People always say the journey is more important than the destination, but don’t tell that to Game of Thrones fans. After a historic, zeitgeist-capturing run on HBO, Game of Thrones culminated in a divisive, rushed eighth season that left both fans and critics cold on the whole endeavor. This came after a 2012 poll conducted by Vulture that named Game of Thrones fans as the most devoted fanbase in popular culture. Despite all of this once noteworthy love and admiration, the impact left today from Game of Thrones feels almost like a fever dream.
However, television executives couldn’t ignore the broad, active international fanbase that the series attracted, and before season 8 could sour the taste of the Game of Thrones brand, HBO began hatching ideas for spinoffs, prequels, and companion series. It’s unclear whether new entries in the Game of Thrones universe will help the franchise recapture the white hot intensity of its heyday, but regardless, more adventures in Westeros and Essos are coming. Below you can find all of the details about the slated new entries in the Game of Thrones TV landscape, as well as some projects beheaded before they were given the chance to rule.
House of the Dragon
The first spinoff out of the gate is this look at Targaryen family history, based on events from George R.R. Martin’s Westerosi history book Fire & Blood. Set roughly 170 years before Ned Stark’s ultimately doomed trip to King’s Landing, House of the Dragon will focus on a Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of Dragons. From co-showrunners Ryan Condal (Colony) and Miguel Sapochnik (director of some of Game of Thrones’ biggest spectacle episodes like “The Battle of the Bastards”) the series will star Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Paddy Considine and Matt Smith. House of the Dragon will be executive produced by George R.R. Martin, of course, who will be working closely with the writers (though he promises not to write any scripts until the long-awaited The Winds of Winter is finished.).
Considine will portray King Viserys I Targaryen, a warm and decent king whose death sparks internal family strife over the line of succession. The conflict splits Westeros into two halves, represented by the Greens, who back prince Aegon Targaryen II (casting yet to be announced), and the Blacks, who support the king’s first-born child, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (D’Arcy).
Smith will portray Daemon Targaryen, Rhaenyra’s uncle-husband (sigh, Targaryens, am I right?) who supports her claim, while Olivia Cooke plays Alicent Hightower, Viserys’s second wife and the daughter of his Hand, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans).
The rest of the cast is rounded out by Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, and Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon.
Production will begin on House of the Dragon this spring and the series is slated for a 2022 premiere. The first season will consist of 10 episodes.
Tales of Dunk and Egg
Based on three novellas written by Martin, The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight, the Dunk and Egg stories are set 90-years before the events of Game of Thrones and follow Ser Duncan the Tall, a hedge knight, and his squire “Egg” a.k.a. Aegon V Targaryen, the future king of Westeros and brother of GoT’s Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan). Eventually, King Aegon names Duncan Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, but not before a series of grand adventures. Martin has previously said that he plans to publish anywhere from 6-12 novellas and would prefer if the stories were finished before a television series begins development, but maybe he should worry about Winds of Winter first and let us have our fun. According to Variety, this Tales of Dunk and Egg spinoff is a “high priority” for HBO.
There’s a reason why Arya Stark named her direwolf Nymeria. The name was a reference to the warrior queen and ancestor to House Martell (whose full House name is actually “Nymeros Martell”) who founded the kingdom of Dorne. Set 1,000 years before the events of GoT, a Nymeria focused project could salvage the reputation of Dorne-based stories, which were a frequent subject of fan criticism during the original show’s run.
The working title for this series is “10,000 Ships”, alluding to the legendary tale of Nymeria fleeing Essos and its dragonlords to cross over into a channel in the Summer Sea, where she burned down her entire fleet of ships so there would be no turning back.
In the hands of Rome and Gotham creator Bruno Heller, “9 Voyages” would follow Lord Corlys Velaryon, a.k.a, The Sea Snake a.k.a. the Lord of the Tides and head of House Velaryon. Velaryon is set to appear in House of the Dragon, portrayed by British actor Steve Toussaint, and the theory must be that Velaryon will be a breakout character necessitating his own series. Deadline reports that this is the most “fully formed” Thrones project besides House of the Dragon and Tales of Dunk and Egg.
Here’s a quote about Corlys, from the writings found in Westeros’ citadel: “Seventy-nine years of age, he had served four kings and a queen, sailed to the ends of the earth, raised House Velaryon to unprecedented levels of wealth and power, married a princess who might have been a queen, fathered dragonriders, built towns and fleets, proved his valor in times of war and his wisdom in times of peace. The Seven Kingdoms would never see his like again.”
Sounds like quite the guy.
Much like the planned HBO Max spinoff of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, Gotham PD, a Flea Bottom series would aim to capture the lives and stories of the common people living in King’s Landing’s poorest district. Though we’ve met former Flea Bottom citizens like Davos Seaworth and Gendry, we haven’t spent much time on those dirty, gritty streets. A Flea Bottom series could be the tonal shift that the Game of Thrones universe needs to re-energize itself and move away from some of the more fantastical elements of the series.
Untitled Animated Series
There are no details, subject matter, or even animation style in place for this pitched foray into the world of animation, but the medium does have a ton of potential to go bigger and farther with the Game of Thrones property than ever before. Whether the episodes take an anthology format detailing individual Westerosi history lessons or the series takes on a huge, winding plot, Martin has published enough backstories and world history to populate Game of Thrones entertainment for a long time. Indeed, throughout the original series run, HBO was fond of running animated explainer clips along with episodes. So there is a precedent for animated Westerosi history.
Abandoned – The Long Night
The first Game of Thrones spinoff to be announced, it was something of a shock when HBO announced that “The Long Night” (“Bloodmoon” was another working title) would not be moving forward. Set in the Age of Heroes, thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, The Long Night was to come from writer Jane Goldman with Naomi Watts set to star.
A pilot was shot in the summer of 2019, but apparently was not strong enough to garner a series pickup. A shaky pilot isn’t entirely surprising; remember, the original Game of Thrones pilot was deemed to be a disaster, resulting in 90 percent of the episode being reshot and key actors being replaced.
Other unnamed projects from Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential), Max Borenstein (Godzilla), and Carly Wray (Mad Men) have also been abandoned.