Winter is coming for HBO. Game of Thrones has two more seasons left, and when it goes off the air, it will leave a smoking crater the size of Doom of Valyria in HBO's lineup. The last season of Game of Thrones averaged three times as many initial viewers as the second highest HBO show, True Detective, and about 16 times the viewership of a show like Girls. Total per-episode viewership has surpassed a staggering 25 million, making it the most popular HBO show ever.
While HBO still has a stable of fantastic, critically acclaimed shows like Silicon Valley, Veep, and Westworld (which was just picked up for a second season), none of them come even close to being the cultural force and ratings dragon that is Game of Thrones. So executives at HBO are mulling a radical plan: Make more Game of Thrones. According to Entertainment Weekly, HBO is having "preliminary ongoing talks" with author George R.R. Martin about how to do a prequel or spinoff of the fantasy franchise.
Although there are countless spinoffs one could imagine from HBO's sprawling fantasy drama (Arya and the Hound buddy comedy please), any spinoff sequel would be dependent on which characters actually survive the famously bloody series.
If HBO wants to do a prequel, they already have the material ready, as David Perry wrote in VICE last year. Game of Thrones is based off Martin's epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, and, while Martin has been famously and aggravatingly slow to finish the sixth novel in the series, he has been busy fleshing out the backstory. He's written three prequel novellas called "The Dunk and Egg stories" that take place about 100 years before the events of Game of Thrones, and has plans for many more.
Martin himself has talked excitedly about the possibility of adapting the Dunk and Egg stories, saying that "they're somewhat lighter in tone than the main series. A little more adventurous. But my fans love them, and I love the two characters, too. And it all ties into Westeros history. So maybe that will be what we'll do."
Martin also co-wrote a massive encyclopedia-style faux-history book called The World of Ice and Fire that features literally centuries of backstory on dozens of kingdoms and settings and countless characters all over the fictional world of Planetos. If HBO wants to make more shows set in the Game of Thrones world, it has plenty to choose from.
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