News broke earlier this month that Martin and four acclaimed screenwriters are at work on four different Game of Thrones spinoff ideas to carry on the franchise after the main series wraps up its eighth and final season. The reports immediately ignited fan speculation and even a little bit of confusion, so over the weekend Martin took to his website to clear up a few things.
Yes, Martin confirmed, the *Game of Thrones *spinoffs are developing, though at this point there are only orders for pilot scripts and not full-fledged shows. Yes, there were four shows developing (one pitched by Martin himself) at the time of those reports.
Now, there are five, with a fifth unnamed writer added to the team to shepherd the new addition. Yes, all five shows are actively developing but that doesn’t mean we’ll see five shows. We might not even see more than one. As popular as the show is, HBO probaby isn’t keen on just becoming “The Game of Thrones Network.”
“Decades of experience in television and film have taught me that nothing is ever really certain… but I do think it’s very unlikely that we’ll be getting four (or five) series. At least not immediately,” Martin said. “What we do have here is an order for four – now five – pilot scripts. How many pilots will be filmed, and how many series might come out of that, remains to be seen. (If we do get five series on the air, I might have to change my name to Dick Direwolf).”
Though the number of shows we might get is certainly a topic of discussion, fans have mosly been speculating over what the show(s) will be about. The fantasy world of Game of Thrones is massive, featuring millenia of history and literally millions of potential characters. Martin’s already worked on much of the history and written some prequel novellas, so that provides ready-made source material. It’s also entirely possible that the new writers have just invented concepts based on the cultures and clashes they’ve seen on the show. Whatever these new series actually are, Martin’s not telling, though he did emphasize that they’re all prequels. He’s also not fond of the term “spinoffs,” as that implies a Joey-style show that will follow a character or group we already know. So, we can’t expect Arya Stark: Blade for Hire or anything like that.
We also can’t expect two other popular fan theories. Though the source material is already there, Martin said a series based on his “Dunk & Egg” novellas isn’t happening, because he still wants to write more of those himself. He still has two Ice and Fire novels to finish first, and we all know how famously slow he is.
“I don’t want to repeat what happened with Game of Thrones itself, where the show gets ahead of the books,” Martin said. “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.”
The spinoffs also won’t focus on “Robert’s Rebellion,” the war for the throne of Westeros that almost immediately precedes Game of Thrones and puts all of the show’s major players in place (if that war doesn’t happen, Cersei Lannister isn’t queen). It’s a very obvious prequel ploy but according to Martin, flashbacks in his novels will tell us everything we will ever need to know about that war.
“There would be no surprises or revelations left in such a show, just the acting out of conflicts whose resolutions you already know,” he said. “That’s not a story I want to tell just now; it would feel too much like a twice-told tale.”
So, in just a couple of weeks, HBO’s Game of Thrones expansion plans have already grown and Martin is intimately involved. It’s only a matter of time before we know how his TV empire will expand.