HBO's Game of Thrones series has finally come to an end, and with that, it’s time to figure out what’s next.
HBO will surely want to capitalise on the huge success of the show, despite recent criticism of the last season and who got the throne. It has already started the process of creating spinoff shows, with the first one set to begin shooting in Belfast this spring. We know some details about that prequel, and have heard about three other spinoffs HBO has in development.
We don't yet know much about those upcoming spinoffs, although author George RR Martin told fans they should pick up his latest novel, Fire and Blood, which focuses on the history of the Targaryen kings, if they’re interested in reading additional stories that could become their own shows. Within that 150-year saga, there are many legends that could be brought to life on TV.
In fact, in this universe Martin created, there are countless narratives, and they'd all make great TV (or films). With that in mind, here’s everything we know about HBO's Game of Thrones prequel and other spinoffs in the works.
|Game of Thrones prequel and spinoff series: Everything we know so far|
|Game of Thrones prequel series||Game of Thrones spinoff series|
|Spinoffs we'd love to watch|
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Game of Thrones prequel series
What is the prequel called?
George RR Martin referred to HBO's upcoming prequel series as "The Long Night" in a blog post, but officially it has a working title of "Bloodmoon".
Here is HBO's synopsis:
"Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of Legend - it’s not the story we think we know."
Note: "Blood Moon" is a type of solar eclipse, often connected to mystical events. But Westeros isn’t on Earth. It does, however, have a moon that goes through phases and casts pale moonlight. And in season two of Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryean learns there used to be two moons, and that one of them strayed too close to the sun and cracked open, releasing "a thousand dragons".
There's also a Red Comet in season two - seen around the time Dany's dragons hatch. Could any of this be where "Bloodmoon" comes from?
What is the prequel about?
So, HBO described Bloodmoon as taking place well before the events of Game of Thrones. It chronicles the end of the Age of Heroes, when the world descended into the first so-called Long Night. Remember, in season one of Game of Thrones, Old Nan sat by Bran Stark’s bedside and told him about the Long Night, a winter season thousands of years ago that lasted a generation:
"Thousands of years ago, there came a night that lasted a generation. Kings froze to death in their castles, same as the shepherds in their huts; and women smothered their babies rather than see them starve, and wept, and felt the tears freeze on their cheeks... In that darkness the White Walkers came for the first time. They swept through cities and kingdoms, riding their dead horses, hunting with their packs of pale spiders big as hounds."
Now, the Age of Heroes refers to an epoch in the history of Westeros approximately 6,000 to 10,000 before Martin's Ice and Fire books. Martin has mentioned numerous characters associated with this time, such as Garth Greenhand, Bran the Builder, and Lann the Clever, but much of what’s actually known about them and this time amounts to nothing more than somewhat mythical origin stories for the great houses.
Keep in mind that, before the Age of Heroes, there were non-humans in Westeros, known as the Children of the Forest. They fought a war with the First Men, humans who later arrived at the continent. This led to the Children creating the Night King, a First Man who was captured by them. However, the two sides eventually made a pact, which brought peace and the Age of Heroes.
So, long story short, the prequel could tell us more about why the Age of Heroes ended and why the Long Night began, while also giving us more information in general about the Night King - who met his fateful end in Game of Thrones without viewers ever learning who exactly he was, why he returned, or what his motives were (aside from the still-vague notion that he wanted to kill Bran Stark).
The only thing we're unsure about is how all this relates to the show's "Bloodmoon" working title.
When will the prequel premiere?
HBO is filming the pilot episode starting May 2019, but that doesn’t mean we should expect to see it on our TV anytime soon. HBO’s head of programming, Casey Bloys, told Hollywood Deadline the prequel won’t air for at least a year: “I don’t want to use it [the final season] to launch something else. I want it to stand as the finale of the greatest TV show of all time. I don’t want to do anything that infringes on that.”
Who stars in the prequel?
Naomi Watts has been cast in a lead role. She's described as a "charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret". While Watts is certainly a big name, she could end up like Sean Bean’s Ned Stark and be offed from the show fairly quickly. Alongside Watts, actors Naomi Ackie, Jamie Campbell Bower, Ivanno Jeremiah, Toby Regbo, and Georgie Henley have also been cast. We have no information on any of their characters yet.
Will the prequel feature GoT characters?
Since it’s set so far in the past, it's highly unlikely we'll see any characters from the original HBO show in the new series. We will probably see the Starks and Lannisters - but the ancestors of the ones you know. The exception to this is, obviously, the Night King, who we figure we'll see make his first assault on the living world. There’s also a chance we see Bran Stark make an appearance via his powers as the Three Eyed Raven.
Game of Thrones spinoff series
HBO is currently working on three more spinoff series. They are much further behind than Bloodmoon in terms of development, however, with no details yet given on what they could be based around or who will star in them.
George RR Martin once told fans to “pick up a copy of Fire and Blood and come up with your own theories", hinting they're set in the past, but also plugging his latest novel, which is about the history of the Targaryen kings.
Still, thanks to Martin’s two-decades-plus writings on the Game of Thrones universe, there’s no shortage of stories that could be turned into our next TV obsession. Here are a few Fire and Blood plot lines and other stories that could serve as source material for HBO's upcoming spinoffs.
Most-likely candidates for the spinoffs
The Dance of Dragons
The Dance of Dragons is the name of a civil war that occurred following the death of the fifth Targaryen king, Viserys, who named his daughter, Rhaenyra Targaryen, as his heir - only to see her usurped by his second wife’s eldest son, Aegon Targaryen. The conflict expands across Westeros, dragging in all the great houses we know from the original series. There are also a ton of dragons featured, which is always good news.
Valyria was the most powerful kingdom the world had ever seen. It was situated on a peninsula south of Essos, and it was dotted with volcanoes known as the Fourteen Flames. Before The Doom, Valyria destroyed any challenger it had come up against and was a seemingly insurmountable force. Then, in an instant, it was wiped off the face of world by the eruption of the volcanoes that surrounded it.
There’s little known about what happened during The Doom, but a story centered around these events would introduce us to many new houses, as well as show us the Targaryens as just another great house rather than the royal family.
Three-hundred years before Game of Thrones, Aegon Targaryen landed on the shores of the Blackwater Rush with a small army of men, his two sister-wives, and three dragons. It was his first conquest as part of a campaign to take over Westeros. This wasn't completed in his lifetime, but in his story, we learn about the true power of dragons as they're unleashed across the Seven Kingdoms.
Nymeria and the Ten Thousand Ships
A thousand years before Game of Thrones, the cities along the Rhoyne River unite to fight the dragonlords of Valyria. After a few victories, the Rhoynish cities amassed a 250,000-man army, but a princess named Nymeria (the namesake of Arya’s Direwolf) refused to join them. As her people boarded 10,000 ships to seek a new home, 300 Valyrian dragons destroyed the entire Rhoynish Army.
Spinoffs we'd love to watch
Here are a few lesser-likely candidates we want to see:
Martin has said none of the spinoff series are centered around the events that led to Robert Baratheon becoming king - because most viewers already know the key plot points, like the true story of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, as well many of the battles Robert fought on his way to the throne. Still, we'd love to see that epic fight between Robert and Rhaegar on the waters of the Trident.
Dunk and Egg
Martin wrote three stories about the rise of Ser Duncan the Tall, who goes from humble beginnings as a hedge knight to the Lord Commander of Aegon the Unlikely’s Kingsguard. While Martin said none of the spinoffs are about the Tales of Dunk and Egg, it's easy to imagine his novellas becoming films, or fleshed out further into a TV series. Give us Duncan's Trial by Seven on a TV, and we’ll be happy.
West of Westeros
Fans are clamoring for an Arya spinoff showing her adventures west of Westeros. However, HBO’s Casey Bloys confirmed that an Arya-focused show isn’t in the company’s plans. But, remember, another character from Ice and Fire has attempted a similar mission in the past: Elissa Farman, who’s responsible for stealing three dragon eggs from the Targaryens to finance a ship to head west.
It’s believed Daenerys Targaryen hatches these eggs in Game of Thrones. But part of what made the original show so popular was the wide-ranging characters in the huge world, so a show about one character on a single ship would be different.
Some fans think, due to Game of Thrones' finale, Bran Stark was shaping events (and eliminating threats to his rule) so he would be crowned King in the end. This might mean Bran isn’t a savior, but instead, someone who manipulates at the expense of the people of the realm. For instance, he pushed Daenerys Targaryen toward madness by revealing Jon’s parentage. There's even fan theories he could control the Night King somehow. If Jon Snow learns about this beyond the wall, he could return, find Drogon, and seek revenge against Bran.
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