Though Game of Thrones returns for its penultimate season this coming weekend, the cable channel has turned some of its attention to a successor show. Four of them, in fact. But none will feature your favorite characters.
In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, HBO president of programming Casey Bloys said the other show concepts — should any make it to air — will not feature any of the “existing characters” from Game of Thrones. “It’s not Laverne & Shirley from Happy Days; they are prequels,” he explained. In the case of Happy Days, characters like Mork from Ork and Chachi were established on the mothership show before finds success (Mork & Mindy) or failure (Joannie Loves Chachi) out on their own. And while it might be fun to watch seven seasons of The Journey of Bronn, it makes sense not to go in that direction.
Instead, the plan is to go backwards in time. Utilizing the scores of history referenced or presented in A Song of Ice and Fire offers near limitless options in keeping George R.R. Martin’s world alive on HBO. “It would be insane — with a universe like George has created that is so vast and has so many characters and so many timelines — to not, at least, entertain the idea, which is what we’re doing,” Bloys said. As reported in May, Kong: Skull Island‘s Max Borenstein, Jane Goldman of Kick-Ass fame, Legend‘s Brian Helgeland and The Leftovers‘ Carly Wray are all developing four separate show ideas based on some of that history. Little else is known of them and even Bloys admits he has not seen outlines or scripts for any of them, calling each of the proposals “embryonic.”
Feel free to speculate on what events could make for good TV. My choice would be the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of Dragons.
But Bloys was quick to confirm that none of these potential series will debut before Game of Thrones finishes its run. He also suggested that HBO will not flood the market with GoT spin-offs despite developing four concepts. “I think overdoing it — like having multiple shows — there’s a risk of diluting the quality and driving it into the ground,” he said, adding that he would have a “high class problem” if two or more of the concepts develop into irresistible ideas.
Which all sounds great, except for the curse of prequel stories. The air is already out as you, the viewer, already know the ultimate end. Caprica, for all its potential, was limited by the confines of Battlestar Galactica. The Hobbit trilogy also suffered from a certain lack of momentum and a the familiarity with Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle-earth. And should Game of Thrones end with an apocalyptic Ice Age, it will definitely kill some of the momentum for, say, the Dance of Dragons. Or, possibly one of these ideas will break the curse and become my next TV obsession.
In the meantime, Game of Thrones returns on Sunday and I can hardly wait.