Two Game of Thrones prequels still in development, claims George R.R. Martin; Targaryen-focused setting teased!

Sansa Stark Drogon Rhaegal Season 8 804

Last year, five writers appeared to be in their own private ‘game of thrones’ to see who would be the one to get their Game of Thrones prequel produced by HBO. One won, and her show is now in pre-production, with a pilot to be filmed soon. We believed that would be it for some time; that the other shows were either dead or in a long coma at least. And yet, if George R.R. Martin is to be believed, that doesn’t seem to be the case!

Out of the five so-called ‘successor shows’ in development, the one by Jane Goldman about the legendary Long Night is actually getting produced as a pilot for HBO, as we have been reporting on for many months; and the one by Game of Thrones co-executive producer Bryan Cogman is no longer in play, according to the writer himself.

That should leave a few prequels in development. However, it had been assumed that those other projects would remain on stasis while Goldman’s show was produced and aired. Martin’s here to dispel that notion on his Not A Blog: the author reveals that, out of the five original pitches, aside from Goldman’s project, two are still being worked on:

Oh, and speaking of television, don’t believe everything you read. Internet reports are notoriously unreliable. We have had five different GAME OF THRONES successor shows in development (I mislike the term “spinoffs”) at HBO, and three of them are still moving forward nicely. The one I am not supposed to call THE LONG NIGHT will be shooting later this year, and two other shows remain in the script stage, but are edging closer. What are they about? I cannot say. But maybe some of you should pick up a copy of FIRE & BLOOD and come up with your own theories.

Goldman and Cogman aside, the three other spin-off pitchers announced in May 2017 were Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island, Fox’s Minority Report), Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale, L.A. Confidential), and Carly Wray (Mad Men), the latter working directly with Martin. Though we don’t know who, two of these three are still working on developing their Game of Thrones projects, while another one must have withdrawn.

Of course, the fact that these prequels are in development doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll see the light of day. “Development” isn’t “production”; development is just the first stage, when the story is figured out, a treatment is pitched, and a script is written. So, though these two shows are still being developed, there’s no guarantee that they will actually get greenlit and produced — that is, cast and crewed, filmed, edited, etc.

Even if they are produced, Goldman’s show will already be in our screens by then, so HBO will presumably have to alternate them throughout the year, or wait until the first prequel is over to begin the next one. In either case, we won’t see them for some time.

Nevertheless, these are exciting news, not in small part due to Martin’s tease about what these “two other shows” currently “in the script stage” could be all about. If you were one of those who were disappointed by the gloomy (and pretty familiar) Long Night setting of Goldman’s show, Martin’s implication that the two other successor shows would be about the Targaryen family (“maybe some of you should pick up a copy of FIRE & BLOOD”) should get you excited again about the future of Game of Thrones.

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    1. to be honest, I find the Targs the least interesting part of GRRMos. well, that is not totally true, but the larger the Targ-focus the less I am interested

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    2. This is really good news. It looks like we are basically looking at a couple of decades of entertainment. That should see me out 🙂

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    3. The Sea Snake? Do I hear Elissa Farman, or probably something more rhoynarish? There! The small girl who mounted the biggest dragon Westeros have ever seen! No, probably not her, although it does end tragically enough. 🤦🏻‍♂️

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    4. From The World of Ice and Fire its the history of Valyria and the Dragon Lords that I find compelling. It is a very long history but I don’t think there one single story thread from Old Valyria that has been really elaborated, but I would be interested, it feels quite different form other planetos lore.

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    5. Count me as one of the people who wasn’t as excited to go back to the White Walker story. At least it should do a better job establishing the WW backstory and making them actual characters, or at least I hope so. It’s probably too much to ask for them to revamp their look, too. I hated their appearance in GOT. I would prefer they look like humans, just with extremely pale white skin and glowing blue eyes. More fantasy, less horror story.

      I’m much more interested in something Targ related, preferably something set in Westeros. I’m still sad we will never get Dunk And Egg. While not featuring dragons or zombies, the story arc is already there. I suppose GRRM wants to go with lesser known stories that give the writers room to create on their own without having to stick to already known events.

      I just hope the series are successful enough that HBO wants to continue making them. To be honest, I have serious doubts about whether they will be. Are there enough hardcore GOT fans at this point that will watch anything related to this world? Would HBO consider 1/3 or 1/4 of GOT’s viewership to be a success? I just don’t know.

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    6. Yay, more dysfunctional Targ tales. My default interest would be D&E but GRRM seems to be keeping that stuff close to his vest. I guest I would be mildly interested in an adaptation/expansion of Aegon IV’s “Great Bastards”…but that may be too close to D&E as well (and not part of the Fire and Blood GRRMarillion…yet).

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    7. Ryan:
      If they botch the last 3 episodes, no one will watch those spinoffs.

      You mean that YOU won’t. 😒 I’ll be fuckin’ watchin’ and plenty of others will be too.

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    8. My 1b choice along with The Long Night period for another series when they first mentioned a prequel was for Dance of the Dragons. I’m still hoping that can be done eventually.

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    9. Ryan:
      If they botch the last 3 episodes, no one will watch those spinoffs.

      Yes they will lol. You seem hellbent on having a negative outlook because you are not happy with what went down in the last episode. If they make good tv, word will get about and people will tune in, it’s that black and white.

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    10. As I was reading Fire & Blood I was thinking a TV show on the entire lives of Jaehaerys and Alysanne would be amazing if done in a similar style to The Crown where each season is roughly a decade of their lives and midway through you recast the characters with older actors. The voyage of Elissa Farman across the Sunset Sea would be a fascinating subplot especially if we found out what really happened in the end.

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    11. Ryan,

      I think even if they nail the landing and it is the most amazing thing ever it will be difficult to retain a fraction of GOT’s audience. I’m not familiar with the viewership numbers for HBO’s other shows. But let’s just say this new show gets a third of GOT’s viewership. That would put it around 4 million live viewers and 12 million total in the US. Would HBO be satisfied by that? Will it be a good enough show to be able to grow an audience? Is it even the type of show that would run beyond 2-3 seasons?

      My concern is this concept won’t be interesting enough or successful enough for HBO to want to continue to produce series based in this universe.

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    12. I’m totally on board if we were to get a series set around the Targaryen civil war “Dance of the Dragons”

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    13. Give me targ any day. not that interested in white walkers, although i would also watch them just because they are yet another facet of this world. But I am much more interested in targ.

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    14. I like to see a show more focused on Dorne history and culture (done right) and the history of Pike and the Grey Joys… or a show with more Essos and start of the Braavos and history of the Servents of the Lord of Light… Melisandre as a young women… maybe Varys as a young man surviving on the streets… ending with the Great Tourney at Harrenhal

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    15. Hodors Bastard: Yay, more dysfunctional Targ tales.

      You “sound” less than thrilled!

      Of course, the possibility we should consider is that dear old George reads as slowly as he writes, and he missed the news that HBO is not going to do all of this stuff! 🤡

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    16. The doom of valaryia is the only thing that interests me as far as a spinoff goes. Or they could do one following Tormond around north of the wall before he met Jon and see what kind of whacky hijinks he was up to.

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    17. I’m sure GRRM mentioning some HBO shows he is enjoying without mentioning anything about GoT in his blogpost will fuel the belief from the show haters that he also secretly hates the show now.

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    18. JamesL:
      I’m sure GRRM mentioning some HBO shows he is enjoying without mentioning anything about GoT in his blogpost will fuel the belief from the show haters that he also secretly hates the show now.

      I personally love the show, but I wouldn’t blame people for thinking that.

      He praises Endgame and several other HBO shows but doesn’t write a single line about the new season? I can’t help but feel that sometimes his silence is a way of throwing shade. Hopefully he will give his opinion soon and prove me wrong though.

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    19. I disagree. I interpret his silence as saying, “don’t ask me about how this ends because I’m not saying a word.” He’s not going to say anything until after the finale.

      I also don’t buy the D&D claim that they only thought of the Arya twist a couple of years ago. It’a a feint. They wouldn’t say it if it were true, because they know it makes them look wishy-washy/making-it-up-as-we-go-along. They’re doing GGRM a favor by distracting people from assuming that the show is spoiling the books.

      Also, GGRM told Maisie back in 2009 she was going to grow up to be an assassin so that’s not new news. He envisioned her having a major role. Maybe it’s similar to the show (against the others) and maybe it’s not. But she was never imagined as a supporting cast member for Jon Snow, but her own “killer” character.

      The haters are going to hate no matter what anyone says. They think it makes them cool and rebellious. Yes there are legitimate reasons to question some of the writer’s decisions from S7-S8, but the show is still great. Even if it isn’t coming to a climax exactly how they pictured it in own minds.

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    20. ThisGirlHasNoName: also don’t buy the D&D claim that they only thought of the Arya twist a couple of years ago. It’a a feint. They wouldn’t say it if it were true,

      Ah, but they did not say that; B&W said that they’ve known that this was going to be the case for three years. I.e., since about the time that everyone quite pretending that GRRM gave them lowdown on the general ending! (Also, when they say “known,” then they usually are referring to things that GRRM told them.)

      And you are absolutely correct that Arya was never intended to be a supporting character: GRRM intended her to be one of five primary protagonists from the word go. That is clear in the original outline: and although it is clear that GRRM changed a lot of the plot since then, it is equally clear that he has kept the same story in mind. (Indeed, the original outline might provide clues to Martin’s intent: there, Arya goes north with Bran and learns to become a skilled fighter along the way; now, Arya goes a different direction and gets her own “3-Eyed Raven.”)

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    21. Tyrion Pimpslap: That would put it around 4 million live viewers and 12 million total in the US. Would HBO be satisfied by that? Will it be a good enough show to be able to grow an audience? Is it even the type of show that would run beyond 2-3 seasons?

      There’s a certain perspective people have to look at as it concerns HBO, viewership and their programming. GoT is an anomaly, so far, and sits head & shoulders above whatever else they and the other cable companies are offering for dramas. True Detective was given seasons two and three while averaging in the 2m viewers. BLL was given a second while the first barely squeaked out 1m per episode. Both seasons of Westworld averaged less than 2m and they were renewed as well. Their dramas never nor the other cable dramas rarely to never get even close to what GoT has done. They don’t need record numbers to renew a program.

      We need to remember that GoT was greenlit for each of the first few seasons while averaging under 4m. Seasons 5 & 6 were both ordered two days after the premiere of season 4, so they were still going on faith and the numbers from the first 3 seasons for those too. While it’s probable that they wouldn’t have continued to throw larger and larger amounts of money at it, they did see it as their flagship that was already far outpacing the numbers and popularity of everything else they had to offer.

      If/When this prequel gets a series order and premieres, I would think they’d keep it alive for an additional season(s) even if it were to average as “low” as 3-4m estimated initial airing viewers. With luck perhaps it can grow upward as well…

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    22. Clob: They don’t need record numbers to renew a program.

      Fantasy & SciFi series are considerably more expensive to produce than are most of those other programs. It’s not just effects (Westworld needs to spend a bit there), but also staging big battles; an episode like last weeks would exceed most shows budgets even without dragons and zombies. GoT did not show some early battles just because of this: putting a bunch of wights on screen is small potatoes compared to showing full cavalries going at it!

      To that end, they probably can get by on much lower numbers in a prequel: we just might not get any Hardhomes, Battles of Bastards or Long Nights. The bigger concern would be “expectations”: viewership of 4M looks good next to everything else, but poor next to GoT. That can induce unwise decisions….

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    23. We lost out on our Nissa Nissa and other Azor Ahai moments because now they need to be saved for The Long Night. For the same reason, we won’t get much more about the history of the white walkers now, while GoT is finishing up.

      Frankly I think it was an error to choose that prequel, we’ve been there done that, and I don’t know how many episodes I can watch of Naomi Watts enduring an even more primitive Westeros.

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    24. Wimsey: To that end, they probably can get by on much lower numbers in a prequel

      That’s what I’m expecting. HBO may seem all-in on continuing in that world but they’re not stupid either. Perhaps they are willing to start the prequel with a budget a bit larger than GoT started with but very doubtful they’ll be willing to toss 10-15m an episodes at it. That seems more like an “earn it” scenario.

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    25. You guys reported a while back that Max Borenstein’s Doom of Valyria show was greenlit and pretty far into development. The Game of Thrones wiki page has a lot of information still about it called Empire of Ash.

      Any idea if it’s legit?

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    26. Kind of hoping The Long Night is the one that goes through and hopefully there’ll be a more satisfying WW story that comes from it rather than what happened in 8×03.

      Though, there’s nothing really stopping them from making two spinoffs – one “Ice” and one “Fire” – outside of cash flow.

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    27. Interesting that the spin off that I thought would have the most chance (Cogmans) is out yet the others are still going. I have mixed feelings on the one which is in production given the casting news ans director who is brilliant in her own right I just worry it could be a Rian Johnson style take on Westeros.

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