90 Per Cent Of Game Of Thrones' Terrible First Pilot Was Scrapped

The creative team behind HBO’s wildly successful Game of Thrones can seemingly do no wrong. Sure, it’s going to be touch-and-go with the next season as the story — for the most part — has outpaced the books, but no one feels the show is not in the right hands. Unless you saw the original pilot of course, which apparently was a disaster.

In the latest ScriptNotes podcast, host John August chatted with screenwriter Craig Mazin and the stewards of HBO’s Game of Thrones David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (transcript can be read here).

During the discussion, the topic of GoT’s original pilot came up and according to all three, it was basically a disaster:

[David Benioff] … watching [Mazin] watch that original pilot was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I mean, it’s probably like appendicitis and that. And Craig, as soon as it finished, Craig said –
Craig: You guys have a massive problem.
D.B.: I had this, because I was taking notes. We were taking notes, I had this yellow like legal pad and I remember just writing in all caps, MASSIVE PROBLEM, underlining. And all I saw from then on that night was just massive problem.

Turns out that 90 per cent of that pilot was reshot (to be super-accurate, it was 92 per cent, Benioff says) — more than enough that “a different director got credit”.

The harsh decision paid off, however, with Mazin recalling his viewing of the remade episode:

… I am stunned. Stunned. And I very specifically remember walking out in between and [Weiss was] there, and I said to [him], “That is the biggest rescue in Hollywood history,” because it wasn’t just that you had saved something bad and turned it really good. You had saved a complete piece of shit, and turned it into something brilliant. That never happens. Here’s the crazy part. You guys, it’s honestly true, you guys are like a die that has all 20s on it, and then there was one 1, and you happen to roll the 1 when you made that pilot. That was it, it was a fluke.

I guess the pair have been rolling 20s every since.

[John August, via BGR]

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