George R.R. Martin recently dropped a knowledgebomb on his blog about the planned Game of Thrones spin-off series. Martin revealed that HBO has a fifth Game of Thrones spin-off concept in development — in addition to the four previously reported. And they’re all prequels. Now, HBO programming president Casey Bloys has added even more clarification. Here’s what we know.
George R.R. Martin isn’t calling them “spin-offs” because they won’t feature any existing characters.
“I don’t think it really applies to these new projects,” Martin said of the term. “What we’re talking about are new stories set in the ‘secondary universe’ (to borrow Tolkien’s term) of Westeros and the world beyond, the world I created for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.”
“None of these new shows will be ‘spinning off’ from GOT in the traditional sense,” Martin explained. His statement goes on to explicitly rule out the possibility of us seeing the further adventure of characters currently on the existing series. “All of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment,” he added.
All five of the Game of Thrones successor shows being considered are prequels set in the past.
Martin also confirms that each of the concepts under consideration is a prequel, but he ruled out a couple of popular prequel series ideas that have been floating around.
“We’re not doing Dunk & Egg, ” Martin confirms. “When the day comes that I’ve finished telling all my tales of Dunk & Egg, then we’ll do a tv show about them… but that day is still a long ways off.”
“We’re not doing Robert’s Rebellion either,” he added. “I know thousands of you want that, I know there’s a petition… but by the time I finish writing A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, you will know every important thing that happened in Robert’s Rebellion.”
Martin also teased that some of the concepts in development might not even be set in Westeros. After all, the known world in the time of Game of Thrones’ story includes also includes the continents of Essos and Sothoryos.
Martin confirmed that there’s a fifth possible series in development — following up on the widely reported news of four possible spin-offs last week. “We had four scripts in development when I arrived in LA last week, but by the time I left we had five,” he said. “What we do have here is an order for four — now five — pilot scripts.
Bloys has clarified that HBO is, as we suspected, developing multiple shows in order to get at least ONE solid concept that’s as strong as the current series. There is no intention to make more than one of the spin-off/prequel series at this time, and they won’t air any time soon.
“You’re not going to see a situation where the next show in the Thrones universe launches off the back of this one,” Bloys said.
Five spin-offs is a lot of characters to murder, so it’s a good thing Martin isn’t actually writing them.
HBO is working with five different writers on multiple potential spin-offs for Game of Thrones, which is due to end after Season 8 in 2018 (or even potentially 2019 if HBO believes the showrunners need more time). Martin isn’t actually writing any of them, but he is, of course, heavily involved and consulting with each of the writers on a regular basis.
“We’ll take as much or as little time as the writers need and, as with all our development, we will evaluate what we have when the scripts are in,” an HBO spokesperson said.
Who’s writing the five Game of Thrones spin-offs?
There’s Max Borenstein — he wrote Kong: Skull Island, Minority Report, and 2014’s Godzilla.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle writer Jane Goldman is in the mix. X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, and Stardust. Goldman will reportedly be working with novelist George R.R. Martin on her concept.
Also working on a spin-off project is Brian Helgeland, writer of L.A. Confidential, Mystic River, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
Carly Wray, who’s written prominently for Mad Men and The Leftovers, is working on a concept, too. It should be noted that Wray is collaborating with creator George R. R. Martin, too.
Finally, there’s Mystery Writer #5, invoked by Martin in his most recent statement. And while the author declined to give any further details, we expect to hear something soon. We’ll update you here when something official is announced.
What about the current Game of Thrones showrunners?
Showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff are helping to develop the four projects, as is Martin. But neither are expected to be involved in the actual making of the new show. In fact, Bloys says they don’t even want their names on it.
“They want to enjoy the show as fans and don’t want to worry about the scripts or production issues. We were hoping to have their names on it out of respect for them, but we understand why they don’t want that,” he told EW.
Season 7 of Game of Thrones returns July 16 on HBO.