The great question of the current television age — what happens post-“Game of Thrones”? — has edged closer to answer, and it’s an auspicious one: Author George R.R. Martin will be involved in some aspect of a new series, as will be Westeros, according to reports confirmed by HBO.
In addition, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, current “Game of Thrones” showrunners, will continue as executive producers on the follow-up series, along with Martin.
HBO has given a green light to four separate projects — two of which will be co-written by the author of “A Song of Ice and Fire,” and two of which will not. Each will be set in Westeros. Presumably only one will ultimately go to air.
Each project is essentially a treatment, which means the rough creative outlines of a potential series will be drawn. Other creative details were not revealed. Any of the four could be a prequel to the current time frame in the ongoing series — which will end at eight seasons — or a sequel. A spinoff, set in a contemporary time frame, is conceivable as well.
HBO did not reveal whether any of the four projects will be tied to Martin’s future “Ice and Fire” novels, “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring.” “Winds” is expected to be published this year, although Martin has yet to confirm a publication date. “A Dream of Spring” could still be years away. Nevertheless, the prospect of a novel tie-in seems unlikely. “GoT” has since established its own creative direction, independent of the novels. The new projects appear to be entirely new stories, without a novel as guide.
According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, the four projects will be written by Max Borenstein; Jane Goldman and Martin; Brian Helgeland; and Carly Wray and Martin.
Wray was long associated with “Mad Men.” Oscar winner Helgeland is a veteran feature scribe (“A Knight’s Tale,” “L.A. Confidential”); Goldman also has a long background in features (the “X-Men” franchise); Borenstein wrote the screenplay for “Kong: Skull Island.”
HBO confirmed some time ago that it had been mulling a series continuation, but network chief Casey Bloys said discussions were ongoing — until now. With two short seasons left and only 15 episodes, there was (and remains) enormous pressure on HBO to figure a way forward after “Game,” considered the most popular TV program in the world. Netflix and other streaming services have secured major program franchises which — only five years ago — would have automatically gone to HBO or Showtime.