Why HBO Greenlit 'House Of The Dragon' But Passed On The Other 'Game Of Thrones' Prequel; 'Watchmen' Season 2 Probably Won't Happen Without Damon Lindelof

It'll be at least another year before we return to Westeros.

During today's Television Critics Association winter press tour, HBO's head of programming, Casey Bloys, said that House of the Dragon, the network's first big Game of Thrones prequel series, is expected to debut sometime in 2022. Bloys explained why he gave a series order to that show but passed on Jane Goldman's series last year, and he also provided a Watchmen season 2 update. Read his comments below.

House of the Dragon vs. Jane Goldman's Pilot

Last October, HBO surprised us when the network announced it was handing out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for House of the Dragon, a Game of Thrones prequel series which follows the members of House Targaryen 300 years before the events of the main show. The show is based on author George R.R. Martin's Fire and Blood, and Martin co-created this show alongside Ryan Condal (Colony) and frequent GOT director Miguel Sapochnik.

The surprising part was that this show was given such a robust order when a separate pilot, which had been in development for years from writer Jane Goldman, was passed over. Here's what Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter about the factors that went into that decision:

"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. 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. 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."

Watchmen Season 2 Update

As for Watchmen, showrunner has been Damon Lindelof has been very clear about his reluctance to return for a second season of the show, because he felt like he put everything he had into the first season and gave it an arc that feels complete. He hasn't completely shot down the notion of returning, but instead made it seem like if he were to come back, he would have to be struck by some inspiration that results in a story worth telling.

According to Bloys, it appears that HBO is willing to wait for that to happen instead of moving forward with someone else at the helm.

"Where we left it with Damon was he's thinking about what he wants to do and I'm taking his lead on that. If he has an idea that he's excited about, then I'm excited; if he wants to do something else, then that's what I want to do...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. 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."

There's no word yet on whether Watchmen will be submitted for Emmys in the Best Drama or Best Limited Series categories – something that could perhaps provide a clue as to how the network is viewing the prospects for a second season.

Either way, these are two of the most anticipated shows of the next few years, so we'll bring you more concrete information on both of them as soon as it becomes available.