We could have seen a direwolf take on a zombie dragon in GoT
Game of Thrones’ final season disappointed a lot of fans, and we can all now enjoy a new piece of information to feel glum about.
Miguel Sapochnik, director of Episode Three's “The Long Night,” revealed that one plan for his epic Battle of Winterfell had to be scrapped.
In the early stages of the episode’s creation, Sapochnik envisioned a scene in which a pack of direwolves would fight Daenerys’ zombie dragon, Viserion.
In an appearance on IndieWire’s Filmmaker Toolkit podcast last week, Sapochnick suggested that lots of cool ideas were left on the cutting room floor. "There were many things that happened that people would’ve been so happy to happen, attacks of direwolves and crazy stuff," he said. But, "at a certain point you’re, like, ‘50 direwolves attacking an undead dragon does not a good movie make.’ This was stuff we did not shoot; it's part of the process."
While the idea is deeply cool, it’s hard to imagine that it was entertained for too long, given that the cost of rendering the impressive CGI wolves meant that direwolves made increasingly rare appearances over the course of Thrones’s run.
It might be hard to imagine how a show full of beautifully executed monsters, dragons, and zombies could find it tough to scrape together the dough to bring to life some big dogs, but Thrones went to special lengths to create its direwolves.
The dragons were pure CG creations, but direwolves like Ghost were created using a process that involved shooting real wolves against a green screen, which was more involved and expensive than going the computer-only route.
So while there really was no excuse for some Season Eight developments, like Tyrion somehow ending up hand to yet another monarch or Cersei’s awful send-off, the show can be forgiven for passing on the direwolf army.
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.