Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Agrees That The Original ‘Game Of Thrones’ Pilot Was ‘Unbelievably Bad’

You’ve likely heard that the original Game of Thrones pilot was, well, not good. Screenwriter Craig Mazin (the executive producer of HBO’s upcoming Chernobyl) even famously called it a “complete piece of sh*t.” Obviously, that pilot never saw the light of day, and the series grew into a juggernaut after being almost entirely rewritten. On Wednesday night’s edition of The Late Late Show With James Corden, the man who has embodied Jaime Lannister added his own take (he agrees!) and expressed surprise that the series even happened after that disaster pilot.

“There was this pilot that was — 95% was reshot [later],” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau related. “[A]nd they showed this thing to us and it was unbelievably bad. It was absolutely amazing to see.” He wasn’t done yet, adding that “there’s no reason we’re sitting here talking about this today, no one should have picked that up.”

He credits former HBO CEO Richard Plepler for somehow seeing value in the project and setting the ball in motion for reshoots. Coster-Waldau remarked, “[I]t just goes to so you, you really, you never know.” Indeed, the old pilot featured a number of bizarre differences, including less mysterious White Walkers, a far less incest-y vibe between Jaime and Cersei Lannister, and multiple other roles that were written cast differently. Yet the series went on marvelously after revamps, and here we are, on the cusp of the final season. Our own Brian Grubb has ranked the Iron Throne contenders, and we’ll soon see how those play out when the show returns on April 14.