Game of Thrones creators admit pilot episode was 'complete s**t' and had to be 90 per cent reshot


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The Independent Culture

Game of Thrones might be one of the most popular TV shows ever but its creators have admitted that it started life as “complete s**t”.

Showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff were among a small group of people to watch the pilot episode of the HBO series and, much to their disappointment, it “sucked”.

John August and Craig Mazin, both highly reputed Hollywood screenwriters, invited Weiss and Benioff to discuss the shocker on their Scriptnotes podcast. Mazin, a personal friend of the pair, had seen the pilot, surprisingly directed by Spotlight’s Oscar-nominated Tom McCarthy who has already said that it put him off TV directing for life.

“Watching them watch that original pilot was one of the most painful experiences of my life,” Weiss said. “As soon as it finished, Craig said, ‘You guys have a massive problem’.”

Benioff admitted that the main issue was that none of those watching the episode realised that Jaime and Cersei Lannister were siblings, meaning they had “somehow failed to establish the major, major plot point” of erm, incest.

 “I was taking notes,” he said. “I had this yellow legal pad and I just remembered writing in all caps, ‘MASSIVE PROBLEM”, and it’s all I could think about the rest of the night. Craig didn’t really have any great ideas except that he said, ‘change everything’.”

Luckily, instead of binning Thrones, Weiss and Benioff got straight to work recasting major roles and reshooting 90 per cent of the pilot with a new director, Timothy Van Patten. Unfortunately, however, the video of the pilot has never been made public.

Mazin dared to take a look at the new version and branded it a “miracle” that left him “stunned”. “I very specifically remember walking out and I said, ‘That is the biggest rescue in Hollywood history’. It wasn’t just that they had saved something bad and turned it really good. You had saved a complete piece of s**t and turned it into something brilliant. That never happens!”

Emilia Clarke, who replaced Tamzin Merchant as Daenerys in Thrones, has already promised “epic” things from season six, which airs on 24 April.