HBO is currently hard at work trying to find a way to stay in the Westeros business a little bit longer. The premium channel has revealed that there are five top-secret Game of Thrones spin-off scripts that could be in contention as a follow-up to the series. Thanks to a few new clues, some fans now believe one of the Game of Thrones spin-offs could be about House Targaryen. While HBO is working hard to keep details about all five of the projects quiet for the moment, a hint from George R.R. Martin may have inadvertently revealed at least one of the potential shows would track the history of Westeros' most famous dynasty.
What sets this particular spin-off apart from the others is that Entertainment Weekly confirmed that Game of Thrones executive producer Bryan Cogman is the one working on the script. Cogman seems to be a favorite of Martin's. He's contributed at least one episode to every season of Game of Thrones so far, and the trend is set to continue in Season 8. In addition to having Martin's respect, Cogman is also deeply acquainted with the books on which the HBO series is based. His knowledge of the history of Westeros may provide a clue to what his prequel series is about.
The other tease comes from Martin himself in the most roundabout way possible. On Wednesday, Martin wrote about Cogman's series on his Livejournal. He said,
"I can say that, like the other pilots, it will be a prequel rather than sequel, a successor rather than a spinoff. Bryan's series will be an adaptation, and one that will thrill most fans of the books, I think, set during a very exciting period of Westerosi history. And I'll be working with him every step of the way; we're going to be co-creating the show."
Notice that Martin wrote that Cogman's series would be an adaptation. Since the author has already said his Dunk and Egg novellas are not among the contenders for a prequel series, this suggests that Cogman is adapting an upcoming book.
Here's where things get interesting. Since it's been established that all five of the spin-offs will be prequels, then it's unlikely they're adapting anything else from the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Instead, Cogman must be looking to another Westeros book for inspiration, and it may be one that Martin has suggested will hit bookstore shelves by 2018.
That book is Fire and Blood, Volume 1, a history of the Targaryen kings. Originally, Martin hadn't planned on finishing the detailed history of the Targaryens until after he wrote the final two books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. However, he's now moved his time table up. His current plan is to release the first volume in 2018 or 2019.
When does HBO expect to have a Game of Thrones prequel pilot in contention? By the 2019 or 2020 season. Given Cogman's ties to the show, his positive working relationship with Martin, and attention to detail when it comes to the source material, there's no way his script isn't at the head of the pack. And if said script is about the Targaryen dynasty, HBO has to be interested.
Martin isn't exactly known for keeping deadlines, and he has written several stories set in Westeros for various short story collections. He's also published a companion history book for the main series called The World of Ice and Fire. That means there's no way to be certain the Targaryens are Cogman's focus just yet, but the fact that he's working on an adaptation certainly makes it a possibility that the famed Westeros dynasty could be at the center of his script.
If Cogman's series is about the Fire and Blood-loving House, then HBO may already have a winner on their hands when it comes to the race to find a Game of Thrones successor. The promise of more dragons and twisted family politics is all any fan could ask for out of a prequel to their favorite fantasy series.