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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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MisrexXxXx
May. 16th, 2017 03:02 am (UTC)
Please oh please let it be the princes and the queen! I would die happy if I could see that as a show. It would make for such amazing television.
schopenhauer179
May. 16th, 2017 07:02 am (UTC)
Winds of Winter
Take as long as you need to write Winds of Winter George. Speaking of Book series I am already finished with the first book of Maurice Druon's series The Accursed Kings and you were right about it being the original game of thrones.

Edited at 2017-05-16 07:05 am (UTC)
Bernhard Vienna
May. 16th, 2017 07:06 am (UTC)
Please hire Elio and Linda?
Could you please convince HBO to hire Elio and Linda as story consultants? They know their stuff!

Their review videos show how much they know and how much they care about the story and storytelling in general.

They would be a major asset for the new shows!

So please, I am asking for all the book readers!
voodooqueen126
May. 16th, 2017 07:20 am (UTC)
Great to hear about spinoffs
Just please for the sake of all that is good in this world, ensure that atleast half the writers are female. Westerosi history as it appears in the World of Ice and Fire (and the short stories) is full of fascinating and difficult women.
They deserve to be written as characters in their own right, not just objects to further the character arc of a male hero.
jacobsb2440
May. 17th, 2017 02:42 pm (UTC)
RE: Great to hear about spinoffs
What are you talking about. The show has been absolutely gender neutral!!! Right now 2/3 leaders of Westeroes are queens. Dany's, Arya's, and Brienne's arc have been their own. There's stories have nothing to do with enhancing a male plotline. Give me break.
Maximiliano Mateu Garca
May. 16th, 2017 07:55 am (UTC)
Ambitious Latino actor currently working customer service in Spain would love a shot at any of these spinoffs, I'm very hard-working and enthusiastic

If I caught your eye please don't hesitate to write back at maximilianomateu@hotmail.es, I'd be thrilled to play one of your characters

Thank you :)

Edited at 2017-05-16 07:56 am (UTC)
Bru Geraldes
May. 16th, 2017 09:28 am (UTC)
Wonder if there will be "guest" episodes or even considered
Been wondering since i read the news - i mean HBO knows how much we got to love all those characters GRRM created and much more the actors we been accompanying now for years.

I know that a way to ensure fans will keep watching the whole is having episodes crossing the timeline we know and have a short guest appearance of the faces we all know.

Not sure if anything can be said at this point - but i personally would not mind seeing more about all the dear characters (and actors behind them) we lost in previous seasons and those we about to loose in the next season in summer.

Example to make clear what i mean: having an episode in the spin offs featuring John Snow in a guest appearance (i picked John, but it could be Hodor or any character really, just an example)

Hope i could put it in an understandable way as english is not my mother language.
Udita Zara Chakrabarti
May. 16th, 2017 09:59 am (UTC)
The Exodus of the Rhoynar
As long as there is a story on how the Rhoynar fled and became Dorne and (I am guessing Braavos would be founded, not discovered, around the same time), I am a happy fan.

Nymeria is my star!
Alisa Georgieva
May. 16th, 2017 11:17 am (UTC)
An admirer
Half way around the world, here in Bulgaria you have a long list of admirers, and I do count myself as one. I follow your blog almost weekly and have read almost every book you've published that's on the bookshelves. I must say you are a great writer and creator. Your works send me away in magnificent places. Thank you for that and keep up the good work, because I still belive that the world is lost without good literature and every person becomes richer with every book read. Also this year we have the first Comic con in our country, you should visit this part of the world, we have a lot of beautiful sites to visit and inspiratons for many new stories.
Rob Doupe
May. 16th, 2017 12:43 pm (UTC)
Prequels
Tales of the Chain.

Each season is a standalone narrative (a la Fargo or True Detective) about the scheming, mystery, betrayal, and power-plays in a noble household where a maester serves. Making them single-season narratives means big-name actors could be brought in. And would be able to explore a variety of locales in Westeros, and different kinds of maesters (young and callow, old and crusty, etc.), with lots of dramatic potential in temptations to break their vows of celibacy.
lita_of_jupiter
May. 16th, 2017 12:54 pm (UTC)
Those are great news, though I confess that I am disappointed not to se the Plucky Adventures of Illyrio and Varys in the free cities and the workis of Westeros intelligence...

but there are so many things to explore from Valyria to Yi-Ti with the mysteries of Asshai that it I certainly look forward to it!

whispererindark
May. 16th, 2017 02:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you...
for not handing over Dunk & Egg to HBO, for the exact reason you stated. I look forward to READING that tale to its end at Summerhall. If I had a vote I would like to see a prequel that revolves around the Night's Watch. So many possibilities for great stories, whether it's the Night's King or events at the Nightfort or a time when the Night's Watch was at their peak. Lastly, and I say this with love of a true fan, it's a real bummer that this time two years ago you legitimately believed yourself to be within five months of being done with Winds yet here we are. It is what it is.
Marlon Soriano
May. 16th, 2017 02:51 pm (UTC)
Fevre Dream
Are we ever going to see a Fevre Dream movie or mini series?

It would be an amazing vampire film, to refresh ourselves from all those "teen romance vampires" that invade our media.
0neamongmany
May. 16th, 2017 03:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
I just want to express how grateful I am that you are continuing to work; I am sure that you have no actual requirement to do so now. We are lucky to be able to experience your work as contemporaries and to have access to you during your process. Thank you for providing further glimpses into the worlds you brought into being by force of will alone.

In addition to the spitballing in my replies to other comments, I would love somehow to learn more about The Tragedy at Summerhall and Jenny of Oldstones.

Pay no mind to the haters!
1conrad
May. 16th, 2017 06:58 pm (UTC)
Spin Offs
Great news! I have a question: Will there be a Spin Off with Lomas Longstrider? It would be the best way to present the world.
Bernhard Vienna
May. 16th, 2017 07:03 pm (UTC)
Please do it as cartoons!
And could you please convince HBO to do it as cartoons?
You could tell the story better as a cartoon. The battles could be much bigger. The needs of the story should decide the way the show gets made.

Clone Wars has huge battles because they draw them. Why not hire the team from Clone Wars?
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( 189 comments )

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