4 Shocking Things That Happened in the Unaired Game of Thrones Pilot

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

For nearly as long as fans have been obsessed with HBO’s Game of Thrones, they've heard stories about the series' original—and unaired—pilot. From George R.R. Martin’s cameo to Daenerys and Catelyn being played by different actors, the details of the show's original incarnation are intriguing. Especially because it's widely rumored that the episode is just plain bad. (Kit Harington once shared that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weis have jokingly threatened to use his pilot footage as blackmail if need be.)

Finally, we now have some insight into just how different the unaired pilot was. The Huffington Post recently paid a visit to Texas A&M’s Cushing Memorial Library and got a hold of a box containing a production draft of the original Game of Thrones pilot. Thankfully for us, they’ve detailed some of the strange events that took place within it. Here are some of the most surprising.

1. Catelyn stark wanted Sansa to marry Joffrey baratheon.

Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Right from the start of the aired Game of Thrones pilot, Catelyn Stark became an immediately beloved character for her fierce devotion to her family and standing up for what was right—even if it meant saying no to King Robert Baratheon so that her husband, Ned, could remain in the north. However, in the unaired episode, Catelyn actually urged Ned to allow their daughter Sansa to be married to Joffrey Baratheon. The script reads as follows:

Ned: “I’ll refuse him. I’m a northman. I belong here, not down south in that rats’ nest they call a capital.”

Catelyn: “He would make our daughter Queen.”

2. The White Walkers spoke.

Ian Whyte as a White Walker in Game of Thrones
HBO

Probably the most peculiar difference from the aired pilot to the unaired one is that the White Walkers were supposed to speak in a type of “ice language.” The unaired pilot script opened similarly to what aired, with men of the Night’s Watch encountering the humanoid creatures. The script then reads:

"The crackling is coming from multiple sources now. There are not the noises of mindless predators. This is a language, and whatever is speaking it is getting closer ... Will closes his eyes against the icy voices beneath him, muttering silent prayers."

While many fans know that the White Walkers do indeed speak in the books, fans of the TV series might wonder what exactly these creatures would sound like. In a 2017 interview with The Huffington Post, Game of Thrones language creator David J. Peterson explained that he wanted it to be similar to what’s in the books, which sounds like “the cracking of ice on a winter lake.”

3. Daenerys and Khal Drogo's original introduction was much more innocent.

Jason Momoa in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Although fans eventually warmed up to Khal Drogo as Game of Thrones went on, he was initially introduced as brute who forced himself on Daenerys Targaryen. But in the unaired pilot, their romance was actually far more innocent. The script reads

He pulls her down into his lap. Dany is flushed and breathless. He cups her face in his huge hands and she looks into his eyes.

Khal Drogo: “No?”

She takes his hand and moves it between her thighs.

Daenerys: “Yes.”

Though the pilot we did see featured an understandably controversial scene in which Khal Drogo rapes Daenerys, Emilia Clarke sees it as an important part to understanding her character's growth throughout the series. "At the heart of it, we’re telling a story; you need that part of the story to feel empathy for Daenerys," Clarke told Glamour in 2016. "You see her attacked by her brother, raped by her husband, and then going, ‘F*** all of you, I’m gonna rule the world.’ That’s where we are now.”

4. It was unclear that Cersei and Jaime were siblings.

Lena Headey in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Arguably the most shocking scene that we did see in the first episode of Game of Thrones is when Bran Stark, while climbing up the tower at Winterfell, accidentally sees siblings Cersei and Jaime Lannister engaging in sexual activity. To calm Cersei's nerves, Jaime—with no hesitation—pushes Bran out the window, causing him to be paralyzed for the rest of the series. However, in the unaired pilot, the brutal nature of this scene was compounded by the fact that Cersei was not a consenting party to it.

In the original episode, viewers did not know Jaime and Cersei were related yet and saw Jaime having his way with her by force. When Bran peeked into the room, the script reads as follows:

The naked man grabs her by the hair and forces her to rise to all fours. She gasps with pain.

Woman: “Stop…”

He does not stop. Keeping one hand on her hair, he pushes himself himself to his knees. He seizes her hip with his free hand and pulls toward him, thrusting deep into her.

Woman (Cont’d): (Moaning) “Stop it… stop it… please…”

Her voice is low and she does not push him away; the harder he pulls her hair, the more she moans.

The original pilot may have a reputation for being unaired due to its poor quality and confusing storylines, but we'd be willing to watch it.

The 25 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time Worldwide

Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Marvel Studios

Ever since Avengers: Endgame was announced, Hollywood insiders had no doubt it would be a box office smash. But few people could have predicted just how big of a dent the movie would make in its opening weekend alone. The latest MCU movie demolished all previous box office records by making a cool $1.2 billion in just its first few days in theaters.

It's the first film in cinema history to cross the billion-dollar mark in its opening weekend, and knocked its predecessor—Avengers: Infinity War—from the top spot in terms of opening weekends by almost double (Infinity War broke records a year ago when it made $640 million worldwide during its first weekend in theaters). After grossing $2 billion in record time, and knocking James Cameron's Titanic out of the number two spot of biggest blockbusters, Avengers: Endgame has now officially unseated yet another Cameron film, Avatar—which has held the number one spot for 10 years—to become the highest-grossing movie of all time.

  1. Avengers: Endgame (2019) // $2,790,200,000

  2. Avatar (2009) // $2,789,700,000

  3. Titanic (1997) // $2,187,500,000

  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) // $2,068,200,000

  5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) // $2,048,400,000

  6. Jurassic World (2015) // $1,671,700,000

  7. Marvel's The Avengers (2012) // $1,518,800,000

  8. Furious 7 (2015) // $1,516,000,000

  9. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) // $1,405,400,000

  10. Black Panther (2018) // $1,346,900,000

  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) // $1,341,700,000

  12. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) // $1,332,500,000

  13. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) // $1,309,500,000

  14. Frozen (2017) // $1,276,500,000

  15. Beauty and the Beast (2017)// $1,263,500,000

  16. Incredibles 2 (2017) // $1,242,800,000

  17. The Fate of the Furious (2017) // $1,236,000,000

  18. Iron Man 3 (2013) // $1,214,800,000

  19. Minions (2015) // $1,159,400,000

  20. Captain America: Civil War (2016) // $1,153,300,000

  1. Aquaman (2018) // $1,148,000,000

  1. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) // $1,123,800,000

  2. Captain Marvel (2019) // $1,120,100,000

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) // $1,119,900,000

  2. Skyfall (2012) // $1,108,600,000

Box office totals courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

12 Facts About Revenge of the Nerds For Its 35th Anniversary

Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

In the summer of 1984, nerds were mainly perceived as guys who wore pocket protectors and had tape on their glasses. But in Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs was inventing the type of nerd culture we’re familiar with today. Decades later, nerds rule the world.

Revenge of the Nerds starred then-unknowns Anthony Edwards, Robert Carradine, Curtis Armstrong, James Cromwell, Larry B. Scott, John Goodman, and Timothy Busfield. In the movie, the jock-filled Alpha Beta fraternity bullies the geeks on the campus of Adams College, so to fight back, they form a frat chapter under black fraternity Lambda Lambda Lambda (Tri-Lambs), and take down the jocks. The movie’s plot and title come from a magazine article published around that time about Silicon Valley innovators—who just happened to be nerds.

The film, which was budgeted at $6 million, only opened on 364 screens (it eventually expanded to 877). Somehow the movie had legs and grossed $40,874,452 at the box office and ranked as the 16th highest-grossing film of 1984. It was successful enough to spawn three sequels, none of which were as popular as the original. To celebrate Revenge of the Nerds' 35th anniversary, here are some geeky facts about the underdog comedy.

1. Greek officials at the University of Arizona objected to the movie being filmed on their campus.

The movie filmed at the University of Arizona, and involved the college’s Greek system. The Greek officials didn’t want the movie to be another Animal House, so they threatened to halt production. “We meet with the sororities, and we’re worried we’re about to deal with a bunch of feminists who are pissed because this is a fairly sexist movie,” the film’s director, Jeff Kanew, told the Arizona Daily Star. “I just say to them, ‘Look, I have kids, and I’ll tell you now, I’d let them see this movie. It’s about the triumph of the underdog, not judging a book by its cover. This is a good movie.’” The filmmakers won, and the Greeks allowed them to film there.

2. The set was one big party.

Ted McGinley—who played Alpha Beta honcho Stan Gable—told The A.V. Club: “I was so embarrassed to say Revenge Of The Nerds.” Kanew cast him because he saw him on the cover of a Men of USC calendar, sold at the University of Arizona bookstore. His good looks attracted “hot girls” from the UofA campus to watch the dailies with the cast and crew. “They had beer and pizza and sandwiches,” McGinley said. “I mean, you just don’t do that on movie sets. It was just so much fun, and I thought, ‘It can’t be better than this!’”

3. Curtis Armstrong knew it would be a good movie, even though his character wasn't fully fleshed out.

Curtis Armstrong filmed Risky Business but then was unemployed for a year before he got Revenge of the Nerds. “You have to realize the character of Booger in the original script was non-existent almost,” Armstrong told Entertainment Weekly. “What was there was just, ‘We’ve got b*sh!’ and ‘Mother’s little d**chebag’—those kinds of lines. I was looking at it and thinking, ‘How do I take this and even begin to make it likeable or accessible?’”

With its strong cast, writers, and director, Armstrong said, “It has to be a good movie. But I wasn’t sure how it was going to be taken as opposed to Risky Business, which was sort of an art-house-type movie. This was very much broader and very much cruder, but it had a message that went beyond sex jokes.”

4. The scenes between Booger and Takashi were improvised.

The actors would bring ideas to the director and vice versa, creating a lot of improvisation in the movie. In one scene, Booger and Takashi (Brian Tochi) engage in a friendly game of cards. But unbeknownst to Takashi, Booger tricks him. “We ran and got our cots, and Brian and I were next to each other,” Armstrong told Entertainment Weekly. “It wasn’t planned that we would be next to each other. It just happened that way.”

The production asked the guys to “come up with something” for them to film. “We had nothing at all!” Armstrong said. “We went to the prop people, and they had a deck of cards. And that’s where that scene [and Booger’s whole bit about taking money from Takashi] came from. And they liked it so much that, every time Takashi and I were in the room together, we would have to come up with something else.”

5. Lambda Lambda Lambda exists in real life.

On January 15, 2006, the University of Connecticut founded the co-ed social fraternity. It’s “unaffiliated with Greek Life” and is “dedicated to the enjoyment and enrichment of pop culture and to the brotherhood of its members. Tri-Lambs does not discriminate based on race, gender, religion, class, ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

6. Booger's belch came from a camel.

In one of the film's more memorable scenes, Booger and Ogre compete in a belching contest. Booger takes a swig of beer and lets out a robust seven-second belch and wins the contest. But the effects were added in post-production. “I can’t even belch on command,” Armstrong told USA Today. “If you said to me, ‘Can you belch now?' I couldn’t do it.”

To make up for Armstrong’s dearth of gas, “They wound up finding a recording of a camel having an orgasm,” Armstrong said. “They took this sound and blended it in with a human belch.”

7. Curtis Armstrong wrote a bio for Booger, but it turned out to be about himself.

Because his character wasn’t fully developed, Armstrong wrote a one-page bio for Booger. Years later he re-read the bio and realized he and Booger had similarities. “I’d basically retold my life as Booger without even being aware of it,” Armstrong told Entertainment Weekly. “[One detail] was that [Booger] used nose-picking and belching as a defense mechanism because [he’s] insecure. Now, mind you, I did not pick my nose and belch because I was insecure. However, I was insecure growing up. I didn’t have dates or anything like that; I was not good around girls. But I had other ways of defending myself other than being crude and picking my nose. When I look at it now with some distance, I realize all I was doing was writing about myself.”

8. A Dallas test screening almost killed Revenge of the Nerds.

The film tested well in Las Vegas—an 85—but when the Fox executives took the movie to Dallas, the number dipped. “You’re gonna send us to Dallas to screen a movie that celebrates nerds and in which the black guys intimidate the white football players?!” director Kanew told the Arizona Daily Star. The movie scored in the 60s, which caused Fox to cut marketing for the film and only release it on 364 screens. “I don’t really understand what happened, but it hung around and grew and grew and grew,” Kanew said.

9. Poindexter was originally named after a prop guy.

When Timothy Busfield auditioned for the movie, his character didn’t have many lines, so he had to read Lamar’s lines. At the time, the character was named Lipschultz, after the prop guy. All that was written for the character description was “a violin-playing Henry Kissinger.”

“There was one line Lipschultz had in the original, but our prop guy was named Lipschultz, and he didn’t like the fact that there was a nerd named Lipschultz, so they changed it to Poindexter,” Busfield said during a San Francisco Sketchfest Nerds reunion. Busfield found Poindexter’s costume at a thrift store and showed up to the audition with his hair parted, and danced to “Beat It.”

10. The sequel to Revenge of the Nerds afforded Anythony Edwards a pool.

Anthony Edwards told The A.V. Club that he didn’t want to appear in Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, but acquiesced because the producers talked him into it. He’s hardly in the film, but the money he earned afforded him a simple luxury. “I ended up with a pool in my backyard that I called the Revenge of the Nerds II pool,” Edwards said. “Not that I’m complaining, but they seriously overpaid me for my weeks of work on the film, so I used it to put in a pool.”

11. A remake (thankfully) got shut down.

After two weeks of filming in the fall of 2006, a Revenge of the Nerds remake stopped production. Emory University in Atlanta pulled out of filming, but according to Variety, the real reason was because a Fox Atomic executive “was not completely satisfied with the dailies.” The cast included Adam Brody and Jenna Dewan.

12. Revenge of the Nerds pushed nerdom into the mainstream.

“I’m not going to say Revenge of the Nerds was responsible for everything in nerd culture, but I do think you could make an argument that that attitude began with the last scene in Revenge,” Armstrong told HuffPost. “The last scene—the scene I probably love above all in that movie—we’re at the pep rally and come out in front of everybody as nerds, and encourage these people of different generations to join them in their nerdness. I get teary thinking about it, and you could certainly make an argument that that was the beginning of embracing nerd culture by everybody.”

This story has been updated for 2019.

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