George R.R. Martin reveals details about the upcoming Game of Thrones spinoffs


Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

So a couple weeks back, HBO announced that it was developing not one, not two, not three, but FOUR potential spinoffs for Game of Thrones. Obviously, the fans are excited, and we got to work wondering what we might be in for.

Today, A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin took to his Not a Blog to reveal more details. We still don’t know exactly what we’re going to get, but there’s some juicy information in there. Have a bite:

All of these shows will be prequels

As many fans have guessed, all of these spinoffs are going to be prequel series set before the events of Game of Thrones. “We are not talking Joey or AfterMASH or even Frazier (sic) or Lou Grant, where characters from one show continue on to another,” he wrote. “So all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment.” In fact, Martin doesn’t even like to use the word “spinoff.” He prefers “successor shows.”

Although he doesn’t give anything away outright, Martin also suggests that some of the shows “may not even be set on Westeros.” A show set on Sothoryos, anyone?

Martin is directly involved with all of the projects

When the spinoff news first hit, we learned that HBO had retained four writers to develop projects: Max Borenstein (GodzillaKong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Golden CircleX-Men: First Class), Brian Helgeland (L.A. ConfidentialMystic River) and Carly Wray (Mad Men, The Bastard Executioner). At the time, word was that Martin was working directly with Goldman and Wray. It ends up that Martin is actually working with ALL 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…They are all amazing talents, and I am excited to be working with them.”

There are even more spinoffs in development than we thought

Four spinoffs is an embarrassment of riches. But it ends up there are actually five, not four, spinoffs in development. Wrote Martin:

"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."

None of this means that HBO is actually MAKING five shows

It might be easy to hear that HBO is developing five Game of Thrones prequels and jump to the conclusion that we’ll have five different shows on the air in 2020 set in this world. Not so fast. Martin, who’s worked in TV before, reminds us that this is very unlikely. “What we do have here is an order for four — now five — pilot scripts. How many pilots will be filmed, and how many series might come out of that, remains to be seen.

"The one goal that EVERYONE involved shares here is to make these new shows just as good as GAME OF THRONES itself. No easy task, mind you."

No Dunk and Egg show

While Martin didn’t reveal what any of the new shows would be about, he did say what they won’t be about. And to the disappointment of some, he revealed that there will be no show based on his Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas.

"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."


No Robert’s Rebellion show

I’ll let Martin take this one:

"[B]y 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."

Fair enough, although I’m sure plenty of fans will be disappointed in that.

Finally, Martin reminds us all, in enormous capital letters, that he is “STILL WORKING ON WINDS OF WINTER” and that he’ll continue working on it until it’s done. But as he says, he has a ton on his plate, so we’ll likely have to be patient. “WINDS OF WINTER, five successor shows, FIRE AND BLOOD (that’s the GRRMarillion, remember?), four new Wild Cards books, some things I can’t tell you about yet… it’s a good thing I love my work.”