1. Lifestyle
September 21, 2017updated 22 Sep 2017 9:38am

Game of Thrones prequel ideas and why we may never see them

By Jack Rear

Another Game of Thrones spin-off series is in the works. Another one!

Not content with the four already-announced spin-off series they’re working on, HBO are also working on a fifth spin-off series. This new one was first unearthed by Entertainment Weekly and it’s already confirmed to have a major name behind it.

The new, fifth spin-off series will be penned by Bryan Cogman. Cogman has written for every series of Game of Thrones so far. He’s also the author of Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones. 

Author of A Song Of Ice And Fire, the novel series Game of Thrones is based on, George RR Martin once said, apart from himself and the series’ lore-keepers, Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson, “I don’t know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as (Cogman) does”.

Writing on his blog about the announcement, Martin gave few details about what the series will be about:

I can say that, like the other pilots, it will be a prequel rather than sequel, a successor rather than a spin off. Bryan’s series will be an adaptation, and one that will thrill most fans of the books, I think, set during a very exciting period of Westerosi history. And I’ll be working with him every step of the way; we’re going to be co-creating the show.

This new fifth prequel series will join the other four that are in development. The other four writers behind these series are Max Borenstein (“Kong: Skull Island”), Jane Goldman (“Kingsman: The Golden Circle”), Brian Helgeland (“Legend”), and Carly Wray (“Mad Men,” “The Leftovers”).

Of the five, Martin is known to be most closely involved with the Borenstein, Wray, and Cogman projects. However, Martin does note that he’s been involved with them all.

What happens next?

When people read the words ‘in development’ they get tend to get carried away. HBO have commissioned five pilot scripts and general story outlines. They are not about to begin casting, nothing has been shot, and no crew is on stand-by.

Essentially, five ideas have been discussed. HBO has said they’re potentially interested in them.

After pitching their ideas, HBO will have asked the writers to provide a general story outline.

This will involve basic character breakdowns, a general idea of the narrative, and maybe a brief idea of the practicalities of shooting these prequels.

After HBO approve those, the writers will be sent off to work on scripts for a pilot episode of their series. They’ll consult with George R.R. Martin, HBO, and other executives to get that script just right. Then they’ll send it back to HBO.

At this stage, it’s most likely that HBO will get cold feet and back out of the project.

That’s just the reality with projects like this. One or two, three at most, might make it through to the pilot stage. This is when they’ll be cast and some scenes will be shot.

That pilot episode will then be shown to focus groups.

If those groups like it, great. On the other hand, the most likely option is that the potential series will be binned. If the writer behind it has worked really hard to build the trust of HBO’s executives, they might get another chance.

Game Of Thrones fell into the latter category at pilot stage. Test audiences hated the pilot.

Huge chunks of the episode had to be re-shot and major parts including Daenerys Targaryen and Catelyn Stark had to be recast. Still, the showrunners got another chance after convincing HBO of the show’s worth.

When will the new shows come out?

If they make it past all those hurdles, one or two of the new shows might get the chance to develop a full series. At this point though, HBO might decide that they cost too much, or they want to go in a different direction, and everything will be scrapped.

If, on the off chance one of the five prequel series breaks down all these barriers, it will still be a while before we see it.

If a script is completed this year or earlier 2018, it could potentially get a pilot order by Spring 2018. After all, this would require assembling a whole creative team and cast almost from scratch. The Game Of Thrones pilot took 26 days to shoot.

It was 372 days between HBO commissioning the pilot and the completion of filming on it for Game Of Thrones. That would put us in Spring 2019.

The pilot would then take a few weeks or months to be shown to test audiences. After HBO had collated all the feedback, negotiated with the showrunners on what changes might need to be made, then production could begin in summer 2019.

Game Of Thrones took 411 days to come to our screens after the announcement that HBO had picked it up. On that timeline, we could see a potential series in summer 2020.

Over five years passed between Game Of Thrones being pitched to HBO and the first episode being aired. Considering these new pitches have been commissioned by HBO, the process will be quicker, but don’t expect anything too soon.

And of course, the real likelihood is that none of the Game Of Thrones prequel ideas will ever make it to television. That’s just show-business folks!

Some things the sequels are definitely not going to be about?

In his original blog post about the prequels, George R.R. Martin would not say what they’d be about. However, he did note what they wouldn’t be about.

The prequels will not be an adaption of the ‘Dunk and Egg’ novella series. These books, written by Martin, take place 90 years before Game Of Thrones begins.

The series centres on a wandering knight called ‘Ser Duncan the Tall’ and Aegon V Targaryen as a child. Aegon is the younger brother of Maester Aemon who was pals with Jon Snow in the TV series.

He’s also the great-grandfather of Daenerys and the great-great grandfather of Jon Snow. The series tells of how Aegon accidentally becomes Ser Duncan’s squire and they travel around Westeros together.

Martin stated he didn’t want to adapt Dunk and Egg because he wasn’t done with writing them.

The author expressed his sadness that the TV series based on his books passed their source material by and revealed secrets that he had hoped to share himself in his books.

Another area that Martin confirmed the prequel series will not feature is the story of Robert’s Rebellion.

This was the war that Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark fought in prior to the beginning of Game of Thrones. The entire story of the series deals with the aftermath of this war.

Martin said this would not feature in the prequels for the following reason:

By the time I finish writing A Song Of Ice And 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.

Fair enough.

Game of Thrones prequel ideas – what they could be about?

Of course, the universe of Game Of Thrones is vast and varied with hundreds of characters, stories, and generations of history.

It seems unlikely we’d ever travel to the far reaches of that world like the jungles of Yi Ti, the island of Great Moraq, or the Land of the Shrykes (all real place mentioned in official Game of Thrones lore, look it up!) After all, if the new series took us there, they’d be so far divorced from Game Of Thrones as to be unrecognisable.

However, there are a few stories from the world of Westeros and beyond that we’d definitely be interested in seeing.

Fire And Blood

George RR Martin has been working on a collection about the history of the Targaryen kings for a long time.

Soon he’ll release the first official collection of these writings in a book called Fire And Blood. These could make a great anthology series, each dealing with a different conflict or intrigue in the history of Westeros, from the original invasion of Aegon the Conqueror right up to the madness of King Aerys just before Game Of Thrones.

Having this as an anthology series would definitely set it apart from Game Of Thrones but it’d retain just enough of what we know and love to be hold our interest. Plus, there’d be tonnes of dragons. Tonnes of them.

The Rhoynar migration

This would be taking the Westerosi universe back a long way. Before Aegon the Conqueror ever came to Westeros, his people, the Valyrians conquered the Rhoyne in Essos.

The Rhoynar could wield water magic but ultimately, they couldn’t stand against the might of dragons. A queen named Nymeria led the survivors away in exile. They had many adventures and misadventures across the sea.

Eventually their journey concluded when they landed in Dorne and Nymeria married Mors Martell, an alliance which saw them conquer all of Dorne.

A sea-faring series taking us to some of the mentioned-but-never-visited islands off Westeros would be great, and a badass heroine leading the show would be even better. We’d be down for this.

The Doom Of Valyria

It’s been mentioned a few times on the show, but we’ve never really had a full explanation for the Doom Of Valyria.

The doom destroyed Valyria, home of the original dragonlords in Essos.

The Targaryens escaped thanks to a prophetic dream just before a volcanic eruption that was partially magical in cause.

It’d be fun to have a series showing the success and eventual downfall of Valyria and introduce us to the original Targaryens.

The Targaryen Invasion

If Game Of Thrones is about a second Targaryen invasion fronted by Daenerys Stormborn, this could tell of the original assault on the country by Aegon the Conqueror.

Of course, there’s a huge number of potential stories out there, and any of them could work! We’ll just have to wait and see what, if anything, comes of them!

Topics in this article: