HBO CEO Says Game of Thrones Spin-Off Talk Still In “Embryonic Conversations”

HBO espana Liam Cunningham Sarah Jessica Parker Richard Plepler Jeffrey Wright

Photo: @HBO_ES

The much-speculated about and hoped-for Game of Thrones spin-off is still in the “embryonic conversations” stage, said HBO CEO Richard Plepler this week, while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter.

The CEO spoke with press in Madrid at the launch of HBO Spain yesterday, an event attended by several of the network’s stars including Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce), Jeffrey Wright (Westworld), and GoT’s own Liam Cunningham.

“It certainly has not escaped [HBO president of programming] Casey [Bloys] and myself that there might be some brand extension [for GOT] that would be exciting. It certainly has not escaped the producers,” Plepler tells THR. “Right now we’re focused on finishing the series with the kind of energy and excitement that everyone has come to expect. We’re going to do that while at the same time parallel processing very embryonic stages of other possibilities.”

In September, Bloys said “There are so many properties and areas to go to…For us, it’s about finding the right take with the right writer.”

It sounds like HBO’s execs have made no progress at all with the GOT spin-off in the past few months, and we’re left to our speculation devices once more!

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    1. My idea for an antology Tv series would be called ” Fan Fiction”:
      Every week we would have a tale in the ASOIAF world , with elements seen in fan fictions, but not particular to any .
      We could have one episode with Lady Lyanna Mormont being adopted by Daenerys and having her own bear.
      Another episode would show Dunk actually finding Tanselle while Egg starts to have dragon dreams.

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    2. It would be ideal for another series to begin airing in 2019 if it’s going to happen. I wouldn’t complain of course if they can’t get it going that quickly. It seems like it would be really tough to strike gold twice, but they do have a very strong built-in fanbase that should still be (there) if there’s not a major time gap between the two series.

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    3. I would love to see Dunk & Egg. I would like to know what happened at Summerhall. I really hope GRRM finishes it after he has finished the main story.

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    4. The spin-off could be an annual anthology of events, like a 5-7 episode long single story. For example: The Dance of Dragons, the Blackfyre Rebellions, Robert’s Rebellion, The Greyjoy Rebellion, a story 100 years after GoT, stuff like that.

      Please HBO, whatever you do, don’t let the Westeros universe die.

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    5. Earlier in the year there were rumours of a Jon Snow spin off – presumably after the ending of ASOIF that could work instead of going back into history. This assumes of course Jon rules at the end of the story.

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    6. I’ve written it before, but for my own personal tastes and entertainment, to equal GoT I think it would have to be surrounding the events of Aegon’s Conquest or the (initial) Battle for the Dawn. I’d still enjoy other tales but I’d prefer the magic and creatures that separate if from a standard sword fighting historical-like program.

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    7. I’ve kinda had it in my mind for a while now to do a show focused one off season Greyjoy Rebellion.

      I think it would be cool if, in the show canon, Barristan Selmy slew Victarion Greyjoy on a ship in single combat. I dunno why, but my mind just wants to see that image.

      It would resolve Victarion and Selmy’s plot proactively compared to the books (I’ll be shocked if both survive the Battle of Fire) and it would be a cool visual; plus, I’m sure MacElhanny (sp?) would jump in a second. And we’d get more Euron badassery/Damphair presence. Would build them up really well, and could work as a really weighty prequel to the series intended to be viewed first, with pathos coming from seeing everyone working together and then seeing them all break down in the series proper. Would add a lot to Ned, Robert, Selmy, Euron, and especially Jamie and the Blackfish’s bridge talk.

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    8. Priscila,

      Dunk and Egg isn’t as grand and epic as GoT though.

      The show people are always complaining about how direwolves are more expensive than dragons, so I think it might be ok. 😛 They also don’t need to make all the dragons as big as Dany’s.

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    9. I think any Dunk and Egg adaptation would run into the same problem that GOT ran into: not enough source material.

      They could never afford to adapt the Dance of the Dragons properly, short of animating it. Multiple dragon battles? Even GOT has to limit the dragons’ appearances every season.

      As for Robert’s Rebellion, it would make a fine miniseries, but I’m guessing HBO would be looking for something longer-term.

      More generally, I don’t think the non-ASOIAF Westeros books are nearly as good. ASOIAF/GOT drew people in on the strength of its vivid, memorable characters. For a spinoff to succeed, you’d need characters who are just as vivid and memorable. Personally, I haven’t seen any of that in the Dunk and Egg books or in TPATQ.

      In a Screenrant article about spinoffs, they held up Frasier and Better Call Saul as two examples of successful spinoffs. However, they both used characters from the original hit series as focal points for the spinoff. It is likely that most of the characters in GOT will be dead by the end of the series (ruling out sequels) and most of the main cast is made up of young adults (ruling out prequels). It seems like any spinoff property would have all new characters, a dodgy proposition.

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    10. Easiest potential prequels:

      *Robert’s Rebellion one-season miniseries

      Based on actual prequel novellas GRRM has already written:

      *Tales of Dunk and Egg, 4-5 seasons (Martin said there are going to be about 12 stories in all, though only 3 are finished, and they span 50 years; might work better as more of a “series of TV movies” – they wouldn’t be 10 episode series, think like 6 per season, quality over quantity).

      *The Dance of the Dragons – 5 seasons (even Martin was surprised at how the story grew in the telling when he actually sat down to expand it for novellas, and if you’ve actually read them, I think you’ll agree; yeah, this is like a 5-6 season story; basically each season would be about half a year of internal storyline, for a 2 year long war; major chapter breaks would be like the Battle of Rooke’s Rest, Second Tumbleton, etc.)

      But those are the obvious ones really asking for it because they *already exist* as full prequel novellas.

      Beyond that you could pull stuff from World of Ice and Fire: Elio and Linda remarked that GRRM once told them that there was enough story behing the Sons of the Dragon / Faith Militant uprising under Aenys and Maegor that he *could* have written three full novels about it if he wanted to (it’s sort of a ripoff of “I, Claudius” – aren’t they all!); and on top of that Martin has also said that the Conquest of Dorne/ Reign of Aegon IV era could easily sustain its own novels in terms of how much story is there.

      So…current fan demand is for a Robert’s Rebellion one-shot (fine), after that…Dunk and Egg seems like it would come first, though I hunger for a full scale Dance of the Dragons.

      Heck, even the TV writers were…testing the waters, for that, with the delightful 20 minute animated feautrette on it by Dave Hill (I even got to go to the screening of that at Herald’s Square)

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    11. Shy Lady Dragon:
      Please, HBO, give us a GOT spin-off!
      After the “hold the door!” reveal, I can call Hodor no more.

      But we must! No man is truly dead so long as his name is still spoken.

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    12. M,

      Touched upon most of the issues there, no wonder they seem to be struggling to find a promising formula for a follow-up. Might be best just to take on of GRRM’s many myths (expand it Vikings style), since I assume a continuation with one of GoT’s main characters could be detrimental to GoT’s actual ending (its supposed to be ‘bittersweet’).

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    13. Flayed Potatoes:

      Dunk and Egg isn’t as grand and epic as GoT though.

      The show people are always complaining about how direwolves are more expensive than dragons, so I think it might be ok. They also don’t need to make all the dragons as big as Dany’s.

      Two things:

      1 – Dunk and Egg actually sort of is “the Blackfyre Rebellions” prequel. We don’t see the first one, but it’s sort of the backstory to it, *told through flashback*, much as Robert’s Rebellion was to ASOIAF.

      2 – ……guys, I think on this a lot with prequels: a major complaint about ASOIAF is that it was on a truly *unfilmable* scale. 20 or more major characters? 9-10 major Houses/factions? And a story that would take 7-8 years to film….what most actor contracts only guarantee 5-6 years. Look at the contract negotiations which made Season 5 so rushed when they thought there might be only seven seasons.

      So you really only want each prequel to be about 5-6 years long at the most, and even then……..well, what a lot of people say about “Dunk and Egg” now that the “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” compendium book is out: it’s only 300 pages long, and only has one POV narrator, Dunk! And yeah by GRRM’s guess that’s like….around one fourth of the total story he has to tell with them, unpublished, but still — there are only two major “POV” characters, dun and egg, and it *benefits* from a smaller scale because it makes it *more focused*.

      Dunk and Egg wouldn’t have any Dorne subplot to badly squeeze in at the last minute, nor any Vale subplot to abandon “for time constraints”.

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    14. M,

      They could actually do a sequel focusing on the most interesting lesser Houses- Dayne,Velaryon and Hightower comes to mind. We could have older version of , let´s say, Tyrion or Jon mentoring them. The young Lord of Tides, Half Maester Hightower and the new Sword of the Morning going on adventures similar to the 3 musketeers. The supernatural Threat could be ” The Deep ones” with Patchface making an appearance…

      I think trying to replicate the grandeur of GoT would be a mistake- maybe like in 10 years time they could make a revival or something of this order, but now a different approach would be better.

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    15. Well, “dragons are expensive” is true, but in my mental image they only have one big dragon fight per season in a five season TV series. Like, Season 1 would end with the Battle of Rook’s Rest, but otherwise the dragons would be fairly “off screen”, or at least, not just doing cool stuff for the sake of cool stuff. Plus they wouldn’t need to spread the budget to zombies and White Walkers and such. More focused on the dragons.

      I honestly think they’d only do a Dance of the Dragons AFTER Tales of Dunk and Egg, and what is that, 10 years from now? Think of how much cheaper the CGI will be then.

      Yes, Priscilla, that’s what I was trying to say:

      Do something more “focused” and intimate, Tales of Dunk and Egg, then only attempt the Dance of the Dragons like 10 years from now, when they’re ready to do something War of the Five Kings scale again.

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    16. “HEY! HEY!” *waves arms* “I have an idea about that, or two, or three… HEY! HEY!” *waves arms* Seriously! Hey!

      The North Remembers!

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    17. I think HBO wants D&D to do any follow up series set in Westeros, but I doubt they want to jump right back into it. So it becomes a case of waiting. Will HBO find another person or persons that they trust to do a series? Will D&D get to the point of going back to the world of Westeros and beyond? I don’t think this is something that will happen directly after GOT ends. I think if it happens, it will be several years after the end of GOT.

      I have always said that Dunk and Egg would be my choice, with an expansion of the focus on the Blackfyre Rebellions. GRRM has expressed a lack of desire to do a prequel about Robert’s Rebellion, so I think you can scratch that one. My second choice would be The Dance Of The Dragons. Yes, the dragon warfare would be expensive, but they could scale it back from the way it was written and still have some good material to work with.

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    18. Scott Glennon,

      “The North Forgets”- Episode 1-Old Bran has been locked into his weirwood tree for far too long. He constantly wakes up at Winterfell, but it is unable to alert the people he loves, as he finds himself over and over again in this loop.
      He dies, and wakes up, young again, in the laboratory of C.T.Del- Professor Dr Hightower and his team are trying to rewrite the past. They managed to get Branson Stark, the last male of his family. to agree to the experiment and to build the Time Machine, but they could not solve the loop itself as everybody in the past forgot Bran´s existence.

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    19. God, please no pre-quels – always, always boring and awful.

      Let’s get some great writers added to Cogman and the bunch and just continue Game of Thrones for a few seasons – the aftermath of the ending. There will still be many characters alive and it would be great to see them continue on….that would require actors to continue…but I’d rather see that than anything else….

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    20. Westeros’ Test Kitchen hosted by Hot Pie

      The Lady Lyanna Variety Hour

      The Mountain & The Hendersons

      Here Come The Tully Girls!

      Jaqen H’ghar in Losing Face

      My Two Cleganes

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    21. koempel:

      Touched upon most of the issues there, no wonder they seem to be struggling to find a promising formula for a follow-up. Might be best just to take on of GRRM’s many myths (expand it Vikings style), since I assume a continuation with one of GoT’s main characters could be detrimental to GoT’s actual ending (its supposed to be ‘bittersweet’).

      Yes. I don’t know how they could do a sequel without doing further violence to GRRM’s ending. And suppose GRRM manages to finish ASOIAF and pens a novella set after the ending of ASOIAF? I think they’re likely to reach backwards instead of forwards.


      They could actually do a sequel focusing on the most interesting lesser Houses- Dayne,Velaryon and Hightower comes to mind. We could have older version of , let´s say, Tyrion or Jon mentoring them.

      Again, I doubt that they’ll go forward in time, because it would be disturbing GRRM’s ending, and there’s also the risk of GRRM writing other stories set post-ASOIAF that they might want to adapt down the road.

      Also, unless you kill off pretty much every other character, you can’t just have Tyrion or Jon in a sequel, given their existing relationships with the other characters in the show, and that lends itself to some thorny questions. (Recast? Kill them off? Write Tyrion/Jon as a hermit shut off from all the other characters?) Any new show would have to pay through the nose to keep Kit Harington or Peter Dinklage around–they’re already going to be paid an obscene amount per episode in Season 8–and that doesn’t make much sense.

      If they are determined to do a GOT sequel, the easiest thing to do would be to set it several decades into the future and have the series revolve around the surviving GOT characters’ kids and grandkids. It worked for Legend of Korra.

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    22. ghost of winterfell,

      Exactly. The average HBO viewer wants epic battles and/or dragons. D&E would appeal more to book fans or hardcore show fans. Casual fans still make up most of the viewership. The pressure HBO must be under to make a successful spin-off must be insane.

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    23. I doubt there will be a spin-off. If Martin had written at least 5 or 7 D&E, I could see an extra season, but it’s too late for that now.

      If there will be a spin-off, it will be something entirely different, they will take a ‘lesser’ house somewhere and create a story that happened long before AC. Say House Dayne in Dorne with a story set around the time Nymeria is invading, or House Royce in the Vale set around the Andal invasion, or maybe they will just go with Blackwood-Bracken rivalry.

      There are many possibilities, however I doubt it will happen.

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    24. The HBO execs would love to have another money-spinner like GoT.

      But it won’t work. Prequels, sequels, it won’t be the story that’s GoT.

      Robert’s rebellion would be plain stupid, we all already know what happened. No suspension, no story.

      Dunk & Egg stories? I like them but they’re very different from ASOIAF. Not epic, just cute and mildly interesting.

      The Dance of the Dragons? Ruled out by too high CGI costs. As are any Blackfyre rebellions.

      Maybe HBO will do a spin-off. In some interview, the idea was put to NCW (Jaime Lannister), and he loved the idea of a sitcom with Jaime and Brienne. Maybe called “Heartsbeat” or something like that.

      I’m a pretty fanatic GoT fan but I don’t think I’ll pay to watch any spin-offs. GoT is the ASoIaF story, the one we’ll get before (if ever) GRRM writes the end to this story. The side stories don’t excite or move me much.

      HBO is, of course, desperate for their cash cow. I love it how they’ve given D&D pretty much a free hand since S2. D&D know what they’re doing, that’s why we love the show. It’s gritty, unexpected… Teevee you never thought you’d want to see, something so epic on your small screen. Krhm. I don’t even have a TV set, I watch the episodes streaming (leagally, I’ve always paid for GoT) on my laptop or tablet. I’m not the only one. The mere idea of only being able to watch something only if you have a TV set? Erhm… That’s so 90s, old-fashioned, isn’t it? Less and less people have actual TV sets. We have computers, interwebsy streams, big monitors and at least adequate speakers. HBO is cottoning on to it.

      You cannot do a show only on cable TV in the US when more than a half of potential watchers all over the world want to get it online. Insisting on TV set and cable subscription would be folly. The millions, tens of millions who watch GoT ain’t watching it on US cable channels. We’re watching it online, as leagally provided by legislation in our countries. Maybe the high headyins at HBO can’t fleece us for profits and bonuses as much as they do in the US, but my 10 euro per month for two, three months every year are well worth it for GoT. (I’d have all the past HBO library to watch as well but I don’t have the time.)

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    25. talvikorppi:
      The HBO execs would love to have another money-spinner like GoT.

      But it won’t work. Prequels, sequels, it won’t be the story that’s GoT…

      Robert’s rebellion would be plain stupid, we all already know what happened. No suspension, no story.

      I agree… I think it is mostly an attempt to continue milking a successful franchise… but I doubt that any spin-off (prequel, sequel, whichever) will have the same impact as this original run.

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    26. Please no spin-offs. Historically speaking, and in my opinion, spin-offs, remakes, prequels, postquels and whatever are almost always disappointing and tarnish the original. There’s something to be said for gracefully bowing out when your time is done, which no one seems to do anymore.

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    27. Well as they will be new show runners and not D&D they won’t be able to use big budget CGI in the first season, considering D&D used cheaper wigs, actual dogs as direwolves and only one small scene of tiny CGI dragons in their first season. They have also cut out a lot of battles or shortened them to save money. No more than one big battle per season.

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    28. How about instead of a prequel or sequel, George miraculously completes the book series by the time they complete filming season 8 and then they do a ‘parallel universe’ – true ASoIaF adaption from season 5 to the end with the same cast. 😛

      Silly. I know that could and would never happen but I think it would be fun to watch how they diverge. Selmy could live, Rickon, Osha & Shaggydog make it to Skagos… Sansa spends 2-3 seasons boringly sitting around at the Eyrie… … more Dorne character inclusions because for some reason GRRM can’t stop writing them in… Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be all that great to watch…

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    29. Vulture just published an interview with Sophie. Mostly just standard lines about Sansa wanting respect, etc., but it indicates that she’s finished filming Season 7, which I’d previously been wondering about, since both she and Maisie have been all but absent from filming since September. Evidently the show pursued a compact filming schedule for Winterfell this year (which, makes sense, if it’s possible to do it). Some people had been wondering, based on Aidan Gillen’s appearance of late, whether he was done filming for this year too.

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    30. Clob: Rickon, Osha & Shaggydog make it to Skagos…

      Please continue… 😉

      Sean C.,

      Nice shield, Sean. Family? Just wondering because my father’s side’s Irish emblem resembles that a wee bit.

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    31. Sean C.,

      I should probably mention that my dad’s Irish family crest was no doubt bought at a carnival for 25 cents in the mid-fifties from a pimply-faced genealogist/ ring toss booth operator. 😉

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    32. I doubt any sequel/prequel/post-quel will happen. The best parts of the story were written by GRRM and he just doesn’t have enough material to make a good showing in any storyline. And D&D have said that they are done-done with this, so any other show would have a different feel. Plus, anything that could possibly involve those other two schmoes that call themselves ASoIaF “experts” would NOT get my $$–EVER!
      I’ll just patiently wait for The Books That Were Promised…

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    33. Someone mentioned it already, but a series a century after the GoT story is a cool idea. I would love to see it. We could see what house are still around and hear who is running Planetos then. I would wonder how the legend of Jon Snow, and Her of 1 million names would be talked about and perceived.

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    34. Personally, I would prefer D&E specifically because it’s less tied up in grand-scale epic fantasy trappings. ASOIAF and GOT win with character interactions, not with spells and monsters and whatnot(IMO).

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    35. The more a spin-off is tied to the original story, the less interesting it’s going to be (IMO). that being said, I think the best spinoff idea is setting it centuries before the current events in Westeros. I mean I haven’t read the books so I don’t know how much GRRM has touched on that…….. The time of First men invasion comes to mind.

      but really, the best move is to let the story go out gracefully for now.

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    36. Dee Stark:
      The Dragon Demands,

      hopefully you would decide not to watch it then.

      Exactly! That way it would be like no spinoff even exists, which would be much better than D&D having a hand in it. I think it’s “funny” to complain about the writers when it’s entirely possible that different writers would do a worse job or we could have never had the show adaptation in the first place. GoT continues to earn awards at the highest level and be considered as a best drama series yet D&D are complete garbage.

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