Dragons have returned to HBO.
The series is set 200 years before the events in the original series, which became HBO’s biggest hit ever and the most Emmy-winning drama of all time.
The new series is from author George R.R. Martin (based on his book Fire & Blood) and co-creators and showrunners Ryan Condal (Colony) and Miguel Sapochnik (Finch).
Dragon stars Paddy Considine (Peaky Blinders) as King Viserys Targaryen, Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One) as Alicent Hightower, Emma D’Arcy (Wanderlust) as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as Prince Daemon Targaryen.
HBO is technically calling the new footage a teaser trailer even though the network previously released an official teaser trailer in October and this clip is more extensive.
The series, premiering Aug. 21, is a major initiative for HBO, which hopes to recapture some of the magic of Game of Thrones, which represented more than $1 billion in revenue during its run from 2011 to 2019. The company also has several other prequel projects set in the world of Westeros in various stages of development, and House of the Dragon performing well would be a good sign that GoT can be turned from a singular hit series into a franchise.
There are some headwinds, however, as the content marketplace has grown much more crowded in recent years, fantasy shows are far more plentiful (Netflix’s The Witcher, Amazon’s Wheel of Time) and the series will be going head-to-head with another major fantasy launch: Amazon’s big-budget The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which premieres just 12 days after Dragon. Still, the GoT brand is formidable, and given that HBO has already scrapped one pricey false start (a different Thrones prequel project starring Naomi Watts, which shot a pilot in 2019), the network has demonstrated a resolve to get its follow-up right.
The Hollywood Reporter previously asked Sapochnik about how the upcoming drama’s look, feel and tone will differ from the original series.
“I think we were very respectful of what the original show is,” Sapochnik said. “It wasn’t broken, so we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. House of the Dragon has its own tone that will evolve and emerge over the course of the show. But first, it’s very important to pay respects and homage to the original series, which was pretty groundbreaking. We’re standing on the shoulders of that show and we’re only here because of that show. So the most important thing for us to do is to respect that show as much as possible and try and complement it rather than reinvent it. And I was involved in making the original show, so I feel like that’s been useful. Like, I’m not arriving going, ‘Let’s change everything! Let’s do a different color palette!’ No, I quite like the color palette.
“That said, we can’t say, ‘Well, when we did Thrones, we did it this way …’” he added. “If you start every sentence with that, you’ve lost. This is something else, and should be something else. It’s a different crew, different people, different tone. Hopefully, it will be seen as something else. But it will have to earn that — it won’t happen overnight. Hopefully, fans will enjoy it for the thing that it is. We’ll be lucky if we ever come close to what the original show was, so we’re just putting our heads down and getting on with it and hoping what we come up with is worthy of having a Game of Thrones title.”