(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.”
— Winter is Coming (@WiCnet) March 12, 2017
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.”
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.