12:30pm PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones' Spinoffs: 5 Possibilities for the Next Phase of Westeros
What was always considered an inevitability took a major step toward reality Thursday, as HBO announced partnerships with four new writers to expand the world of Game of Thrones past the current iteration of the series.
For years, fans have expected to see more stories set in the world of Thrones once the flagship series ends, even though showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have long said they would not oversee any such project. (HBO states that both Benioff and Weiss will be involved as executive producers in any projects that stem from the new writing partnerships.) Indeed, George R.R. Martin, the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series on which Thrones is based, has made it very clear that he hopes to see more live-action adaptations of his celebrated material, especially considering his writing has paved the way for plenty of future projects.
With that in mind, and while these projects remain in their infancy and little is known about if they'll be prequels or spinoffs, here are a few different possible paths the Game of Thrones follow-ups could follow:
1. Dunk and Egg: Ser Duncan the Tall and Aegon the Unlikely are the two figures at the heart of Martin's most prominent A Song of Ice and Fire spinoff — a series of novellas that include The Mystery Knight and The Hedge Knight. Many have speculated that Dunk and Egg's eventual fiery deaths at the Targaryen stronghold known as Summerhall will have an important impact on the future of Thrones, which makes their story ripe for adaptation as a prequel.
2. Robert's Rebellion: Outside of Dunk and Egg, there are few more straightforward Thrones adaptations than a prequel series set during the events of Robert's Rebellion, the contentious civil war that nearly destroyed the Seven Kingdoms, and very much did destroy House Targaryen's reign over Westeros. It's an opportunity to bring Robert Aramayo back as a young Ned Stark, a role he inhabited during season six of Game of Thrones, as well as younger versions of some other fan-favorite characters, including Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey).
3. The Giant Slayers: Max Borenstein is set as one of the Thrones writers, and he's a well-known quantity right now for monster movie fans, as the brain behind the recent Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island features. In other words, if he's not working on a spinoff starring Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) as unlikely lovers slaying ice giants north of the Wall, then really, what's the point? (Similarly, given his true crime bonafides, Brian Helgeland's Westeros Confidential more or less writes itself.)
4. A Dance with Dragons: Joking aside (though few would thumb their noses at a Brienne and Tormund spinoff), Borenstein's skills as a writer who can both glamorize and humanize monsters makes him a perfect candidate to explore a story set long before the events of Game of Thrones, set in Old Valyria, an ancient advanced civilization where man and dragon worked side by side. House Targaryen traces their origin to Old Valyria, an easy way to include recognizable characters (or at least names) in the spinoff. What's more, the mythical "Doom of Valyria," an apocalyptic event that destroyed the civilization, remains shrouded in mystery. No better time to lift the shroud than now.
5. A History of Thrones: Really, Martin's world is so astonishingly vast, with so much rich history, that an anthology series designed to explore a variety of different stories and historical figures would be a very welcome sight indeed — something that could follow the American Horror Story model of focusing on completely different stories and settings every season, if not different short stories told in different episodes. There's already so much material to mine in that regard, thanks to the extensively detailed World of Ice and Fire history book co-authored by Martin and Westeros.org founders Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson.
Tell us what you want to see out of the Game of Thrones spinoffs in the comments below.