The ongoing WGA strike is continuing to have wide-reaching ramifications even just a week after it began—but as more and more creatives publicly come out in support of writing staff striking for living wages and job protections in an industry seeking to automate their work, the more some are having to tackle the tough question of what happens to shows that keep on production in the meantime.
In a lengthy post on his personal site Not a Blog released over the weekend, George R.R. Martin—who of course on top of being a novelist is also a member of the WGA for his screenwriting work, and therefore also on strike—went deep on his support for his fellow writers, as well as to, of course, remind people that this does not affect The Winds of Winter in any way imaginable. But he also took the opportunity to discuss the multiple adaptations of his work that are in various stages of production at the moment, including House of the Dragon season two, which has been the focus of ire for its announced intent to keep filming without writers on set.
As Martin himself explained, the strike means that no changes can be made to scripts as of May 1—no line alterations, no re-writes to accommodate an actor’s performance idea or production logistics on the day of filming, no nothing. This is a vital element of the writing process even well after scripts are “locked” and part of the reason why shows like House of the Dragon or Andor continuing production during the strike has proven controversial to audiences in the last week. But in spite of that, Martin insists that House of the Dragon will be fine.
“Across the ocean, the second season of House of the Dragon started filming April 11 and will continue in London and Wales. The scripts for the eight s2 episodes were all finished months ago, long before the strike began,” Martin wrote. “Every episode has gone through four or five drafts and numerous rounds of revisions, to address HBO notes, my notes, budget concerns, etc. There will be no further revisions. The writers have done their jobs; the rest is in the hands of the directors, cast and crew… and of course the dragons.”
This doesn’t change some of the concerns around the importance of having writers on set during filming already established, but Martin is not exactly explaining this to defend the studios that are not accepting the WGA’s demands, either.
“I have been through several of these [strikes] since I first started writing for television and film in 1986. The 1988 strike, the first I was a part of, lasted 22 weeks, the longest in Hollywood history,” Martin added. “The 2007-2008 strike, the most recent, went for 100 days. This one may go longer. The issues are more important, and I have never seen the Guild so united as it is now.”
The writer also noted that the strike is being supported by other productions adapting his work. The recently announced Hedge Knight: Knight of the Seven Kingdoms series, adapting his Dunk and Egg novellas, has paused its writers room for the duration of the strike, while the future of the adaptation of Wild Cards, which has been passed on by Peacock, will now be decided after the strike is over.
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