HBO "actively heating up" development of a new Game of Thrones spinoff: Aegon's Conquest

HBO has been developing a Game of Thrones spinoff about Aegon the Conqueror for a while. It sounds like it's getting closer to the starting line.

House of the Dragon Episode 9 - Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
House of the Dragon Episode 9 - Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

A prequel to a prequel is coming, maybe. The Hollywood Reporter reports that HBO is "actively heating up" discussions about another Game of Thrones spinoff show, this one about Aegon the Conqueror, the Targaryen ruler who united six of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros (Dorne held out) with his sister-wives Rhaenys and Visenya some 300 years before the events of the original series (and about 150 years before the events of House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel show that's already on the air.)

To be clear, this show has not been greenlit, they're just discussing it. Also, this isn't the first we've heard talk of an Aegon the Conqueror show. We last heard about it in April of 2023, when Variety said it was being "actively discussed." According to THR, this version of the show was being developed by Rand Ravich and Far Shariat, and would have portrayed Aegon the Conqueror as a "drunken lout" in the style of William the Conqueror, the real-life Norman king who invaded England in 1066, and on whom Aegon the Conqueror is loosely based.

The main new bit of information we have now is that writer Mattson Tomlin is attached to the spinoff project. He's pretty new to the industry, but got some buzz after doing uncredited script consulting work on 2022's The Batman and getting hired to write The Batman: Part II.

According to a source, the Aegon show would take a "back to basics" approach to George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy universe. As THR points out, it's hard to know what "back to basics" means when the original Game of Thrones show was a sprawling, complex series full of intricate plots and tons of characters with hard-to-pronounce names. House of the Dragon has followed suit. If there is a Game of Thrones formula, complexity is more or less baked into it.

HBO is developing a Game of Thrones spinoff about Aegon the Conqueror, but nothing is final

Over the years, we've heard about a lot of Game of Thrones spinoff projects, most of which haven't gone anywhere. HBO spent $30 million making a pilot for a show called Bloodmoon which would have taken place thousands of years before the original series, but decided not to air it. At various points, HBO has been developing shows about Nymeria of the Rhoynar and Corlys Velaryon, an animated show about the Golden Empire of Yi Ti, and even a sequel series about Jon Snow. None of them have moved out of the idea phase, and without more information, there's no reason to think this Aegon's Conquest show will either.

I say that in part because, in addition to House of the Dragon, HBO has already greenlit one other Game of Thrones spinoff: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, which is based on Martin's Dunk & Egg novellas. That one is set around 90 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

It's hard to predict what will happen at a company run by David Zaslav, but my gut says that HBO doesn't want three Game of Thrones shows on the air at once for fear it would dilute the brand. I'm thinking of what HBO CEO Casey Bloys said at an event last November. “Remember a couple years ago everybody was kind of obsessed with, every time we would put a Game Of Thrones script into development, [saying] ‘oh my God, they’re doing another one, another one, another one.’ And I would always say… I don’t have a plan where I go, ‘Okay, I need three Game Of Thrones on the schedule by this time.’ I’ve always said, we’re gonna do the shows that we think are good,” Bloys explained. “So after the first show, we developed a ton of scripts, and House Of The Dragon came up being the one we felt most excited by. That’s kind of how we approach everything.”

"[I]f you let quality be your guide… that’s a pretty good way to balance it. I think not starting with a preset, ‘We need five tentpoles’… any sort of prescribed amount to fill, and just focusing on quality is a good way to do it."

I think the story of Aegon the Conqueror would make for a good TV show, but not right this minute. It's a little too similar to House of the Dragon, in that it's about an incestuous family of white-blonde dragon-riders flying around and waging war. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a much smaller-scale drama about a knight and his squire wandering around Westeros going on random adventures, so I think it could more easily exist alongside House of the Dragon. I think adding an Aegon show would be too much of a good thing.

However, once House of the Dragon is over, I'd be happy to enjoy more dragon-themed chaos with a show about Aegon the Conqueror. That said, we can't know what exactly what HBO will do. We'll keep our ear to the ground for more.

Next. aegon. 7 actors who should play Aegon the Conqueror in new Game of Thrones prequel. dark

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