Here's a twist worthy of Westeros. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, there may only be one Game of Thrones spinoff left standing at the end of the development process. In fact, the hit show may not have a prequel at all. If a prequel happens it will be because one of the scripts wows HBO and the man behind the world of Westeros, George R.R. Martin. One thing is certain, the writers behind the four (or five) proposed Game of Thrones prequels will be locked in a creative battle where the stakes are every bit as high as the race to see who will sit on the Iron Throne.
Fans may have originally thought all of the prequels could end up on the screen at some point, but it turns out the development process behind finding a worthy heir to Game of Thrones is much more complex. HBO programming president Casey Bloys revealed to EW that his primary focus is on making sure the series that has captivated audiences for seven seasons so far has the grand finale it deserves. He said,
"I wanted to make sure fans know this is a really embryonic process. I haven't even seen outlines. In the press at large, everybody said, 'there are four spinoffs' and they assume that means each one is happening and we’re going to have a new 'Game of Thrones' show per quarter. That’s not what’s going on. The idea is not to do four shows. The bar set by [Benioff and Weiss] is so high that my hope is to get one show that lives up to it."
After Season 8 is wrapped up, then the premium channel can focus on deciding which one of the prequel scripts has the potential to become a reality. One thing is certain, it's going to be quite some time before fans will be allowed to return to Westeros after Game of Thrones comes to an end — if they ever return at all.
This all sounds a bit scary, I know. A world without some kind of Game of Thrones in it just feels wrong at this point, but it is heartening to know HBO is working hard to make sure a prequel has a compelling story to tell. Truthfully, the idea of all four of the proposed ideas becoming series always sounded far-fetched. As amazing as Game of Thrones is, if HBO committed to that many spinoffs, they would basically become the Westeros channel.
Bloys wanted to clear up a few more misconceptions as well. He did confirm that all of the current ideas take place before the events in Game of Thrones, so there's no talk of actors continuing in their fan favorite roles. Additionally, series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have no plans of being involved with the prequels at this time. Bloys explained to EW,
"They came into HBO with an idea for a show with a beginning, middle, and end, and they want to see it through. In conversations with them, they feel if their name is on the prequels — even in a passive way — it conveys some sort of expectation or responsibility. They want to enjoy the show as fans and don’t want to worry about the scripts or production issues."
Basically, if a Game of Thrones prequel happens, it will come from an entirely new creator, and it could happen in any form, including a limited series. The only thing that is certain at this point is the race is on for the writers who have been given the unenviable task of trying to capture the magic of Westeros in their prequel scripts — and only one of them is likely to claim the Throne in the end.