You may remember that a couple of weeks ago HBO announced they were working on four different Game of Thrones spin-offs. Time’s running out for the cable channel’s cash cow, they’ve only got two seasons and 13 episodes left on their appointment Sunday viewing epic before it goes to re-run land, so finding a way to keep the Game of Thrones name on your TV is kind of key to their long-term strategy. So what does the man that created the basis for the series, George R.R. Martin, have to say about all this? Well he confirmed it’s all going down, and added a surprising new detail in the process.
While discussing the spin-offs on his personal blog, Martin talked about, in general terms, what he and others are working on in terms of the spin-offs, except they’re not really spin-offs, he said, they’re more like prequels.
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 AfterMASHor 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.
While confirming all the projects are prequels to the current series, Martin also drew some other lines in the sand saying that the series will not cover the events of Robert’s Rebellion, nor would they be based on the Dunk and Egg novellas about the early adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall and future king Aegon V Targaryen. If the prequel series make it air, they will be telling stories of Westeros’ past more than 100 years before the beginning of the series.
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.
The four prequels are being guided by four different writers: Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kingsman), Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale), and Carly Wray (Mad Man), and while Martin was only explicitly tied to the projects with Goldman and Wray, he’s emphatic that when it comes to the proposed series, he’s go his hand in all the proverbial pies.
It was stated in some of the reports that I am working with two of the four writers. That’s not quite right. I’ve actually been working with all four of the writers. Every one of the four has visited me here in Santa Fe, some of them more than once, and we’ve spent days together discussing their ideas, the history of Westeros and the world beyond, and sundry details found only in The World of Ice & Fire and The Lands of Ice & Fire… when we weren’t drinking margaritas and eating chile rellenos and visiting Meow Wolf. They are all amazing talents, and I am excited to be working with them. In between visits, I’ve been in touch with them by phone, text, and email, and I expect there will be a lot more back-and-forth as we move forward.
And in a final surprise announcement, Martin revealed that there’s not just four prequel/spin-offs in development, but five!
And there’s more. 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.
As for original recipe Game of Thrones, it will be back on HBO on July 16.