There’s been talk for awhile about the possibility of a Game of Thrones prequel series on HBO. It certainly makes sense for the network, given that the core series wraps up in 2018. George R.R. Martin’s novels have blossomed into one of the most popular stories on TV today (if not the most popular), and HBO isn’t going to simply let the show fade off into the sunset. So what exactly do we know? Thanks to Martin and a handful of other rumors from the network, the answer is “quite a bit.”
1. There are five separate prequel series currently in development
When news of Game of Thrones‘ potential prequel first broke, the word was that there were four proposed series on the table at HBO. That number moved up to five recently though, coming to us directly from Martin himself.
2. The five proposed pilots will battle for dominance
Just because there are five separate potential shows doesn’t mean HBO is going to suddenly convert to an all-Game of Thrones network. Rather, they’ll have the proposed series battle it out, and then choose the best and most viable option from among those choices. It’s an approach that should make for some intriguing drama, both inside and outside the shows.
3. The writers for each pilot have already been chosen
In terms of creative talent, HBO has assembled a veritable all-star team for their collection of potential prequels. We already know four of the writers they’ve tagged to write pilots, with a list that includes the following: Max Borenstein (Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service), Brian Helgeland (Mystic River, A Knight’s Tale), and Carly Wray (Westworld, Mad Men). We still don’t know who’s signed up for the fifth series, but we imagine that’ll be unveiled by HBO soon.
4. Martin will be heavily involved
In a post to his personal blog, Martin revealed that he’s been working closely with all four of HBO’s chosen writers on each of their respective series, noting that he himself had pitched two scripts to the network as well (one was moved into development, the other was not). Suffice it to say, the original A Song of Ice and Fire author is going to have a significant role in crafting the next steps for the Game of Thrones television universe.
5. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will also be attached to the project
Current Game of Thrones showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, may be plenty busy wrapping up the current series, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to be involved in the prequels. Deadline announced in early-May 2017 that the duo were attached as executive producers, although it’s not clear as to whether they’d actually head the new show up. We do know they won’t be involved in any of the writing, so take that for what you will.
6. It won’t feature any current Game of Thrones characters
This bit of information also comes straight from Martin’s blog, where he outlined a clear plan to create a whole new series, devoid of recognizable characters entirely. That gives HBO a whole lot of room to explore different corners of Westeros and Essos. At the same time, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword, as character recognition is often a driving force behind successful spinoffs and prequels.
Ultimately, we’ll see how it plays out, but it’s a bold choice nonetheless.
7. It won’t be covering Robert’s Rebellion (and for a very good reason)
Robert’s Rebellion may very well be the most compelling Game of Thrones story we’ll never get to see play out firsthand, and believe it or not, Martin has a very good reason for that. As he noted on his blog, “by the time I finish writing A Song of Ice and 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.”
8. It won’t be a Tales of Dunk and Egg adaptation … yet
One obvious choice for a prequel was always Martin’s series of novellas, Tales of Dunk and Egg, focusing on the story of Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire Egg, a man who’d later become King Aegon Targaryen. That said, Martin went out of his way to rule that possibility out, at least for now. “I don’t want to repeat what happened with Game of Thrones itself,” he wrote on his blog, “where the show gets ahead of the books.”
That being so, he didn’t rule a Tales of Dunk and Egg TV series out entirely. “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.”
9. None of the proposed series are set in a time period after Game of Thrones
Sure, all the reports have made a point to use “prequel” as the chosen terminology, but it’s worth diving into this all the same. None of the proposed pilots HBO is currently reviewing are set anywhere after the Game of Thrones timeline. What that means is that the next series will be a true prequel, jumping in somewhere in the thousand-year history of Westeros, effectively predating the first season of the original series.
10. A ‘secondary universe’
So what exactly does a prequel series without any recognizable characters look like? According to Martin, it will feature a “secondary universe,” with events that exist far outside of the ones in the original Game of Thrones series. That could cover everything from the Andal invasion of Westeros to tales of the Valyrian Freehold, opening up a whole lot of thematic territory for HBO.
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