Note: This story originally appeared on GuideLive.com, the entertainment website of The Dallas Morning News. Click here to see it.
UPDATED POST: There’s still a ton to speculate about, but now George R. R. Martin is narrowing down what HBO is developing to follow Game of Thrones.
Martin posted to his Not A Blog on Sunday evening to elaborate on the potential shows based in the same fantasy world as Thrones. Perhaps most interesting is that there are no longer just four shows being written: As of the end of last week, there are now FIVE different concepts in development. A fifth writer, whom Martin declined to name, has been brought on board.
The creator of A Song of Ice and Fire also clarified that all show concepts will be set before the events in Thrones. These “successor” shows, as he prefers to call them, will explore different eras of Westeros and beyond and won’t tie in closely to the events of Thrones. Or, as he puts it, “all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment.”
Beyond those big nuggets, Martin added that he’s working with all of the writers on their show pitches and that the four original writers had visited his Santa Fe home for days at a time to brainstorm — “when we weren’t drinking margaritas and eating chile rellenos.” What I wouldn’t give to have been an eavesdropping, margarita-sipping mosquito on those walls.Martin also reported that the Dunk and Egg novellas and Robert’s Rebellion will not be made into shows — at least yet. That’s big news, since those topics seemed the most obvious choices for development (but is probably for the best, as explained further in this post).
Oh, and he emphasized (in bold-caps) that he’s still working on The Winds of Winter, “and will continue working on it until it’s done.” And now our watch continues…
ORIGINAL STORY: Were you worried about what you’d watch once Game of Thrones wraps up? Rest a little easier: We’re on the verge of having an expanded Game of Thrones TV universe.
HBO said in a statement Thursday that it has brought in writers to work on not one but four (4!) potential spinoff series of Thrones. We don’t yet know when (or if) any of them will be released, as the channel is giving the writers plenty of space and not imposing a timetable on them.
The writers attached include Max Borenstein (Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Golden Circle), Brian Helgeland (Legend), and Carly Wray (Mad Men and The Leftovers). Variety also notes that Goldman and Wray will each be working individually with George R. R. Martin, author of the Song of Ice and Fire saga on which Thrones is based. Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are also attached to the four projects as executive producers.
According to Variety, HBO isn’t revealing any story details other than that the shows “explore different time periods of George R. R. Martin’s vast and rich universe.” In other words, there’s a lot of things these shows could cover.
So, what can we expect to see from Westeros in the coming years? Here are some ideas, from most to least obvious:
Robert’s Rebellion: This might be the most obvious of choices because of how closely it ties into the story of Game of Thrones. The rebellion takes place 17 years prior to the events of the show and involves many characters we already know — Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon and The Lannisters, to name a few.
After Prince Rhaegar Targaryen “kidnaps” Lyanna Stark, and after his Mad-King father has angered much of Westeros, Robert leads a massive uprising against the throne. Civil war ensues, with plenty of politics, bloodshed an betrayal to go around. The conflicts of Game of Thrones trace their roots directly to this war.
This route could easily mirror Thrones in style — but perhaps too much. Think The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead: The latter has the thrills and shocks of the former, but fans haven’t rallied around its characters in the same way (or at all). A show based on the rebellion might also be at a disadvantage since many events in the war are known to anyone who keeps up with Thrones, robbing it of a fair amount of suspense.
Aegon’s Conquest: Aegon the Conqueror’s invasion of Westeros gets mentioned frequently enough in the show, but it hasn’t been explained in detail. This option could be familiar enough for fans without them already knowing the high points — besides, you know, that there’s a conquest.
Aegon and his sisters established Targaryen rule over the continent with two things: fire and blood. Armies burned before the Targaryen dragons and the old social order was upended. Interesting stuff, right?
Well, maybe. Assuming that Daenerys has similar luck in the next two seasons of Thrones when she invades, this subject area might also end up feeling too similar.
The Dance of the Dragons or Blackfyre Rebellions: But don’t you fret: there’s plenty of material from House Targaryen the writers could be using. Case in point: the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.
To boil down this complicated event: King Viserys I dies, but two of his children (an older daughter and younger son) lay claim to the Iron Throne. The family and advisors take sides, dragons take flight, a war is fought, dragons die. It’s family drama at its most Targaryen.
Equally dramatic, and perhaps more enthralling, could be a series based on the Blackfyre Rebellions. In short, the trueborn Targaryens have a lot of bastard children, and (in true Thrones style) some of those bastards try to seize power. For an in-depth explainer, click here.
Both of these conflicts drain House Targaryen of strength (and dragons), leaving the dynasty in a weakened state going into Robert’s Rebellion. These bloody wars would make the sort of fascinating political drama Thrones has led us to love.
The Doom of Valyria: If House Targaryen had to invade Westeros, where did it come from and why? The answers: Old Valyria, which was destroyed.
If the Targaryens are the surviving Trojans from Virgil’s Aeneid, then Valyria is their Troy. Valyria was an ancient and advanced region in Essos that at one point controlled a vast empire. But, unfortunately for the wealthy, dragon-owning aristocracy that lived there, a cataclysmic event turned the region into uninhabitable waste. The Targaryens, who left before the Doom, were the only house to survive; ditto their dragons.
A show based here might feel a bit more Roman than anything in Thrones, which could be an interesting change of pace.
The tales of Dunk and Egg: Not every possibility has to be darkly violent. A subject pitched by Martin himself in past interviews, the tales of Dunk and Egg follow a knight (Dunk, or Ser Duncan the Tall) and his squire (Egg, or future king of the Seven Kingdoms Aegon V Targaryen) on their adventures in Westeros.
The Dunk and Egg novellas are much smaller in scale than Thrones and, as Vanity Fair notes, lack a lot of the magic and grandeur that make Thrones iconic. It could be hard for these tales to stick with a larger audience.
Dorne: Okay, stay with me here. Ignoring everything of Dorne in Thrones from season 5 up to the moment Lady Olenna Tyrell speaks there at the end of season 6, Dorne is a fascinating kingdom with a rich, violent and sexy history.
This is the one kingdom that resisted Aegon’s Conquest, the land invaded by Princess Nymeria and the Rhyonar centuries before, the home of Oberyn “The Red Viper” Martell! Trust me: this is the fun kingdom in the Seven Kingdoms, ignoring all the wrong Thrones has done to it.
Something set post-Game of Thrones: Well, since we’re still two seasons (and two books) away from knowing how Thrones ends, this could literally be anything. Perhaps seven White Walkers and seven Dothraki move into a castle with cameras everywhere and occasionally make video diaries with hot gossip on their roommates. Or Cersei travels the world looking for the perfect bottle of wine, runs into Tyrion and hilarity ensues. The possibilities are endless.
The Night’s Watch: Actually, no. Not this. Sure, there’s thousands of years’ worth of history there, but it’s hard to see even a miniseries about the watchers on the Wall that isn’t drab and long and cold.