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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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Matheus Ervall
May. 15th, 2017 08:31 pm (UTC)
If there was a God, and if he was a good and all powerful god, he would surely stop the flow of time for the entire Universe except George and his MSdos computer and give him as much time as he needs to complete ASOIAF.

Until this grand event occurs I will go on calling myself an atheist, I can not believe in a god that does not do everything in his power to complete ASOIAF...NOW!
May. 15th, 2017 08:36 pm (UTC)
I'm excited for all of it!
Keep it up, George! I'm missing home (New Mexico) and your bit about chile rellenos made me pretty hungry. What's your favorite New Mexican food in Santa Fe? (And dare I ask? Red or Green?)
May. 15th, 2017 10:43 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm excited for all of it!
Christmas, of course.
Ian Goss
May. 15th, 2017 08:46 pm (UTC)
My vote. The story of how jalabhar xho lost his kingdom. It's a wide open format with little to no existing lore, this would give the show runners broad movement to develope this story from the ground up without having to navigate the snares and pitfalls of the deep established history in westeros

Edited at 2017-05-15 08:46 pm (UTC)
May. 15th, 2017 08:47 pm (UTC)
Are you still working on Winds of Winter ? Just a joke... but I want to say "Ras-le-bol " about the TV SHOWS (I'm French). I want books with a lot of pages and words on it !
Erika Schwab
May. 15th, 2017 08:47 pm (UTC)
My hope..
Personally I would love to see the a story around the long night. I would find it very interesting to see the reality and how that differs from the folklore in asoif.
May. 15th, 2017 08:56 pm (UTC)
The struggle is real
I sure hope the novel I am writing never becomes popular because I'm the slowest writer ever. At least you have TONS of stuff you're working on. What's my excuse? None. I'm not even suffering writer's block. Maybe the opposite. Is that a real thing? Having too many ideas that stop you from writing? Well, I suppose so.
May. 15th, 2017 09:02 pm (UTC)
Hello from Orenburg (Russia)!

Orenburg a fan of the Targaryen.

But everyone believes that Russia should be on the side of Snow... It is here that his homeland.

Orenburg shawl waiting for you in Orenburg. Welcome to Orenburg)))

Sameer Mawai
May. 15th, 2017 09:09 pm (UTC)
Please shoot in India..
You have a huge fan following here..
Might as well get some acting talents, like me, of course.. :p
Morever, we are a land of magic, and kingdoms and history..
And connecting westeros with the Indian subcontinent would surely create a great storyline.. :-)
Love Love Love ;-)

Edited at 2017-05-15 09:11 pm (UTC)
Simmy San
May. 15th, 2017 09:14 pm (UTC)
this is such awesome news!! thank you for taking on so much work to bring your world to us!! Would LOVE to see ANYTHING targaryen-related, if you would so oblige.

Also, if you need an assistant to help you with TWOW holler!!
May. 15th, 2017 09:19 pm (UTC)
You didn't say they're not gonna do Rogue Prince / Princess & The Queen material.

This would make sense. The source material covers a lot but is written sparsely enough to leave lots of blanks for HBO to fill in. It's filled with iconic moments like the dragon battles over Blackwater Bay and the Gods Eye, the storming of the Dragon Pit, Blood & Cheese, The Queen being fed to the dragon, ect.

And if they don't have ridiculously overpaid celebrity actors they could actually afford the dragon CGI.

May. 15th, 2017 09:22 pm (UTC)
Time to Let Go of Wild Cards

I'm sorry, but your going to have to pass the Wild Cards torch to someone else. I know you helped create the world and have been actively involved from the beginning, but something has to give. You mention how you wish you could clone yourself or wish there were more hours in the day. If you realistically want to finish ASOIAF and Dunk and Egg, you should pass the Wild Cards torch to another. I know this would be painful, but with all the great writers you know it would be in good hands.
May. 15th, 2017 10:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Time to Let Go of Wild Cards
Ah... no.

I love all my children equally.
Julian Camilo Polania Trujillo
May. 15th, 2017 09:22 pm (UTC)
The true dance of dragons ...
the princess and the queen , or the rogue prince, incoming ???? oh boy.
May. 15th, 2017 09:23 pm (UTC)
Other Projects - Gaming
Besides all of the above news, I noticed a game company has announced a "official" Song of Ice and Fire miniature game (apparently in conjunction with Dark Sword miniatuers).

I assume this has your blessing (it appears to be base on the novels not the TV serais judging from the look of the prototype figures).

They are doing a Kick Starter campaign and many are considering "donating".

Have they asked for your input re rules etc.?

Glad your back and please don't let me distract you from Winds...

Thomas J. Thomas
May. 15th, 2017 10:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Other Projects - Gaming

Dark Sword Miniatures has been making brilliant Ice & Fire minis for more than a decade. Many sculpted by the amazing Tom Meier, based on the books, not the show.

Now they have gotten together with CMON (Cool Mini or Not) to do a miniatures game. It should be outstanding.
Re: Other Projects - Gaming - starkdad - May. 16th, 2017 08:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mark Littlehead
May. 15th, 2017 09:54 pm (UTC)
I really hope that one of the scripts for the next show is a dance of dragons one. For me personally that story would be magnificent for a tv series. Also Aegons Conquest.
May. 15th, 2017 10:18 pm (UTC)
Dick Direwolf. Well done.
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George R.R. Martin
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