was it had text from George R.R. Martin and had the Targaryen history. There was a bit more of a roadmap. It was an easier decision to say, 'Alright, let's go straight to series.' It wasn't like there was anything glaringly wrong about the pilot, it's just sometimes these things click and sometimes they don't."
House of the Dragon will premiere sometime in 2022. Watchmen Season Two probably won’t ever happen. Still TBD on The Winds of Winter, for what it’s worth.
Originally Appeared on GQ