HBO considering Robert’s Rebellion series, other Game of Thrones shows

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

I have good news and bad news, and it’s the same: HBO is looking into making yet more Game of Thrones prequel series.

Game of Thrones ended in 2019, but before that, HBO had already laid plans to develop prequel series. Several were suggested, with one ultimately going forward and made into a pilot: Blood Moon, about the origins of the White Walkers. It got cancelled, and HBO went forward with House of the Dragon instead, all about the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. And just earlier today, we learned that HBO is considering making a show based on Tales of Dunk and Egg, a smaller-scale story based on a series of novellas set some 90 years before Game of Thrones.

And that’s just to start. Entertainment Weekly now reveals that HBO is looking to produce more series set in the universe George R.R. Martin created in his Song of Ice and Fire series, including a show based on Robert’s Rebellion, the war that put Robert Baratheon on the throne mere decades before the beginning of Game of Thrones. That one could be particularly interesting because it would involve younger versions of characters we know pretty well from the main show, including Ned Stark, Catelyn Stark, Littlefinger and Tywin Lannister.

For that series, HBO is reportedly talking to Bruno Heller, the guy who created the short-lived HBO historical drama Rome, which laid the groundwork for Game of Thrones. That said, no writer is attached yet. It’s early days for all of these projects.

And apparently there are more we haven’t heard of. Perhaps they’ll revive some of the ideas that didn’t make the first cut of spinoffs, like the rumored one about the fall of the Valyrian Empire. It should also be noted that this initial push didn’t include a show about Robert’s Rebellion or Dunk and Egg. In Not a Blog post published in 2017, Martin had reservations about both of them. About a Robert’s Rebellion show, he wrote:

"We’re not doing Robert’s Rebellion either. I know thousands of you want that, I know there’s a petition… but by 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."

So between then and now, Martin either changed his mind or HBO decided to move forward without him. He’s been curiously silent lately about new developments with House of the Dragon; you can draw your own conclusions about what, if anything, that means.

Obviously I’m excited to get more shows set in Westeros and beyond. But I’m also concerned that HBO might doing it for the wrong reasons. HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia is pouring a ton of resources into its streaming service HBO Max, and it wants content for it. Disney is planning a content blitz over on its own Disney+ service, preparing literally dozens of Star Wars and Marvel shows to run concurrently over the next few years. This seems like an attempt to ape Disney’s strategy so WarnerMedia can compete in the streaming space. The Game of Thrones shows might still be great, but I worry that the franchise could get overexposed, or that each individual show won’t get the attention it needs because creative resources are spread too thin.

Also, Game of Thrones shows wouldn’t be in conversation with each other the way Star Wars or Marvel shows are. All of these series take place years — sometimes hundreds or even thousands of years — apart. If HBO really wants to go whole hog on this, I think it’d be better to do one show at a time: maybe have House of the Dragon air first, get a few seasons out of that, then go forward some years and do Dunk and Egg, and then forward yet more for Robert’s Rebellion, and so on.

I worry about the form, too. Robert’s Rebellion in the particular seems like it might be better suited for a miniseries than an all-out TV show, and for all I know, that’s what HBO is planning.

Or maybe I should just shut up and be happy that we’re going to get so many more adventures in Westeros (and Essos). What do you make of all this?

Next. 20 new shows that could become the next Game of Thrones. dark

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