The final season of Game of Thrones is set to air in 2019, at which point I assume we will all fall into the post-show depression where our lives briefly lose all sense of meaning. But never fear! HBO is looking out for us and is looking to fill that Game of Thrones shaped hole in our hearts with a series of prequel shows. There are currently five spin-off ideas floating about in various stages of production - although none with any set timeline for release.
[pullquote]Spin-offs allow producers to cash in on the success of Game of Thrones without compromising the original story[/pullquote]
Game of Thrones is one of the biggest shows around, boasting a budget of 15 million dollars per episode in the upcoming season and, according to the New York Times, makes about 1 billion dollars annually. Obviously, HBO don’t want to lose this extremely profitable series, but they simultaneously can’t keep the current story going forever. The answer ladies and gentlemen, lies in the spin-off. Spin-off shows allow producers to cash in on the success of Game of Thrones without compromising the original story arc. The question now is what sort of stories are these new shows looking to tell.
While not much has been said about the upcoming shows, it’s clear that none of the spin-offs will be a continuation of the current story or characters. While this means no more Tyrion or Jon Snow, it could be for the best. Although it’s always sad to come to the end of a show and let go of your favourite characters, it’s better to have a solid conclusion to a story rather than letting it drag on for the sake of making money.
[pullquote]HBO president Casey Bloys confirmed that there may be ‘familiar bloodlines’ in one or more of the upcoming shows[/pullquote]
Instead of releasing the last installments in the Song of Ice and Fire series, author George R.R Martin seems more keen to expand the history of Westeros; releasing a series of novellas and an upcoming book named Fire and Blood, which aims to provide a detailed history of the Targaryen rule. While this isn’t the continuation of the story that fans are desperate for, it’s possible that HBO may follow a similar direction and set these spinoff shows somewhere in the complicated history of Westeros. Back in January HBO president Casey Bloys confirmed that there may be ‘familiar bloodlines’ in one or more of the upcoming shows, and given the importance of the family in both Game of Thrones and Martin’s upcoming work, I think we can expect to see some Targaryen ancestors on our screens.
HBO executives have stated that while development of the spin-off shows is underway, they are looking to conclude the final series of Game of Thrones first, meaning that fans shouldn’t expect to see any definitive prequels until 2020 at least.