Allow me to let you in on a not-so-secret secret: When something in Hollywood is making a mountain of money, Hollywood will keep making it. With this rather obvious bit of capitalism in mind, it should not have been a surprise to anybody when it was recently revealed that HBO’s big-budget fantasy drama Game of Thrones – arguably the biggest show in the world – has not one but four potential spinoff scripts in development. Correction: Not spinoffs but “successor shows”.
That’s according to George R.R. Martin himself, the author whose A Song of Fire and Ice fantasy series is the basis for the TV show. Martin recently took to his LiveJournal blog to share some details about these proposed shows, and to clarify some misconceptions as he says that “various distortions and misapprehensions have crept into some of the reports along the way. And television being the fast-moving business that it is, there have already been some further developments.”
For what it’s worth, I don’t especially like the term “spinoff,” and I don’t think it really applies to these new projects. 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. It is a world, and a pretty big one, and if there were eight million stories in the naked city back in the 50s, just think how many more there are in an entire world, and one with thousands of years of recorded history.
None of these new shows will be ‘spinning off’ from GOT in the traditional sense. We are not talking Joey or AfterMASH or even Frazier or Lou Grant, where characters from one show continue on to another. So all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment. Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set on Westeros. Rather than ‘spinoff’ or ‘prequel,’ however, I prefer the term ‘successor show.’ That’s what I’ve been calling them.
Martin continues to explain that he has been involved in the development of these potential shows from the beginning. He actually initially pitched two of the series ideas to HBO himself, which prompted other writers to be brought in and pitch others. As was previously reported, four writers – Max Borenstein (Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service), Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, A Knight’s Tale), and Carly Wray (Mad Men, The Leftovers) – were then tapped to develop scripts for these pitches. Martin explains that he’s been working closely with all these writers, meeting with them to get them in-depth knowledge about the world of Westeros. However out of those conversations, something else emerged.
We had four scripts in development when I arrived in LA last week, but by the time I left we had five. We have added a fifth writer to the original four. No, I will not reveal the name here. HBO announced the names of the first four, and will no doubt announce the fifth as well, once his deal has closed. He’s a really terrific addition, however, a great guy and a fine writer, and aside from me and maybe Elio and Linda, I don’t know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as he does.
However, just because they have five writers and five scripts, doesn’t mean there will five shows. These are just potential stories and HBO still need to decide which ones they will eventually place full orders for. As to what they will be about, Martin isn’t talking. He will say though what they’re won’t be about.
We’re not doing Dunk & Egg. Eventually, sure, I’d love that, and so would many of you. But I’ve only written and published three novellas to date, and there are at least seven or eight or ten more I want to write. We all know how slow I am, and how fast a television show can move. I don’t want to repeat what happened with GAME OF THRONES itself, where the show gets ahead of the books. 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. 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. There would be no surprises or revelations left in such a show, just the acting out of conflicts whose resolutions you already know. That’s not a story I want to tell just now; it would feel too much like a twice-told tale.
Game of Thrones itself will be returning to screens on 16 July for its seventh and penultimate season. This season, like its last, will be shorter than previous runs, but will probably still be out before Martin actually finishes writing the final book in the series, Winds of Winter, which he promises that he is still working on.
Last Updated: May 16, 2017