The possibility of a Game of Thrones spinoff on HBO has followed the network for years. Game of Thrones has become a pop-culture phenomenon and a critical darling since it debuted in 2011, although Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have said they probably wouldn’t be involved in a potential spinoff. By the end of season 6, the show has almost completely surpassed what’s in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, but there’s still boundless story that could make for a new TV show. Martin, who has “thousands of pages of fake history” on him, has also been open to the idea of a spinoff.
After years of remaining vague, HBO is finally confirming that it’s signed deals with “four very talented writers to each explore different time periods of George R.R. Martin’s vast and rich universe.”
“There is no set timetable for these projects,” HBO said in a statement. “We’ll take as much or as little time as the writers need and, as with all our development, we will evaluate what we have when the scripts are in.”
Little is known about the four projects now in the works apart from the writers involved. Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island) and Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale) will each write their own projects while Martin himself will be personally involved on two of the projects: one with Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Secret Service), and the other with Carly Wray (Mad Men).
Martin’s work offers endless possibilities for him and the other writers to explore. They could write about Robert’s Rebellion, the war that led to the downfall of the Targaryens in power—even more so now that we know the truth about Jon’s heritage. They could go further back in Westerosi history by exploring the Long Night, the decades-long winter and reign of terror from a white walker known as the Night’s King (different from the show version) before the legendary hero Azor Ahai ended it. There’s 300 years of Targaryen history to potentially explore from Aegon the Conqueror’s takeover of Westeros to decades of family infighting. Their civil war that led to the end of dragons until Daenerys Targaryen hatched three dragons in flames, the Dance of Dragons, has been explored by Martin in numerous fantasy anthologies. Other family politics and the worlds and kingdoms beyond Westeros lend themselves to TV adaptations too.
Another one of Martin’s other projects, the Dunk and Egg stories, also lends itself easily to spinoff material. It takes place in Westeros, heavily features Targaryens, could potentially include familiar names like a much-younger Maester Aemon, and basically be a buddy-adventure series with lots of sword-fighting. And the idea was endorsed by Martin long before news of spinoffs broke, although there’s no indication that either of the projects Martin is involved with is Dunk and Egg—or if a Dunk and Egg spinoff is being explored at all.
“Each of the novellas could easily be done as a two-hour standalone movie for television; that would probably be the ideal way to do them, rather than as an ongoing weekly series,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly last year. “The Hedge Knight and its sequels are lighter [in tone] than A Song of Ice and Fire, more in the realm of action/adventure.”
It’s too early to see if any of these projects will turn into an outright Game of Thrones spinoff or if these projects will go up in flames. But with Game of Thrones soon ending, HBO said to a future without something from Martin’s world on its schedule, “Not today.”