With Game of Thrones nearing the end of its run, fans are already looking ahead to the show's spin-off. Here's what we know so far about HBO's Thrones followup.
When will it air?
Not any time soon. HBO programming president Casey Bloys has made it clear that the network has no plans to air any of their spin-offs until well after Game of Thrones has wrapped.
"The number one priority in all of this is the final season of Game of Thrones. I don't want to do anything with a spin-off, or anything that detracts, or distracts from that," he explained at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour. "That season will happen, and my guess is it would be at least a year before you saw anything else. What I don't want is the attention to be drawn from the final season—which I think is going to be epic and amazing—and somehow have the distraction of a new Game of Thrones airing right after that. It's best to separate it, and that's what we'll do."
No official premiere has been set for Game of Thrones Season 8, but it could be as late as 2019 (cue the collective moan of Thrones fans everywhere). With that in mind, don't count on seeing a spin-off premiere before 2020.
^Footage of us when a spin-off finally airs.
What will it be about?
Short answer: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Long answer: HBO actually has four ideas for Thrones followups in the works. The network has confirmed that the potential spin-offs (which they prefer to call "successor shows") are all prequels. While many have speculated that the prequel could tell the story of Robert's Rebellion, it's much more likely HBO will opt to tell a story that's very very far removed from the events of Game of Thrones.
The history and geography of George R.R. Martin's universe is vast, so the options are almost endless. A story set in Essos or one of the Seven Kingdoms we've spent less time in on GOT (like Dorne, for example) seem like strong possibilities.
On the possibility that the prequels could catching up with the beginning of Thrones, Bloys says, "The whole world is connected to some extent family tree-wise, and the timelines are so vast that unless you jumped ahead tens or hundreds of years, I don't see that happening."
In November 2018, George R.R. Martin shared some details about the prequel's plot with Entertainment Weekly. The series, which might be called The Long Night, will be set 5,000 years before the current series—which, tragically, means no dragons.
"Westeros is a very different place," Martin explained of the sequel. "There’s no King’s Landing. There’s no Iron Throne. There are no Targaryens—Valyria has hardly begun to rise yet with its dragons and the great empire that it built. We’re dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series."
In a statement, HBO said that the story of the prequel "chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: 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."
Will any of the original cast be involved?
No. Definitely not. Bloys has made that explicitly clear.
"Truly, I think it will go down as one of the best shows in the history of television. It would be insane for a network not to at least entertain the idea of a successor shows—I was going to say 'prequel' but they're not spin-offs because there are no existing characters going off the flagship," he explained to THR. "It's not Laverne & Shirley from Happy Days; they are prequels. But 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."
Who will star in the spin-off show?
Naomi Watts—but that's literally all we know so far.
Will the 'Game of Thrones' creators be involved?
Nope. HBO gave them the opportunity to be involved, but they aren't interested. They've spent more than a decade working on Game of Thrones, and they're ready to pass the torch and move on to other projects—which is understandable.
"In conversations with them, they feel if their name is on the prequels—even in a passive way—it conveys some sort of expectation or responsibility," Bloys told Entertainment Weekly. They want to enjoy the show as fans and don't want to worry about the scripts or production issues. We were hoping to have their names on it out of respect for them, but we understand why they don't want that."
^Footage of the Game of Thrones creators leaving this show.
Will George R.R. Martin be involved?
Probably. He's reportedly cowriting two of the four potential prequels that are in development and he's available as a resource to all of the writers. The extent of his involvement ultimately depends on which series (if any) gets picked up, and how much the showrunner for that show wants Martin to be involved—which could range from very to barely.
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Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
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