Author George RR Martin has admitted he was surprised to hear about the number of Game Of Thrones TV spin-offs that were in the works.
The writer – whose A Song Of Ice And Fire book series served as the basis for the hit HBO series, which ended in 2019 – has revealed in a new book that he began discussions about successor shows as far back as 2017.
Speaking to James Andrew Miller for Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, Martin revealed he spoke to HBO about “two successor shows” at the time, and knew they needed a showrunner – though he was busy still writing the book series.
Martin had suggested the Dance of the Dragons storyline, which follows the Targaryen family civil war, as well as the Dunk And Egg novella stories, as possible ideas.
“Then I suddenly found out that they had put four prequels in motion,” he recalled (via Insider). “The Dance of the Dragons idea was just one of them. And the other three were ideas that had come from other people who I guess had read my books or had some of the documents at HBO.”
Martin added: “They didn’t like the Dunk and Egg idea because they were familiar with the novellas — somebody there had read them — but it was too soft. But they did respond to the Dance of the Dragons idea.”
The writer added that they had “hired four writers and we suddenly had four shows in development,” which took him by surprise.
“It surprised me, I’ll admit that,” he continued. “I’d never heard of that before. I thought we’d be going ahead with one, with one development, with the one that I pitched to them, the Dance of the Dragons idea.”
Martin also revealed that he was “on the road” when HBO announced in 2017 that four series were in the works.
“I met with all four of the writers,” he explained. “They came to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I lived, and I had meetings with them, discussed their idea, did workshops, tried to fill them in on any questions and all that.”
HBO currently has the House Of The Dragon spin-off lined up, which is based on Martin’s 2018 book Fire & Blood and chronicles the events leading up to the Targaryen civil war.
The broadcaster is also going ahead with a Dunk And Egg show, which will be written and executive produced by Steve Conrad, while a number of unconfirmed spin-offs, including three animated series, are also said to be in the works.
Before that, an untitled spin-off starring Naomi Watts filmed a pilot before being scrapped in late 2019, and reportedly cost over $30million (£22.5million) to make.