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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.

Comments

( 189 comments )
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Kwame Kimane
May. 15th, 2017 03:23 pm (UTC)
Finish the Book!
Take a break, let the other authors run with the script if they know the world so well...finish the BOOK!
mktesq
May. 15th, 2017 03:28 pm (UTC)
Robert's Rebellion
I'm somewhat forlorn over this development. I completely understand about Dunk and Egg, but Robert's Rebellion is something that I've wanted to see for some time.

I know it is not this way for some people, but I love history and even though I know what happens in the Civil War, World War I and II, Vietnam, etc., I still like reading about history and seeing the history come alive. Maybe Robert's Rebellion wouldn't be a 6 season series, but it could be a hell of a one season and done. Sure we readers know what happen, but didn't we know what happened in the GOT HBO series as book readers? We still love it. The show is more than just the source material (as wonderful as it is). It's about seeing places that we haven't visited before, seeing characters that we've only read about, the performances of the actors, etc. There may not be any "twists" but ask M. Night Shyamalan about needing to put twists in every movie has taken him.

Anyway, I'm reading the series for a third time now (this time on iBooks which I am surprisingly enjoying more than I ever thought I could) and I'm loving it all the same.
MonstersSee
May. 15th, 2017 03:38 pm (UTC)
successor show idea
My guess would be... the creation of the Night's Watch. All those mysteries beyond the Wall, and the land that is always Winter. Now that would be very cool.
ghostsandrobots
May. 15th, 2017 03:55 pm (UTC)
Even though it's probably not what you wanted originally, I am fascinated by GOT getting ahead of the books. It seems like a novel situation. No pun intended.

sevastra82
May. 15th, 2017 03:58 pm (UTC)
Personally....
Personally, I'd love to see a story set in Yi-Ti. That is a whole region of Planetos that hasn't ever been touched in the Novels and is only mentioned in AWOIAF.
Gabriel “Andre” Molina
May. 15th, 2017 04:09 pm (UTC)
What about the ice dragon
I just want an ice dragon
DeHieloyFuego
May. 15th, 2017 04:14 pm (UTC)
Clone yourself, Mr. Martín?. I think that's impossible. Even in writing and drool ... well, maybe Patrick Rothfuss is close, but he does not become a clone.
Roger Rocamora
May. 15th, 2017 04:32 pm (UTC)
Two ideas for new series
Thanks for clarifying George! And I love that Dunk and Egg are not being adapted so that we can first experience their new stories in written form, as they were intended to!

I remember that in some interview long ago you mentioned that you had a couple of ideas for new stories set in the Westeros world. One was a novel on Aegon the Unworthy, and the other a murder mystery set in the Free Cities. I wonder if those are the two ideas that you submitted to HBO.

Edited at 2017-05-15 04:48 pm (UTC)
grrm
May. 15th, 2017 10:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Two ideas for new series
Nope.
Re: Two ideas for new series - ADragonDemands - May. 15th, 2017 11:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Marc Andr
May. 15th, 2017 04:58 pm (UTC)
The "Shared universe" orientation works rather well for the Wild Cards novels, and it looks to me that the A Song and Fire universe is somehow on the same path for the silver screen. Any thoughts of ever going that way too for the novels? Not now of course, but after the main series of book is completed.

Edited at 2017-05-15 05:15 pm (UTC)
gaspassman
May. 15th, 2017 06:01 pm (UTC)
George, I have never enjoyed any books half so much as the Fire and Ice series. I know I am far from being alone. The TV shows are great, and I'm very excited about these new shows. I am concerned however about the quality that will almost certainly drop, just like all the star trek series. But that's not why I'm writing this. I know that this message will not be posted, because it is critical of what you're doing. This message is just for you George from a fan that loves your work. I am upset because I think you should prioritize giving back to the fans that put you in the position in the first place that allows you to work on all these projects. When we allowed you guide us though this journey, we have a reasonable expectation that you will see us through. Instead you've only given us doubt that the journey will ever finish. Instead of focusing on completing the journey, we see you focusing on accolades, and what more you can do to earn the adoration of more fans. If this message to you makes you angry, then you must know I have a point. Thank you for all of the wonderful work you've done so far.
aegonvivelaryon
May. 15th, 2017 06:28 pm (UTC)
I wonder..
The Dance per chance?

If so, please don't let them butcher/cut House Velaryon like they did on GoT. I'm thinking of the Seasnake in particular, the self-made Tywin Lannister of the time.. Addam & Alyn, Baela & Rhaena and of course Rhaenys, Laena and Laenor if you're doing the Rogue Prince as well. I absolutely hated the fact that I couldn't spot the Pride of Driftmark during the Battle of the Blackwater and was cheated out of Stannis' meetings with his bannermen. Not to mention "Aurane Waters'" manipulations of Cersei. Hmpf! :(

Edited at 2017-05-15 06:39 pm (UTC)
think4yerslf
May. 15th, 2017 07:13 pm (UTC)
Huge SIGH
I Love the TV shows.

I hate the TV shows.
craster_troy
May. 15th, 2017 07:41 pm (UTC)
Clone?
Clone yourself you say... I would rather that we focus the research on making you live forever. Cloning would be too risky. No way to know whether we would get more of the brilliant writer or just create your evil twin. With eternal life we would know what we got. But then again, all the rest of us would need to live forever too... Hmm... no easy fix to that one ;)
abosaud
May. 15th, 2017 07:56 pm (UTC)
Great News !
I feared that you would not be really involved in the successer show, May i suggest aganist doing a show about The Dance of Dragons, because it would be too Targaryan-focused.

Good luck !
Arinjai Singh
May. 15th, 2017 08:01 pm (UTC)
Exciting news.
Thanks for sharing such exciting news with us. I hope the shows are as good as Game of Thrones and give us stories that we can cherish in the time to come.
I'm gladly waiting for The Winds of Winter and wish you the best in completing it.
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( 189 comments )

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