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About Those Spinoffs...

So while I was on the road out California way, the story broke about the four GAME OF THRONES spinoffs that HBO is developing. And of course the news has since spread everywhere, all over the web and all over the world.

Yes, it's true. More or less. Though, as is all too common these days, various distortions and misapprehensions have crept into some of the reports along the way. And television being the fast-moving business that it is, there have already been some further developments.

For what it's worth, I don't especially like the term "spinoff," and I don't think it really applies to these new projects. What we're talking about are new stories set in the "secondary universe" (to borrow Tolkien's term) of Westeros and the world beyond, the world I created for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. It is a world, and a pretty big one, and if there were eight million stories in the naked city back in the 50s, just think how many more there are in an entire world, and one with thousands of years of recorded history.

None of these new shows will be 'spinning off' from GOT in the traditional sense. We are not talking Joey or AfterMASH or even Frazier or Lou Grant, where characters from one show continue on to another. So all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment. Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set on Westeros. Rather than 'spinoff' or 'prequel,' however, I prefer the term 'successor show.' That's what I've been calling them.

Yes, I am involved, and have been for months. I had my first meeting with HBO about the possibility of a successor show back in August, when I pitched them two possible series. (One of those is among the concepts being developed, one is not). In the months that followed, other writers were brought in and pitched other ideas. Ultimately HBO decided to go ahead with four separate developments, to be written by Max Borenstein, Jane Goldman, Brian Helgeland, and Carly Wray.

It was stated in some of the reports that I am working with two of the four writers. That's not quite right. I've actually been working with all four of the writers. Every one of the four has visited me here in Santa Fe, some of them more than once, and we've spent days together discussing their ideas, the history of Westeros and the world beyond, and sundry details found only in The World of Ice & Fire and The Lands of Ice & Fire... when we weren't drinking margaritas and eating chile rellenos and visiting Meow Wolf. They are all amazing talents, and I am excited to be working with them. In between visits, I've been in touch with them by phone, text, and email, and I expect there will be a lot more back-and-forth as we move forward.

And there's more. We had four scripts in development when I arrived in LA last week, but by the time I left we had five. We have added a fifth writer to the original four. No, I will not reveal the name here. HBO announced the names of the first four, and will no doubt announce the fifth as well, once his deal has closed. He's a really terrific addition, however, a great guy and a fine writer, and aside from me and maybe Elio and Linda, I don't know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as he does.

Some of the reports of these developments seem to suggest that HBO might be adding four successor shows to the schedule to replace GAME OF THRONES. Decades of experience in television and film have taught me that nothing is ever really certain... but I do think it's very unlikely that we'll be getting four (or five) series. At least not immediately. What we do have here is an order for four -- now five -- pilot scripts. How many pilots will be filmed, and how many series might come out of that, remains to be seen. (If we do get five series on the air, I might have to change my name to Dick Direwolf).

The one goal that EVERYONE involved shares here is to make these new shows just as good as GAME OF THRONES itself. No easy task, mind you. David Benioff and Dan Weiss are a tough, tough act to follow, as all those Emmys demonstrate.

I can't tell you what the shows will be about (well, I could, but I won't), but I will tell you a couple of things they WON'T be. Which will disappoint some of you, sure, but better to do that now than later, I think.

We're not doing Dunk & Egg. Eventually, sure, I'd love that, and so would many of you. But I've only written and published three novellas to date, and there are at least seven or eight or ten more I want to write. We all know how slow I am, and how fast a television show can move. I don't want to repeat what happened with GAME OF THRONES itself, where the show gets ahead of the books. When the day comes that I've finished telling all my tales of Dunk & Egg, then we'll do a tv show about them... but that day is still a long ways off.

We're not doing Robert's Rebellion either. I know thousands of you want that, I know there's a petition... but by the time I finish writing A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, you will know every important thing that happened in Robert's Rebellion. There would be no surprises or revelations left in such a show, just the acting out of conflicts whose resolutions you already know. That's not a story I want to tell just now; it would feel too much like a twice-told tale.

More than that, I will not say. Feel free to makes your guesses, if you like... but I am not going to be confirming or denying anything, so don't expect replies.

And yes, before someone asks, I AM STILL WORKING ON WINDS OF WINTER and will continue working on it until it's done. I will confess, I do wish I could clone myself, or find a way to squeeze more hours into the day, or a way to go without sleep. But this is what it is, so I keep on juggling. WINDS OF WINTER, five successor shows, FIRE AND BLOOD (that's the GRRMarillion, remember?), four new Wild Cards books, some things I can't tell you about yet... it's a good thing I love my work.


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Lorinda Dishington Ortiz
May. 15th, 2017 12:13 am (UTC)
So excited!
If I had to choose I would want a series about the fall of Valyria and another about life in Westeros when the First Men arrived.
May. 15th, 2017 03:29 am (UTC)
Re: So excited!
Would the Doom of Valyria plausibly work as a TV series?

It lasted *exactly one day*.
RE: Re: So excited! - nosekills - May. 15th, 2017 06:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: So excited! - mekelan - May. 15th, 2017 08:47 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: So excited! - Tomy Gamba - May. 15th, 2017 10:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: So excited! - Lorinda Dishington Ortiz - May. 15th, 2017 10:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: So excited! - Dane Meyer - May. 15th, 2017 12:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: So excited! - noybusiness - May. 15th, 2017 04:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: So excited! - werthead - May. 15th, 2017 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: So excited! - 0neamongmany - May. 16th, 2017 02:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Brad Thomas
May. 15th, 2017 12:18 am (UTC)

Thanks for all of this George. Some days I can barely tie my shoes let alone have 62 different things going on at once. Cheers.

Dan Koifman
May. 15th, 2017 12:22 am (UTC)
This is all very exciting. I can't wait.

Will any of these five prequels be a regular multi-season series or will they all be miniseries as the leaks have suggested?
May. 15th, 2017 12:26 am (UTC)
it's a good thing I love my work
May. 15th, 2017 12:36 am (UTC)
Amazing News
And...we love your work too. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Al Mata
May. 15th, 2017 12:41 am (UTC)
Hmmmm...The War for the Dawn? Or a chance to see how Balerion measures up to Smaug with the Targaryen Conquest of Westeros? Yes please on both! :)
May. 15th, 2017 03:28 am (UTC)
For the Nth time: Smaug is a sapient, self-aware, and cunning creature, while Balerion only has animal-level intelligence. GRRM has repeatedly stated that, as a result, yes, Smaug could beat Balerion.
(no subject) - Al Mata - May. 15th, 2017 03:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 15th, 2017 12:46 am (UTC)
glad they are prequels..we need more dragons in our lives & still have faith in WoW
Mike Bruno
May. 15th, 2017 12:48 am (UTC)
The show not acknowledging the Blackfyre rebellions is sort of a major roadblock to doing a Dunk & Egg show, no?
May. 15th, 2017 03:21 am (UTC)
Oh...they acknowledge them, just only in the animated "Histories & Lore" featurettes. Just because the live-action episodes haven't mentioned much about them doesn't mean they don't exist.

By the same logic...well they do *mention* Maegor and the Faith Militant in the live-action episodes, but so vaguely that you wouldn't know what it was, though the animated featurettes do cover it.
(no subject) - Mike Bruno - May. 15th, 2017 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Tim O'Connor
May. 15th, 2017 12:58 am (UTC)
Keep up the good work
Love you work! Been a fan since the show began, picked up the books after that (including works outside of ASOIAF). Cheers!
May. 15th, 2017 01:08 am (UTC)
No idea what the spin offs will be about, but it's fun as a reader to think about the possibilities, especially when it comes to subjects in Planetos I'd like to know more about. I'd love to learn more about the 9 voyages of Corlys Velaryon, the Doom of Valyria, Asshai, Five Forts and the far east, the mysterious greasy black stone found throughout the land, or even House Farwynd's desire to sail west. What of I'm sure about, however, is that whatever the series is going to be about it'll be amazing and I'm going to watch.
May. 15th, 2017 05:03 am (UTC)
Great ideas there, but the Corlys Velaryon one in particular is killer, and made me think of Lomas Longstrider, which would be similar in allowing the show to explore the expansive world!
(no subject) - savatage - May. 15th, 2017 10:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - savatage - May. 15th, 2017 11:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Ancient/Mystical Black Stone - 0neamongmany - May. 16th, 2017 02:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 15th, 2017 01:14 am (UTC)
No Robert's Rebellion? That surprises me, on one level, but doesn't surprise me on another. Aside from every detail being known, I can't help but notice that Robert and Ned win every battle but one during Robert's Rebellion, before decisively winning the war.

A conflict in which the protagonists kick the crap out of their enemies pretty much whenever they meet them would quickly lose a lot of tension, and certainly would provide a jarring contrast from GOT.
Alan Dants
May. 15th, 2017 01:15 am (UTC)
Excellent news
So very excited and everything you said makes a good deal of sense! I think with Robert's Rebellion everyone just wants to see a young Robert absolutely destroying some folks with his warhammer, but as you say, once ASOIAF is over, there will not be any mysteries concerning that time period really, so I'm happy with that choice. And of course we all would love to see Dunk and Egg, but with more stories coming, certainly that would be incomplete and a bridge best crossed when arrived at. I think I'm happiest to know that for the immediate future, I will have a lot of Westeros (and perhaps Essos?) to look forward to on TV. Thanks a million for the updates George.
May. 15th, 2017 01:16 am (UTC)
Dick Direwolf, I get it.
Game of Thrones SEU: Special Eunuchs Unit.

And what do you have against Joey??? That deserved a third season, it was just beginning to hit its stride! You think you could write better television George? Oh wait...
May. 15th, 2017 10:36 am (UTC)
RE: Dick Direwolf, I get it.
Oh my goodness. Tears in my eyes. We most definitely need GoT: SEU.
John Nelson
May. 15th, 2017 01:26 am (UTC)
I struggle with my own time management, and I have everything planned in my day down to a tee. So I understand how hard it must be to get to working on [said book that will not be named, as we all know what i'm talking about], especially with the level of pressure and scheduling in that wacky paced world of TV.

WIth that said, I have no expectations nor "hopes" as to what will be broadcasted with these new pilots. IN FACT the less I assume, the better the chances you have in surprising me. I know it'll all be good. I love them already.
However, I do have *some* requests.
A: I hope for an episode or two featuring an old school BBC/iTV legend or two. (TOM BAKER MAYBE? Ok, I'll settle for any of the Doctors. Be fun as crap if you had the cast of Downton Abbey)

B: I hope for and equally seasoned and talented actor as the so called "legends" (Essie Davis, anyone?) so I can get fan girly and spastic on Facebook. I'm thinking someone like Tom Mison or Tatiana Maslany! In fact: Just make a show revolving around those two.

C: And I hope for at least three brand new up and coming actors whom I can celebrity crush over.

D: Last but not least, I expect anything in the works will provide an excellent framework for Memes, Westerosi stylings.

May. 15th, 2017 01:39 am (UTC)
Loved it!
Give me a prequel about House Gardener and House Durrandon and I will be happy ;)
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George R.R. Martin
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