Kit Harington in Game of Thrones (2011)

What’s the Status of All the ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequels?

Even Game Of Thrones isn't immune to the drama at HBO Max

With the success of HBO’s recent expansion of the world of ice and fire with House of the Dragon, several more stories from Westeros have since been ordered for our viewing pleasure. However, not all of them have been green-lit, and some may be facing the chopping block. The mind behind it all, George R.R. Martin, has directly addressed the status of these spinoffs.

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In a December 2022 blog post, Martin spoke on the spinoffs, alongside an update on the second season of House of the Dragon and the highly-anticipated Winds of Winter:

I did take a few days off for the holidays, I confess. Shame on me, I guess. But now I am back in the salt mine, working… working on so many bloody things, my head may soon explode. Yes, WINDS OF WINTER, yes, yes. And HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, season two. And several of the other successor shows that we’re developing with HBO. Some of those are moving faster than others, as is always the case with development. None have been greenlit yet, though we are hoping… maybe soon.

George R. R. Martin

Martin goes on to state that, although several of these prequels have yet to receive the go-signal, he disagrees with labeling them as a no-go altogether: “A couple have been shelved, but I would not agree that they are dead. You can take something off the shelf as easily as you can put it on the shelf. All the changes at HBO Max have impacted us, certainly.”

Martin is, of course, referring to the slew of recent cancellations at HBO, which include titles like Minx, Legendary, FBoy Island, Sweet: Life Los Angeles, Love Life, and the nearly-wrapped Batgirl movie. With all this in mind, we have yet to hear confirmation from HBO itself about which of these ten live-action and animated spinoffs will be scrapped. However, we can probably make educated guesses based on the details we know so far.  

First, let me introduce you to Startling, Inc. Startling describes itself as a “library-driven development and production company imagining, discovering, developing, designing, packaging, selling, shepherding, producing and in all ways optimizing high-end entertainment content with a general emphasis on world-building IP.” The company is a long-time partner of HBO’s and produced both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. Although its website previously displayed several of the reported spinoffs in the works, its site currently only displays Dunk and Egg. By process of elimination, we can probably assume that those now-gone titles are either migrating elsewhere or are part of the ones Martin considers “shelved” for the time being.

Nine Voyages of the Sea Snake

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, aka The Sea Snake, the richest man in Westeros.
HBO

Steve Toussaint’ Corlys Velaryon was an early fan favorite when House of the Dragon first aired. As master of ships and the commander of the royal fleet, Corlys earned the nickname The Sea Snake and is known for his love of adventure. According to initial reports, the planned spinoff was supposed to focus on Corlys’ great voyages. It would entail him visiting Westeros’ fabled lands like Yi Ti and Leng, as well other places like Lys, Tyrosh, and Myr.

The Mentalist’s Bruno Heller was first attached to the project as its screenwriter. Although as of this writing, Nine Voyages is among the aforementioned titles that no longer appear on Startling’s development catalogue. In a virtual event with David Anthony Durham last October, however, Martin himself debunked speculations following the removal from Startling’s site, stating that Corlys’ spinoff is still very much in development. We’ll just have to wait and see how it pans out for this one, I suppose. 

10,000 Ships

Like with Nine Voyages, 10,000 ships was listed as among those Startling was supposedly developing with HBO but has since been removed. The show was reportedly to be set a thousand years before the events of Game of Thrones. It would center its narrative on a Westerosi hero audiences may recall hearing about on both Thrones and House of the Dragon: Nymeria. The namesake of Arya Stark’s beloved direwolf was a warrior princess who founded a unified Dorne. According to legend, Nymeria gathered the remaining survivors following the aftermath of the Rhoynish wars and fled Essos via a fleet that contained—you guessed it—ten thousand ships until they reached Dorne. The Good Wife producer Amanda Segel was first reported to be working on the project back in 2021 before the spinoff’s removal from Startling’s lineup.

Untitled Flea Bottom Series

HBO

Flea Bottom is home to several of Game of Thrones’ much-beloved characters, like Davos Seaworth and Gendry Storm (eventually Baratheon, if you subscribe to the events of Seasons Seven and Eight of the show). Flea Bottom was supposedly going to tackle life in King’s Landing’s infamous slums. But according to an exclusive report from The Hollywood Reporter, the spinoff is apparently no longer pushing forward. Apparently, despite reports, sources close to HBO said that the entertainment giant never confirmed the making or development of the show in the first place. 

Bloodmoon

Of all the cancelled Game of Thrones prequels, Bloodmoon is probably the most intriguing. Set during the Age of Heroes, the cancelled spinoff’s ensemble cast was supposed to be led by Naomi Watts and had plenty going for it. Its pilot episode reportedly had a whopping $30 million price tag but was ultimately shelved.

So what was the problem? Why throw that much money away for a show that would ultimately be scrapped? The reason is actually both sad and, well, logical. The show supposedly predates the coming of the Targaryens to Westeros. So no dragons, but it would cover The Long Night. This is where the problem arises: The Long Night is only briefly mentioned in Martin’s books, giving the showrunners little material to go on. 

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, several of the show’s execs explained the thought process behind and difficulties that went with Bloodmoon. “Bloodmoon really stood out as different, with unique world-building,” one of HBO’s executives, Francesca Orsi, recalled. “Tonally it felt very adult, sophisticated and intelligent, and there was a thematic conversation at the center of it about disenfranchisement in the face of colonialism and religious extremism.”

All in all, Martin’s books only contain eight lines focusing on The Long Night. The writer himself recognized the challenge in creating the show that almost—but ultimately, never—was: “Bloodmoon was a very difficult assignment. We’re dealing with a much more primitive people. There were no dragons yet. A lot of the pilot revolved around a wedding of a Southern house to a Northern house and it got into the whole history of the White Walkers.”

(Featured Image: HBO)


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Author
Danielle Baranda
Danielle is a twenty-something writer and postgrad student based in the Philippines. She loves books, movies, her cat, and traveling. In her spare time, she enjoys shooting 35mm film and going to concerts.