By Hugh Sheridan
Last week news came that HBO has commissioned four different groups of writers to develop four separate possible spinoffs to its huge hit show Game of Thrones.
HBO is not revealing exactly what the spinoffs might be about, so Bleeding Cool thought we should engage in some healthy speculation on potential candidate stories:
George R. R. Martin has been writing this short series of novellas since 1998. As the oldest and most extensive Game of Thrones spinoff he has authored it’s the most obvious property that HBO could develop. Set 90 years before the events of the TV series it concerns the adventures of an itinerant Knight – a so called “Hedge Knight” – and his young squire (who has a big secret) as they roam across Westeros and engage in various adventures.
Three Dunk and Egg stories have been published so far (The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight published together recently as A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms) and Martin has indicated that he has ideas for as many as 6 more. The stories are short, episodic and generally pretty light, lacking the epic scope of Game of Thrones, all of which could be seen as a good thing by television executives anxious for material that may expand the audience beyond diehards.
However the problem of Martin’s slow progress in publishing the background stories would be quickly be encountered again as the three stories published so far could not conceivably be stretched beyond 3 seasons of material.
These were actually the first Westeros stories to be adapted to comic books – The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword by writer Ben Avery and artist Mike S. Miller were published by the Dabel Brothers Press (later bought by Marvel) in 2005 and 2008. A third adaptation, The Mystery Knight, again by Avery and Milller will be published by Jet City Comics this year.
This is the major civil war that set up all the characters in their various positions prior to the start of the Game of Thrones series. The events of the war have been sketched out pretty well over the novels and TV series by now, but there is a lot of drama here, involving younger versions of popular GOT characters, so sequel series showing these events in detail is an obvious sell.
Martin has not as yet written a story that tells this story in full however, and has not to my knowledge expressed any intentions to do so – preferring to reveal the events in the novels through his characters’ recollections and reflections. This might give the potential series writers a bit of scope to forge their own path or alternatively could mean that this is one of the series that Martin will want to co-write so that he can guide its exploration of his intended ideas fully.
The Dance of Dragons
This story was told Martin’s novella The Princess and the Queen. The whole thing is pretty epic in scope – involving a war of succession between various Targaryen heirs to the Throne, it explains what happened to make all the Dragons disappear over a 160 years before the Game of Thrones series starts.
When I read this story I was struck by how cinematic the whole thing is – it’s the closest to Star Wars that GOT gets – and I thought it could make a great movie or even trilogy of movies. Massive aerial Dragon battles, palace intrigue and big twists – if you are a big GOT fan and are intimidated by the novels (which after all cover a lot of material you have probably already seen if you watch the show) then I would recommend this story, first published in the Dangerous Women anthology in 2013.
It’s a story with so much potential that I would be surprised if Warners allowed it to be used as TV series rather than by their movie division. If this is indeed one of the shows under development it might be due to internal Warner politics as, as I understand it, the various GOT rights are controlled by the HBO division.
Anyway I would speculate that Brian Helgeland (L.A Confidential, A Knight’s Tale and the best modern Richard Stark adaptation outside of Darwyn Cooke – Payback Straight Up) could be the writer attached to this. He is a somewhat established feature director and writer and probably the biggest name – aside from Martin himself obviously – attached to these series.
While there are plenty of other background tales full of potential in the backstory of Martin’s series – which are most clearly outlined in his The World of Ice & Fire illustrated book from 2014 – none jump out to me as obvious candidates for development. Who knows what stories these writers and or the producers could have seized on though? Even the ones that are the most sketchily outlined might be seen as the most ripe for development as they would give the writers more scope to express their own ideas.
However the biggest question is if HBO will pursue a sequel series of some kind. This of course depends on the resolution of the series – but there are a lot of popular characters that could be left behind as the series ends and there will be a huge audience dying to find out what happens to Tyrion, Daenrys, Jamie and co. next – should they escape the series alive.
The fact that HBO has not released what these writers are working on suggests that there might be a spoiler in there. Could the survival of the World of Ice and Fire be it?
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