Have you heard about that new Game of Thrones spinoff HBO is developing? No, not that one. Not that one, either. They already stopped working on that. And that other one is now going to be an animated series. I think.
HBO’s time in Westeros didn’t end when Bran Stark claimed the Iron Throne. The network has been working on other potential shows set in George R.R. Martin’s world of A Song of Ice and Fire since before the original series even ended. House of the Dragon was the first to make it to air, but it won’t be the last. Many more are still in development. Some, though, as Martin says, are already on the proverbial “shelf.” ( He also says he is “deeply, heavily involved” in every potential show.) Which ideas are still alive and which are dead… for now? Here’s every Game of Thrones spinoff we’ve learned about over the years and their current status.
House of the Dragon
HBO’s first Game of Thrones spinoff, a prequel about the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, will return for its second season in summer 2024. However, season one co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik will not be back. He left the series in 2022. Ryan Condal now fulfills the role on his own.
Carly Wray and Bryan Cogman (who wrote a pilot) both worked on a Dance of the Dragons series, but HBO did not move forward with either of their concepts.
ORDERED TO AIR
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight (Dunk & Egg)
George R.R. Martin’s three Dunk & Egg novellas tell the story of Ser Duncan the Tall and his young squire. That squire was really a Targaryen Prince named Aegon who traveled with Dunk in disguise. (He also unexpectedly went on to become King years later.) The beloved duo is now set to star in HBO’s second spinoff. HBO ordered the prequel to series to air in April 2023. Martin and Ira Parker will write and executive produce the show. ( Patriot‘s Steve Conrad was originally tapped to write the show in 2021.) Ryan Condal and Vince Gerardis will join as executive producers. The series has no targeted release date, but casting has already begun and the show is expected to begin filming in 2024. A 2025 premiere seems very possible. It also has an official logline:
A century before the events of Game of Thrones, two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros… a young, naïve but courageous knight, Ser Duncan the Tall, and his diminutive squire, Egg. Set in an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living memory, great destinies, powerful foes, and dangerous exploits all await these improbable and incomparable friends.
In early 2023 Variety reported HBO was “actively” discussing a potential prequel about the legendary Targaryen lord who conquered Westeros. A series about Aegon’s Conquest (roughly 300 years before Game of Thrones) was also among the first batch of spinoff concepts considered by HBO in 2016. The original idea is said to have portrayed the famed King as a “drunken lout.” Rand Ravich and Far Shariat wrote that script.
The Hollywood Reporter now says HBO ” is actively heating up” discussions about the long-gestating concept. It now also has a name attached to this new attempt. Mattson Tomlin, who is said to have done uncredited script work on The Batman and who is officially co-writing its sequel, is heading up this iteration of an Aegon’s Conquest spinoff. Tomlin is also behind the BRZRKR with Keanu Reeves and is serving as showrunner for Netflix’s animated Terminator series.
HBO has yet to confirm the show is in development or that Tomlin is behind it. THR‘s report did include one confusing clue from a source who says the series would mark a “back to basics” approach. Considering House of the Dragon is not that different from Game of Thrones in any meaningful way beyond being more focused, that could indicate previous attempts at an Aegon series tried something very different approach. That could explain why the network did not proceed with them. Or “back to basics” could mean this idea is more like a traditional drama with fewer characters and jumping around to various locationa than Game of Thrones.
The one thing we know for sure about any and all attempts at telling Aegon’s story is that they’ll involve dragons.
The Golden Empire
Development continues on a potential adult animated series about Essos’ far eastern Yi Ti dynasty. Martin once wrote Yi Ti is the fantasy analogue of Imperial China the way Westeros is the fantasy analogue of the medieval British Isles. The World of Ice and Fire compendium book (which Martin jokingly calls The GRRMarillion in reference to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion) expanded on the little we know about that powerful, large nation. That also includes some tantalizing tales, one that connects the ancient, advanced Yi Ti to the first Long Night.
It’s unknown who is leading the show’s development or what it would be about. But a possible series would be so far removed from Westeros and Martin’s main story that it would have incredible freedom to tell any story from any time period.
Another early Game of Thrones spinoff idea still in development is 10,000 Ships (sometimes written as Ten Thousand Ships). It would focus on the legendary warrior Queen Nymeria. She led her people out of the Rhonyar River region in Essos to escape the Valyrian Freehold. Her long and arduous journey to find a new home ultimately led her to Dorne where she and her people settled. Queen Nymeria, who lived a thousand years before the events on Game of Thrones, married Lord Mors Martell. The two conquered Dorne together. She is the reason Dorne has princes and princesses. She was also one of Arya Stark’s heroes. Arya named her direwolf after the famous Queen.
In 2016 Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) was attached to the show. Amanda Segel is now heading it. HBO tapped her to write the pilot and serve as potential showrunner. In March 2022 Martin said Segel had already delivered a “couple drafts” of the script. There have been no major updates on the series since then beyond Martin confirming it still remains in development.
The Sea Snake/Nine Voyages
After initially being developed as a live-action series, George R.R. Martin announced a prequel about the adventures of young Corlys Velaryon is now being considered as a potential adult animated spinoff. The show also initially operated under the title Nine Voyages (which Martin still uses sometimes). That was in reference to the nine famous trips Corlys Velaryon made around the world on his ship The Sea Snake. He travelled to far off places all over the globe in the decades prior to the Dance of the Dragons. His accomplishments made him Westeros’s most famous and celebrated sailor ever. He is also a major figure on House of the Dragon, where Steve Toussaint plays an older Sea Snake.
In March 2022 Martin confirmed reports Rome showrunner Bruno Heller would write the show’s pilot. More recently the author also explained at his “Not a Blog” blog why he “fully” supports the show’s change from live-action to animation:
Budgetary constraints would likely have made a live action version prohibitively expensive, what with half the show taking place at sea, and the necessity of creating a different port every week, from Driftmark to Lys to the Basilisk Isles to Volantis to Qarth to… well, on and on and on. There’s a whole world out there. And we have a lot better chance of showing it all with animation. So we now have three animated projects underway.
In a Narrow Sea worth of prequel ideas, the only potential sequel series confirmed to be under consideration at HBO is Snow. Kit Harington brought the idea to the network. He also brought it to George R.R. Martin, who confirmed the possible spinoff’s development. The author said he’d already met with Harington and his team about it, as well. The show would follow the former Lord Commander after he returned to life beyond The Wall in Game of Thrones‘ series finale.
Snow was “shelved” during the SAG-AFTRA strikes. With actors back to work the show’s current status in the developmental process is unknown. If it ever does make it to air, though, (an unlikely fate for all of these concepts) it won’t be anytime soon. In November 2023 HBO CEO and chairman Casey Bloys said, “I wouldn’t say there is anything else in that world that is close to a green light or anything, but we are always working on different scripts and ideas.”
Unknown Animated Series
Martin has long made reference to development of an unnamed adult animated series, one possibly meant to air on
HBO Max. Nothing is known about the series. That includes whether a spinoff idea reported on previously is the mystery cartoon and no one has made the connection.
One potential live-action prequel idea that seemingly never gained much traction was a series have focused on the denizens of King’s Landing’s infamous slum district Flea Bottom. HBO never even confirmed the show was in development. Reports say it did not make it very far in the process.
Untitled Valyrian Freehold Series
The initial batch of five spinoff ideas HBO pursued in 2016 (out of a list of at least 15) was a show about the destruction of the Valyrian Freehold. Valyria was the Roman Empire-like dynasty of dragon lords who ruled over Essos for thousands of years. House Targaryen avoided its ancestral home’s doom when it fled Valyria a century before its demise. Kong: Skull Island‘s Max Borenstein wrote a script for the show, but that seems to be as far as HBO got with it.
Valyria was home to thousands of dragons and ornate architecture. That would make for a bloated VFX budget. This idea is a great candidate for the mysterious animated show Martin continues to allude to.
Untitled Seven Gods of Westeros Show
A long lost concept that “didn’t get very far” at HBO would have seen the gods from the faith of The Seven team up like superheroes, leading to others worshiping them as deities. It’s easy to see why HBO didn’t have much faith in this idea.
NOT PICKED UP
House of the Dragon will forever be the first Game of Thrones spinoff to reach airwaves. However, HBO filmed another spinoff before it. The network spent (at least) $30 million to shoot a pilot for Bloodmoon, a prequel set thousands of years prior to the original series. Starring Naomi Watts, it took place during the Age of Heroes. That’s when legendary figures of the Realm helped establish its most famous houses. At least that’s what the stories say. That mythical era remains shrouded in secrecy.
The series, from showrunner Jane Goldman, also operated under the working title of The Long Night, as it would have covered the original White Walker invasion that plunged the world in darkness. While HBO has said it was a good pilot—and the network was clearly serious about it considering its financial investment— it ultimately passed. That decision shocked many.
The public has never seen Bloodmoon‘s lost episode. Not even George R.R. Martin. But it remains a fascinating idea with incredible potential. Just because HBO didn’t order it to air doesn’t mean it won’t some day. Martin always says “shelved” TV shows can always leave the shelf.
Especially in Westeros, where we all know the dead have a way of coming back.
Originally published on January 4, 2024.