Game of Thrones ends on May 20, but fans can be encouraged by news that HBO is working on three spin-offs of the record-breaking fantasy series.
At least that’s what’s happening according to George RR Martin, author of the original novels that spawned the world of Westeros.
In a recent personal blog, Martin wrote that of five Game of Thrones “successor shows” – he “mislikes” the term spin-offs – originally mooted, “three of them are still moving forward nicely”.
One show “will be shooting this year, and two other shows remain in the script stage but are edging closer”, Martin said.
One new series was to be called The Long Night, but that might not be possible now because it was used as the name of a recent episode.
Martin has said the shows remaining in “active” development will be prequels “set in different periods and featuring different characters” and storylines.
“We do have an entire world and tens of thousands of years of history to play with, after all. But this is television, so nothing is certain.”
The author isn’t telling what the shows he mentioned will be about, but suggested there could be clues in his 2018 book Fire & Blood, a fictional history of Westeros.
HBO has been clear that it wants to get maximum mileage out of its pop culture behemoth.
Last month it said it had canned one of its Game of Thrones spinoff concepts, with writer Bryan Cogman saying the network “decided to go a different way” with the future of its GoT money spinners.
Two years ago, HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys denied reports of four spin-offs to Entertainment Weekly.
“That’s not what’s going on. The bar set by [creators David Benioff and DB Weiss] is so high that my hope is to get one show that lives up to it.”
What is definite is that production of a pilot for the main spin-off is ramping up.
Written and created by Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Secret Service, X-Men: First Class), the show takes place thousands of years before the main Game of Thrones saga.
Australian Naomi Watts has signed to play “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret”, reported Variety.
Watts will be reportedly be joined by a cast that includes Josh Whitehouse (Poldark), Naomi Ackie (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) and John Heffernan (Collateral, Dracula).
The pilot drama is set during a time known by Game of Thrones characters as the Age of Heroes.
HBO has said the series will chronicle “the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.”
They teased, “From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East, to the Starks of legend … it’s not the story we think we know.”
Martin told EW that none of the Game of Thrones characters would appear in the new show, and that “Westeros is a very different place” in the unnamed pilot.
“There’s no King’s Landing. There’s no Iron Throne. There are no Targaryens.
“We’re dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series.”
HBO has hinted it won’t rush any spin-offs. The green-lit pilot could be a few years off yet.