It just came out that HBO is developing a Game of Thrones sequel series about Jon Snow, with Kit Harington returning to the main role. Discuss.
DAN: Okay, between the hyper-ventilations, I feel it’s important to point out something about the Jon Snow show right here at the top: it’s not a sure thing. In his initial reporting, James Hibberd is careful to point out that Kit Harington will only return to the role of the broodiest bastard in Westeros “should a series move forward.” At the moment, the only Game of Thrones spinoff — prequel or sequel — that’s been officially greenlit is House of the Dragon, which is coming this August. “We developed a lot of [Game of Thrones spinoff] ideas,” HBO exec Kara Buckley said recently, “[b]ut, we don’t feel the need to make another one unless it feels really creatively exciting to us.”
That said, WHOA who saw this coming? We’ve learned of plenty of Game of Thrones spinoffs in early development at HBO, but up until now they’d all been prequels, from a show based on George R.R. Martin’s Dunk and Egg novellas to an animated series about the Golden Empire of Yi Ti. To make a sequel show…that’s crossing the Rubicon. That’s opening the floodgates. You don’t come back from that.
…again, IF it happens. Honestly, my first reaction is trepidation. I don’t feel like enough time has passed to revisit Jon’s story. What happened to him after he went beyond the Wall in the series finale? Did he join the wildlings or was he just escorting them back to their lands before he returns to Castle Black and resumes his post in the Night’s Watch? I don’t think I’m ready to find out!
Then again, how much longer is Kit Harington going to be able to convincingly play a young-ish Jon Snow? It could be really fun, although if they’re going to do this, I think I’d prefer a movie to a series. I think of it as a film that would capstone Jon’s story the way El Camino capped off Jesse Pinkman’s following the end of Breaking Bad. But maybe they’re envisioning something bigger? The mind reels at the possibilities.
I could play out those possibilities for pages, but I’m really curious to hear all of your opinions on this. Sound off!
CHELSEA: I think my first reaction was “I’m sorry what”?
I’m definitely surprised. I sort of figured GoT was pulling a Star Wars and not continuing the story on the timeline and just going back and filling in past stories and characters. I am curious if/how George R.R. Martin will contribute to the story, especially since he seems a bit busy not finishing Winds of Winter.
I’m cautiously optimistic, but I’ll definitely watch it when it comes out.
ASHLEY: Whenever we talk about potential Game of Thrones spinoff shows, we mostly think about exploring the history of Westeros. For instance, House of the Dragon is set two centuries before the events of Game of Thrones. Dunk & Egg, Robert’s Rebellion, and Ten Thousand Ships would all be prequels. Given the rich history of Westeros, they seem like logical areas to explore.
That said, HBO appears to have other ideas. We’re reportedly getting a Jon Snow series that nobody asked for, and I’m not complaining; not yet, anyway. We’ll see how things pan out. I’m sure the return of Kit Harrington alone will be more than enough to drive fans back to the franchise.
If they’re willing to do a Jon Snow series, how about an Arya show? In the closing moments of season 8, she was sailing away to find new lands. Her ending set up for a continuation. Now that we know HBO is interested in continuing the story, an Arya show seems the obvious direction to go in.
As Chelsea notes, I’m very curious to know how involved George R.R. Martin will be in the spinoff.
DANIEL: I totally agree with you Ashley, I thought if any character from the original series was going to get a spinoff it was going to be Arya. But clearly, we knew nothing. HBO is developing a spinoff about Jon Snow. I’m just going to keep repeating those words to myself until they feel real.
My initial response to this announcement was gibbering shock; how do you even process such a bombshell? Exploring previous eras of history or already established lore is a much safer move for HBO then a straight-up sequel that carries on the story of one of Thrones’ main characters. I am so curious what George R.R. Martin’s thoughts are on this development. Continuing Jon’s story fundamentally changes the nature of Game of Thrones; it means that “the end” wasn’t really the end. It’d be like if someone made a Lord of the Rings sequel about Aragorn ruling Gondor. It feels like madness.
At the same time, there’s a bit of a precedent for this kind of thing. Dexter did it, and Star Wars has a few times now. I guess I just didn’t expect it to happen with Game of Thrones, and absolutely not this early. Obviously Kit Harington is perfect in the role as Jon Snow; obviously I’m going to watch, and get hype, and root for this thing. But I think the onus is on HBO to really justify making such a bold project. They have much more to prove with this one than any of their other spinoff projects…
…IF it gets made. Dan’s caveat is very, very important. We all saw what happened to Blood Moon. A lot can happen during the development of a show, and this one feels especially risky.
That said, it’s hard for me to really get away from my initial excitement. HBO has so far been doing a good job of not going wild cashing in on Game of Thrones spinoffs, in spite of all our trepidation they might go the Disney or Netflix route and overdo it. They’ve announced a lot, but so far have proceeded at a very slow and deliberate pace. If there’s a good enough story behind this thing, then it could be really exciting. It could open the door for other Game of Thrones characters to reprise their roles, too!
MICHAEL: As excited as I am about returning to the world we love at the time we love, I do have a few worries about a Jon Snow-centric show. Just how much material can you get out of his time north of the Wall? And when he travels south, which will surely happen, the audience would undoubtedly expect to be seeing the characters we’re familiar with. If we got to that point, aren’t we then just watching season 9 of Game of Thrones?
Is this going to become an unofficial way of bringing back Game of Thrones to right the perceived “wrongs” of the Game of Thrones finale?
Some people have pointed out that, with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Disney seems to have lost faith that Star Wars can stand on its own with new scenarios and locations. Over 40 years later, we’re still watching Darth Vader and Obi-Wan. Is HBO following suit?
We’re starting to see a little too much of this in sci-fi and fantasy. Star Trek has returned to the tried and tested formula of the Original Series with Strange New Worlds, and Doctor Who is bringing back David Tennant. If House of the Dragon isn’t as popular as we hope while a Jon Snow series succeeds, might that lock HBO into a cycle of repeating Game of Thrones’ biggest hits over and over again?
And I do worry about the shows moving away from George R.R. Martin’s material. For me, Game of Thrones was at its best when it stuck as close to the books as possible.
That’s a lot of negativity, which might sound strange as I’m pretty excited, and I still want to see it. I agree completely that a movie would be a better idea than a full series or perhaps a limited run like Kenobi.
ARIBA: Wow, a Jon Snow spin-off! We didn’t think they’d go there and we especially didn’t think they’d drop this completely unexpected news on us during a random Thursday night. But alas, here we are, and boy, do I have mixed feelings about it.
Part of me is excited is to see Kit Harington return as Jon Snow. No matter how the final season went down, my heart beats for Harington. Plus, I’m super curious about what Jon Snow got up to following the events of the final season of Game of Thrones. He rode off into the sunset with the wildlings and went beyond the Wall, but what exactly was he planning to do? Is he officially joining them? Will he go back to Castle Black? Or will we get something unexpected? The series could go in many, many directions; I’m just hoping it’s the right one. IF they do this right, then I daresay we are in for a treat.
My only qualm about this series is that HBO might be trying to tie up some loose ends from Game of Thrones’ final season. Is this their attempt to right some wrongs? It could be, and if they are attempting to take that route, then this could get tricky. People are still very bitter about the ending, and if they try to appease the audience and fail again, well, this will not bode well for all the projects they have coming up.
I’m going to err on the side of caution and manage my expectations, but I can’t suppress the part of me that is super excited to see a continuation of the story we left behind. I didn’t love the ending, but I still think Game of Thrones is one of the best shows of our time. If we have an opportunity to see how one character’s journey continues, and that character just so happens to be Jon Snow, then so be it!