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HBO Developing 3 More Game of Thrones Spin-Offs and We Must Ask … Why?

What do we say to the god of franchises?

emilia clarke, kit harrington, peter dinklage

Another week, another report of HBO developing still more potential spin-offs of Game of Thrones. The latest news comes courtesy of Deadline, which reports that three news series are in development. If this sounds like a story you’ve already heard, it’s not déjà vu, as these series will bring the number of Thrones spin-offs put into development to a nice round ten. Now, most of those projects never made it past the early development phase, but still, that’s a lot.

First off, let’s talk about these new series, which join Tales of Dunk and Egg and an untitled animated series in early development, along with House of the Dragon, which will start filming very soon. The new projects are 9 Voyages aka Sea Snake, Flea Bottom, and 10,000 Ships. Of the three, only Sea Snake has any writers attached.

Sea Snake is being developed by Bruno Heller, of The Mentalist, Gotham, and more relevant in this context, Rome. In many ways, Rome’s lavish, bloody two seasons helped set the stage for Game of Thrones, so Heller could be a pretty solid choice here. But the possible plot … much less so. Here’s how Deadline describes Sea Snake/9 Voyages:

The 9 Voyages series refers to the great voyages at sea made by Corlys Velaryon aboard the Sea Snake ship. Velaryon journeyed to places including Pentos, Dragonstone and around the bottom of Westeros as well as to Lys, Tyrosh and Myr. He reached the fabled lands of Yi Ti and Leng, whose wealth doubled that of the House Velaryon, and him and the Ice Wolf headed north searching for passage around the top of Westeros, only to find frozen seas and icebergs as big as mountains.

So this concept is sort of like Game of Thrones meets Sinbad but it’s a tour through all the different lands and cultures of the world of Ice and Fire? I don’t trust these folks with a “fabled land of Yi Ti.” After the way that the original flavor Game of Thrones often treated and depicted its diverse characters, reinforcing racist stereotypes and perpetuating ideas about colonialism and a white savior narrative, this does not seem like a good idea.

What about the other projects in development?

Flea Bottom would take place in the poorest neighborhood of King’s Landing, which we saw featured in Game of Thrones and was the birthplace of characters like Gendry and Ser Davos Seaworth. The GoT wiki describes it as “a maze-like warren of narrow streets, ramshackle buildings, and dark alleys. Survival on the streets of Flea Bottom is tough and hardening.” We don’t know much about this show but if it was to happen, I’d rather it wasn’t a prequel. I think if we are to have a Game of Thrones universe series that focuses on the “smallfolk,” as Martin terms most people who are not of a noble house or a knight in Westeros, it would be more interesting if we were looking at recovering Flea Bottom in a new era and not watching a show about people who we maybe know are likely going to all be murdered by a dragon or evil king soon.

Finally, the 10,000 Ships series would follow “the journey made by warrior queen Princess Nymeria and the surviving members of the Rhoynars, who traveled from Essos to Dorne following their defeat by the Valyrian Freehold in the Second Spice War.” That sounds like an intriguing premise and I would love to see a female showrunner and writers on this, with the same caveats and cautions expressed about 9 Voyages above. But then again, we had a female-led inclusive prequel about the Age of Heroes that was axed by HBO. We are still disappointed about the loss of Jane Goodman’s prequel series and asking why that show did not make it to the screen.

Overall, I’m still just asking, in general … why? Despite the fact that Game of Thrones was a massive global success, the end of the flagship show was so disappointing and the problems with the way the series depicted women and marginalized groups were so pronounced, I really don’t know if we need more in that world. If more prequels do indeed get the green light, we should also be seeing massive and conscientious overhauls from the studio and creative side of things. We haven’t seen much sign of that, though actress Olivia Cooke of House of the Dragon has said that series will not feature “egregious graphic violence against women for no reason” as we saw all too often before. As much story potential as there could be in Westeros, this is a cinematic universe that we’ve most often seen defined by violence, racism, and misogyny. I think it’s time to say “not today” to the god of spin-offs.

(via Nerdist, image: HBO)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.