How ‘Game of Thrones’ nearly ended before it began thanks to a disastrous pilot – INSIDER

Game of Thrones
In 2006, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss set out to convince HBO to greenlight a pilot for a stunning fantasy series by Georgre R.R. Martin called "A Game of Thrones." With the tagline "It's 'The Sopranos' of Middle Earth" and the promise that it was a "television phenomenon waiting to happen, " HBO's co-presidents Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo signed off on the series. What happened next is the stuff of HBO legend — the first pilot was a complete failure. This is the story of how Benioff and Weiss were forced to turn it around and rescue the show that had already cost HBO $10 million. What follows is an excerpted chapter from Insider correspondent Kim Renfro's new book,  "The Unofficial Guide to 'Game of Thrones.'" 'You guys have a massive problem' — the failed first pilot and why it was a disaster One of the illustrations by Devin Elle Kurtz found in "The Unofficial Guide to Game of Thrones." Kim Renfro/Atria/Simon and Schuster With HBO's co-presidents Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo's blessing, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss headed to Northern Ireland to set up shop and spend several months filming the first-ever "Game of ....

Dozens of costumes were made, sets were built, castles and moors and other natural landscapes were overrun with filming crews. Wolves were brought to the set, White Walker prosthetics were designed, and the Iron Throne was built. By early 2010, after three years of perfecting their script and seven months of filming overseas, the neophyte showrunners had the first cut ready to go. In a Santa Monica studio, the two showrunners sat down with Scott Frank, Ted Griffin, and Craig Mazin — all fellow script writers and good friends whom Benioff and Weiss trusted to give an honest review of their "Game of Thrones" pilot. As the episode came to a close and Jaime Lannister shoved Bran Stark out of a tower window, it was immediately clear that something somewhere had gone horribly wrong. Craig Mazin looked at the two inexperienced showrunners and spoke truthfully: "You guys have a massive problem." This grave pronouncement was noted (literally, in Sharpie and in all caps, on a pad of paper) by Benioff and Weiss, who realized they might have just blown it. "Watching them watch that original pilot was one of the most painful experiences of my life, " Benioff said during ....

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