Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jamie Lannister in a scene from the upcoming seventh season of Game of Thrones. Photo: Helen Sloan/HBOGame of Thrones is not a show which does anything by halves.
It loves hard, kills like no other television show in history and now, as its end draws near, plans have emerged for not one spin-off but four.
Of course, in real terms, it is unlikely all four Game of Thrones spin-offs will see the light of day, but in order to ensure their most successful show ever has a long shelf life, HBO is taking no chances on developing the next phase.
HBO has commissioned four writers to develop projects connected to the series and set within the fictional world of Westeros, created by writer George R. R. Martin.
It is understood Martin is involved in at least two of the four projects.
The four writers are Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale) and Carly Wray (Mad Men). Martin is said to be collaborating on the Goldman and Wray projects.
HBO has offered no specific detail about any of the series, except to say they will “explore different time periods of George R. R. Martin’s vast and rich universe”.
Which means anything – prequel, spin-off or sequel – is technically in play.
The fact that they are being developed by HBO is highly unusual: it would be the first time a “spin-off” has even been considered for a major HBO drama.
But Game of Thrones has emerged as HBO’s most valuable asset, at a time when new players such as Netflix and Amazon have cut heavily into the high-end scripted drama space.
HBO has not actually foundered but there have been missteps in their drama development, which has only amplified the channel’s dependence on Game of Thrones as a source of subscription revenue.
Game of Thrones also delivers HBO an unprecedented audience: almost 25 million viewers each week.
HBO said the four potential spin-off projects were not working to a specific deadline.
“We’ll take as much or as little time as the writers need and, as with all our development, we will evaluate what we have when the scripts are in,” a spokesman for the network said.
The seventh season of Game of Thrones kicks off on July 16.