Game of Thrones creators reveal why they aren't connected to House of the Dragon

David Benioff and Dan Weiss have finally broken their silence about why they didn't work on HBO's Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon.

"Game Of Thrones" Season 8 Premiere
"Game Of Thrones" Season 8 Premiere / Taylor Hill/GettyImages

The Hollywood Reporter has just published a lengthy interview with Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss all about their new Netflix series 3 Body Problem. Due out on March 21, 3 Body Problem is an adaptation of the seminal Chinese sci-fi series Remberance of Earth's Past by Liu Cixin. It's about humanity's eventual meeting with an alien civilization that has designs on the Earth. At face value that may not seem especially similar to Thrones, but it's certainly just as sweeping and ambitious.

There's a lot of great stuff in THR's piece, but one thing that particularly caught my attention was when Benioff and Weiss revealed why they weren't attached to House of the Dragon, HBO's Game of Thrones prequel series. It's well known at this point how fans pilloried Benioff and Weiss online following the backlash to Game of Thrones season 8, with one of the most common accusations being that they rushed the ending of the series so that they could cash in on their notoriety and make more money from working for other studios such as Lucasfilm, where they were once in talks to create Star Wars movies.

As the creators of Game of Thrones, Benioff and Weiss' contract would have given them lifetime payouts for any future spinoffs, along with a guaranteed credit for having made the original series. This sounds like a fairly common practice in television...but to the surprise of HBO, Weiss and Benioff turned it down. With that knowledge, the idea that they rushed season 8 to fatten their wallets holds even less water than it did before.

“HBO was kind of confused,” Benioff said. “I remember their lawyer saying, ‘But it’s just money, we’re just going to pay you.’ ” 

“I don’t think there is such a thing as free money," Weiss added. "For us, if our name is on it, especially that, while being completely detached and uninvolved, it felt like the strain that would come with that hands-off approach — with its success or failure or anything in between — was not worth it.” 

David Benioff, D. B. Weiss
PEOPLE's Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Gala / Kevin Mazur/GettyImages

Game of Thrones creators staying attached to House of the Dragon "was not worth it"

Given how much scrutiny there is even around 3 Body Problem because of Weiss and Benioff's involvement, it's easy to see the logic. Truly separating themselves from House of the Dragon meant giving it a chance to stand on its own two feet without fans' biases about Benioff and Weiss coloring things. I do wonder if we might see their name crop up attached to any future spinoffs though, since HBO has a few in the wings.

THR's article details how Benioff and Weiss navigated the years following Thrones, from their canceled Star Wars movie to their canceled HBO project Confederate, which reimagined history to show what would have happened if the South had successfully seceded during the Civil War, culminating in a second Civil War down the line. ("It’s kind of a low point,” Weiss said. “You try things that feel like they are worth doing and some of them work out, and some don’t.”)

Throughout this time, the duo entertained many pitches to run other fantasy properties from studios. Ultimately, they decided that they wanted to try something really different. “It was really important to move on and put Westeros behind us,” Benioff said.

Benioff and Weiss take that philosophy home with them. Neither of them have seen House of the Dragon. According to THR, Benioff hasn't watched an episode of Game of Thrones series since the series finale aired; Weiss, meanwhile, recently rewatched it with his family, but "resists efforts to get him to reflect on the result."

Eventually, the pair met with Netflix's head of scripted series Peter Friedlander, who had been trying to get an adaptation of The Three-Body Problem made for years. Friedlander managed to convince Weiss and Benioff to read Liu Cixin's books, and at long last, the Thrones creators realized they had another project which sparked their excitement. They recalled reading the books on a return flight from Tokyo during a promotional tour for Game of Thrones season 8: “We finished within 10 minutes of each other and Dan came over to my seat and said, ‘What do you think?’ ” Benioff remembered. “I said, ‘Well, that ending is amazing.’ And Dan says, ‘We’ve got to do this, right?’ ”

“What excited us about Thrones when we read George’s books was that this was something we had never seen onscreen before," Weiss added. "In a lot of ways, this couldn’t be more different from Game of Thrones, but it had that in common.”

“It was the first thing we’d come across since Thrones where we were actually scared. We knew this is going to be hard," said Benioff.

We'll see how this new creative adventure pans out for Benioff and Weiss before long. 3 Body Problem premieres March 21 on Netflix.

Next. GRRM. Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin on the issue of rising production costs. dark

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