There are currently five Game of Thrones prequels in development at HBO, but I can’t even get a right swipe on Tinder.
Entertainment Weekly broke the news Thursday that a fifth prequel series to the popular dragon opera will be developed by Game of Thrones writer and co-executive producer Bryan Cogman. He developed the project closely with George R.R. Martin himself, so you know that The Winds of Winter isn’t coming out any damn time soon.
The author took to his blog to gush about the collaboration: “Bryan Cogman should need no introduction for any Game of Thrones fan. He’s been part of the show since the beginning... since before the beginning, actually, since he was first hired as assistant to David Benioff and D.B Weiss way before the series got on the air, before even the pilot had been filmed. From those humble beginnings, he advanced to staff writer, to story editor, to co-producer and producer and supervising producer. Less formally, he has also been Game of Thrones’ ‘Keeper of the Lore,’ the guy who knew the canon better than anyone (except me, though sometimes I am not even sure of that). He’s written more episodes of Game of Thrones than anyone but Dan & David... including some of our very best ones. If D&D have been the kings of Westeros for these past seven seasons, Bryan Cogman has surely been the Prince of Dragonstone.”
Martin, who had coyly mentioned the fifth series months ago (prompting HBO’s President of Programming, Casey Bloys, to pretend it wasn’t happening), declined to share plot details for the series, but did offer that, “…like the other pilots, it will be a prequel rather than sequel, a successor rather than a spinoff. Bryan’s series will be an adaptation, and one that will thrill most fans of the books, I think, set during a very exciting period of Westeros history. And I’ll be working with him every step of the way; we’re going to be co-creating the show.”
HBO is also currently developing four other prequels from writers Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class), Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential), Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island), and Carly Wray (Mad Men). Game of Thrones showrunners Benioff and Weiss aren’t developing the shows, presumably, because they can’t wait to get their hands on their antebellum antics. The details of these all are being kept mum, but we’ve been assured that they will all be prequels featuring new actors and none of the cast members from the original Game of Thrones.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in July, Bloys said: “You know the odds in development. I think that is probably unlikely. I was at Touchstone during Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. They had a hit show and they aired four in a week. This show is very special. I’m not looking to have as many as possible. My sense right now is we would be very lucky if one of the four rises to the level that we have set. Now, theoretically, what if they’re all great? That’s a high-class problem that I’ll solve when it comes to that. But knowing what we know about the development process, that’s why we wanted to increase our odds. But I do not see a scenario where we have more than one. But again, high-class problem.”
I mean, this is all good for Bloys, but can we also admit that it’s a lot of nonsense? Most shows that sell rarely get picked up, yes, but none of these shows have even sold. They’re not even outlined yet. They’re ideas that HBO is developing, much like the maybe forthcoming Confederate. And, similar to HBO dropping that news because they wanted to entice viewers who will wonder what the hell they’re gonna watch on the premium cable network after Game of Thrones is over, they’re doing the same thing with these five spinoffs.
Maybe—just maybe—HBO should chill out and just develop a show without feeling the need to announce to the world that something’s coming like a lovesick Tony in West Side Story. For one, it makes it seem like they’re grasping at straws to keep viewers interested when the most popular show on cable leaves the air, and that they have nothing else coming down the pipeline. We’ve been hearing about these Game of Thrones prequels for months and not, say, anything about more diverse shows like Insecure. Instead they’re focusing on letting you know that there’ll be another probably all-white fantasy drama coming to HBO soon and it’s also all they’re busy working on.
It’s perfectly natural for a network to develop multiple spinoff TV shows like this, particularly to their biggest hit. But the constant teasing of information to viewers is getting tiresome. This was shared so that fans of the series could get excited. But on the flip side, HBO complained when people lambasted Confederate because the show “hasn’t even been developed yet.” You can’t have it both ways. You can’t tease information to your audience and then pick how they react to this information. If you’re going to keep doling out Game of Thrones treats, you also get to have your hand slapped when people don’t want to watch your slavery fanfic.
Never mind the fact that teasing Game of Thrones fans with potential prequels is kind of rude? What if the one they pick is awful and details leak about the other four shows that sound infinitely better? Fans of the series and books are already waiting for a tome that Martin hasn’t even finished. Now they’ll have the potential of an expanded Westeros universe teased that may never even come to fruition.