Game of Thrones prequel writer Brian Helgeland discusses his project

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – OCTOBER 10: Screenwriter Brian Helgeland attends the ‘Behind The Screen 2013’ WGAW Screenwriters Press Reception at The Capital Grille on October 10, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

Game of Thrones is coming to an end, but HBO is developing five prequel shows, although we’ve yet to hear much about them. We do know HBO tasked a screenwriter to each of the projects, with an eye toward one or more of them airing as early as 2020. One of those screenwriters, Academy Award-winner Brian Helgeland*, discussed the uphill climb any successor to Thrones will have while speaking with The Indian Express, saying there are “[There are] a lot of ways to go wrong and only a few ways to get it right.”

[Game of Thrones]The show is very loved all around the world by everybody. [A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R.] Martin has created a world which everyone feels is real. They love to watch the characters, they feel they are very much alive and that is such an amazing thing to have been done. The chances of failing are much greater than the chances of succeeding.

Although the details are scarce, Martin is reportedly working with all the screenwriters on their projects to varying degrees, and said he’d prefer the prequel shows “happen with my participation and guidance.”

But whatever struggles his new show has, Helgeland is hopeful. “I do not think that it will fail. It will succeed, but it is a new version of it. Making it is very difficult. So, there is a lot of pressure on us to make it right and make it good.”

Of course, what fans most what to know is what Helgeland’s prequel script is about; the when, the where, and the who. Helgeland came through…sort of:

I can only speak for my own. But I think the intention is to stay geographically in that world but to tell a completely different story from a different point of view. So it is still Westeros.

It might be a story which happened hundreds of years before the story that people are watching now, or could even be a story that happened 100 years after the story that they are watching now.

Helgeland’s comment about the story potentially occurring 100 years after the current series is over is new. Based on comments from Martin himself, we were under the impression that these shows would only be set in the past, although it’s possible that Helgeland was just speaking broadly. The bigger takeaway is that they won’t intersect with events or characters from Game of Thrones. Helgeland doesn’t expect any of the current stars to make a cameo, at least not in his project. “I think it will be all new. I am speaking of my own.” Sorry, Kit Harington fans.

Finally, Helgeland expressed his admiration for Martin and his literary creations:

I always tell him that he is in a wrong century. He should have been living in the 19th century at the time of Charles Dickens. He doesn’t seem like a person from the 21st century. He has done amazing things and created a world that is made up, but you feel it is completely real. It is a great responsibility to try to honour all that.

Hopefully we’ll find out whether Helgeland’s project goes forward sooner rather than later.

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*Helgeland won an Oscar for adapting the screenplay for L.A. Confidential, and was nominated for another for writing Mystic River. Not a bad resume.