Dan Weiss David Benioff Interview

Game of Thrones showrunners won’t be involved in any spinoff series

(Photo by Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW)

We’re a few days on from the South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX, but we’re still sorting through some of the interesting comments made during the eventful Game of Thrones panel. Among those comments: showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss weighed in on the ongoing discussion about a Game of Thrones spinoff series. Said Benioff:

There’s always going be an urge — the characters who maybe will survive — there’s always going to be this temptation to keep doing it; to do the spin-off show or do the sequel show and everything. And I think HBO might well do one and I’m looking forward to watching it. I think it’s better for them to get new blood in with new visions.

So Benioff is saying is that a prequel or sequel series is possible, but that he (and presumably Weiss, his writing partner) doesn’t expect to be involved. After devoting their lives to Game of Thrones pretty much 24/7 for the past several years, it’s understandable they’d want a change of pace, although last year, HBO programming president Casey Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter that “it would certainly be nice to have their involvement in some way. At what level? I have no idea.”

Benioff’s comments are the latest in a long line of statements from HBO personnel. The gist is that a Game of Thrones spinoff of some kind is likely, but no one seems to have any details yet. “All I can say is that we’re exploring it,” Bloys said at the Television Critics Association press tour two months back. “We don’t have any scripts, we’re not even close to saying ‘Oh let’s do this.’ But it’s a big enough property that we would be foolish not to explore it. It’s a really rich world. We’d be foolish not to look at it.”

A prequel feels like it has less pressure on it [than a spin-off]. [Author George R.R. Martin’s history of Westeros] gives you areas in which to say to a writer, ‘If you were going to do this, then go flesh it out,’ and we’ll see what comes back. But I don’t feel any pressure that we have to have something.

Considering the kind of money the show has made HBO, they would be foolish not to at least explore the possibility of a spinoff. We’re into no-brainer territory there — even George R.R. Martin thinks it’s inevitable. “I do have thousands of pages of fake history of everything that led up to Game of Thrones,” he said at the 2016 Emmys. “So there’s a wealth of material there and I’m still writing more.”

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

But whatever ends up happening, Benioff and Weiss probably won’t be involved, at least not in a hands-on way. I suspect there’s a subset of fans, specifically those who have been less than enthused with seasons 5 and 6, who’re pleased with this news. But it’s worth considering that these two have poured their hearts and souls into this project since long before the pilot hit the airwaves and have given us some classic TV moments. Whatever they do after Game of Thrones, I hope it’s a huge success.


20 Comments

  • Thank the old gods and the new! Buh-bye!

    To be fair when they mostly stuck to the books in terms of plots they did a wonderful job of interpreting those the best they could for this format but whenever they veered off and did their own thing we got crap.

    • I disagree with “whenever they veered off and did their own thing we got crap”. Sansa going to the Boltons was way better than the inconsequential Jenny …Not having Caitlyn coming back was a relief, omitting most of Dorne’s story was great (because it was boring and no one was really attached to any of those characters), having Brienne face the Hound was great too …Yes, there’s a few things that could have been done differently, but nobody’s gonna have the same opinion and they can’t please everybody. In general though, it was great ..and thank god for them, we’ll know the end of the story !

      • I feel like you didn’t actually read the books when you say Dorne was boring and lady stoneheart being omitted was a relief or you’re just one of those people who doesn’t like to think a whole lot and prefers big flashy events and spectacles.

        • Dorne is a joke in the books and Lady Stoneheart is completely pointless. She’s done absolutely nothing, and certainly hasn’t done enough to warrant inclusion into the show. Anyway, whether D&D are included in the prequel or not, I doubt it’s going to be as good as GOT.

      • Sansa instead of Jeyne was stupid. The fact that Jeyne was inconsequential was the point. Sansa still has a regicide warrant out for her arrest, in no way would that solidify the Bolton hold on the North. Even in the show, none of the houses actually cared about the Stark name except the Mormonts and they had like 25 soldiers, so the match up was pointless except the Ds needed a way to fit Sophie Turner in.

  • I think things would be much different if GRRM were one book farther along. If they started the series later to give George more distance ahead it wouldn’t have helped much, because I don’t think his writing would have sped up any.
    I would like to be with GRRM during his first screening of season 7, and hear his reactions! It would be a valuable learning experience.

    • To clarify: once the show started I think writing became more difficult, and GRRM felt pressure from “the train barreling down the tracks after him”. He mentions this many times. Waiting for “a Dance With Dragons” being published may have been wiser, giving more breathing room. We would have had completely different child actors, though.

      • Great point! I can’t imagine a different Arya, or Bran or Sansa or Joffrey.

        I don’t really see the point of post-mortems on a show that is probably the most successful ever. It is what it is, and it was done how it’s done, and without D&D who knows if it would have ever come to the screen.
        I’m glad for them that they’re not involved going forward, I would be creatively tapped out by now if I were in their shoes. Also their lack of involvement going forward doesn’t necessarily preclude the involvement of others who have worked on the show with them such as Sapochnik does it?

  • I would be for a prequel. As a fan I would be more amused with all of the history and stories leading up to the events of GOT. From the magic of the start of the children of the forest, to the first men, the first long night, the doom of Valeria, Aegon’s conquest with Visenya and Rhaenys. So many unanswered questions, rather than carry on with any who may survive the great war.

  • They can’t do a sequel NOW because we don’t know who will be alive at the end. And if there was an announcement that (for example) there will be a sequel with Queen Cersei and King Jaime doing something or other, not only would it cause most of us to vomit, but it would give away the whole ending of the show.

    On the other hand, a prequel would not have the problem.

    George Martin works at his own pace. There were around five or six years between four and five and now we wait on six. If HBO waited until the books were all done, we might not have a series even begun for years.

    Benioff and Weiss have done a brilliant job. And Renly… George Martin’s work is not the work of God. There were changes even when he was directly connected and writing. That’s called writing for television. Of course, you might convince Netflix or Amazon or someone else let you do a variation (assuming HBO agrees).

    Perhaps the best suggestion, which I made a while ago, is to wait until the entire series is over and then do a whole new one, more closely following the Martin line. It would last far longer and the new CGI would be far cheaper in terms of creating dragons. Perhaps a few minor changes…why not have Sansa rape Ramsey?

    • Perhaps you need to go back and read my whole comment and make an attempt to understand what I said before calling me out in a response when I did in fact give them credit for their early adaption for this format but ya know facts and all

      • I did read your comments and agree about the first three books. But, let’s face it, the next two books wander all over. They were originally one book that got split up. Too much of the books go off wandering. I vaguely recall one chapter dealing with the sewage of one city.

        Also, reading and watching TV are different experiences. The whole choosing of the Ironbound King took up quite a few pages and done in a few minutes on TV. The choice might not be really important in the end.

        The whole subplot about a possible Targarean son was interesting. But Snow is another member of the family. Some of the wanderings might be interesting in themselves but will they be vital in the end?

        It is possible you are right and that Martin’s work should be adhered to. However, we have a show and we will have it for two more years. And, keep in mind, at this point the show may well be affecting what Martin writes. It is far more interesting to have Sansa as a kickass rather than a pawn. He might have made a change somewhere himself. We have to wait and see.

        Take what you can get. The King James version of the Bible is stunningly beautiful but there are other editions. We might not learn which is the right one…or perhaps after death. GoT is a great show. Could it be better? Possibly. Could it be worse? Easily…just watch its imitators.

  • D&D did an amazing job! At least for me, they will be missed for whomever goes forward or backwards with Thrones.

    They worked their asses off over the years!👏👏👏👏👏

    I can’t wait to see what they do next.

    • Since they mention Monty Python and wrote for Always Sunny, I think they will try comedy next. A series with a budget would be very interesting.

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