Usually, you might want to be warned away from Game of Thrones (director: Michelle MacLaren) spoilers, but when it comes to updates about the Game of Thrones spin-offs, most fans will take what they can get. With the main series now not returning until 2019, any new details have been swiftly looked over for any indicators of what to expect. The most recent reveal from HBO president Casey Bloys to TVLine is no different. The executive went on the record to announce that there won't be character crossover between the original and the Game of Thrones spin-offs. But don't give up hope completely, because while there won't be familiar faces, Bloys does hint to TVLine that "there may be [familiar] bloodlines." Just that single word, and already the brain of every fan is likely spinning.
If you were hoping for a closer look at what makes Melisandre tick, or a deep dive on the events leading up to the Tower of Joy, you're out of luck. But there are so many storied houses in the Westerosi universe to choose from, so which will it be? Will the spin-offs be delving deeper into fiery House Targaryen, as George R.R. Martin hinted in September? Or perhaps a closer look at House Stark, those stoic, stubborn Northerners? Or maybe the ironborn Greyjoys, those who are dead who may never die? Even a lesser-known bloodline that hasn't gotten the love it deserves in the current series? Martell? Reed? Mormont? Tarly?
The opportunities are endless, and it would be easy to get carried away with just this reveal. But it's important to remember that these are still just ideas swirling around in the world. They haven't even been pitched as pilots, let alone selected, and the HBO president is doing his best to bring fans back down to to earth.
"Should we go forward and make a pilot and [then] a series, nothing would air on HBO until at least a year after Game of Thrones ends. We want the final season of Game of Thrones, being the special event that it is [to stand on its own]. We don’t want to use it to launch [a new series]. We want some separation there."
With timing, with character separation, and with storyline, producers are doing everything they can to separate these projects in the minds of their audience. There's only a hint of a tenuous connection with the bloodline clue, and even that might not bear out.
After all, in that same May interview, HBO made clear that there is "no set timetable for these projects." They're taking as long as they take, and the team will "evaluate what they have when the scripts are in." What that sounds like is they could start with the connection of a bloodline, like building up a member House Targaryen, perhaps, and then, once the writing is all there, discover that another character is actually more compelling and allow them to take the story in a different direction.
Essentially, anything is up for grabs right now, including the time frame; it hasn't even been confirmed whether these spin-offs will be set before or after the original series. All anyone has been told is that they'll "explore different time periods of George R. R. Martin’s vast and rich universe," which could really mean anything.
Rarely has a spoiler so frustratingly opened up more options rather than narrowing them down, but the bloodline reveal has still stoked excitement. Even with nothing more specific to share, Bloys' enthusiasm comes through. "I'm liking what I'm seeing," he tells the outlet, adding that he's "seen some things that I think are potentially very exciting." Talk to you again a little closer to 2020, hopefully, when you have a bit more to share.