House of the Dragon

Source: Ollie Upton / HBO

‘House Of The Dragon’

HBO’s House Of The Dragon, the prequel to fantasy series Game Of Thrones, is to be the first production to use a new virtual production stage at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in the UK.

The studio confirmed the move when announcing the opening of three new sound stages, providing 83,000 square feet of additional production space at the UK facility.

In addition to the extensive exterior backlot at Leavesden, the aim is that the new virtual production stage will enable the HBO series to expand on its existing variety of international landscapes.

Titled the V Stage, it will offer 24,000 square feet of total space and will feature a 7,100 square foot wraparound virtual production environment, using a matrix of more than 2,600 LED panels. Bespoke to this design is a dynamic ceiling offering an additional 5,544ft2 of LED panels with eight sections that work independently of one another, lifting and tilting. It will be ready for productions from August.

“With the show’s incredible imaginary worlds… House Of The Dragon is the perfect production to maximize the unparalleled opportunities this space offers,” said Emily Stillman, senior vice president of studio operations at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden.

Janet Graham Borba, HBO’s executive vice president of west coast production, described Leavesden as the “home hub” for the Game Of Thrones prequel and added: “A production with the ambition and scale of House Of The Dragon really requires a studio that can provide cutting-edge facilities.”

Game Of Thrones, based on the fantasy novels of George R.R. Martin, ran for eight seasons from 2011 to 2019 and shot on locations throughout Europe. The production was based at studios in Belfast in Northern Ireland, contributing to significant growth in the region’s creative industries, and was partially funded by Northern Ireland Screen.

When contacted by Screen, Northern Ireland Screen could not confirm whether any filming on House Of The Dragon will take place in the region.

HBO’s first attempt at a spin-off series, titled Bloodmoon and scripted by Jane Goldman, went into production as a pilot in Belfast in 2019 but did not advance any further.

House Of The Dragon is a prequel that takes place 300 years before the events depicted in Game Of Thrones, led by showrunner and executive producer Ryan J. Condal and director, executive producer and showrunner Miguel Sapochnik.

It is based on Martin’s novel Fire & Blood, a companion to the Song Of Ice And Fire novels that were the basis for Game Of Thrones. The prequel will tell the story of House Targaryen, which would go on to eventually produce the “Mother of Dragons”, Daenerys Targaryen. The cast includes Paddy Considine, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Rhys Ifans and Sonoya Mizuno.