George R.R. Martin was 'surprised' when he found out HBO had 4 different 'Game of Thrones' prequel shows in the works

George R.R. Martin was 'surprised' when he found out HBO had 4 different 'Game of Thrones' prequel shows in the works
© Provided by INSIDER Creator of “Game of Thrones” George R.R. Martin and Emilia Clarke. Dan MacMedan/WireImage/Helen Sloan/HBO

  • A new book, “Tinderbox” by the journalist James Andrew Miller, gives an inside look at HBO.
  • George R.R. Martin told Miller he was taken aback by plans for four “Game of Thrones” prequels.
  • Martin said he had thought HBO was going ahead with a single idea he had pitched to them.

A new book, “Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers” by the journalist James Andrew Miller, brings fans into the behind-the-scenes process for every major HBO series. Miller interviewed famed “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin, and uncovered new information about how Martin reacted with surprise to the announcement of not one but four “Game of Thrones” prequel shows in development at HBO.

Martin told Miller he spoke with HBO about following up the fantasy series and pitched “two successor shows” around 2017. Martin said he knew they’d need a new showrunner, but he was still working on the unfinished “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series.

“Then I suddenly found out that they had put four prequels in motion,” Martin said. “The Dance of the Dragons idea was just one of them. And the other three were ideas that had come from other people who I guess had read my books or had some of the documents at HBO.”

The Dance of the Dragons is the story of a Targaryen family civil war found in several of his published works, including “Fire and Blood.” Martin told Miller he had suggested this civil war storyline, along with the “Dunk and Egg” novella series, as two series ideas. 

“They didn’t like the Dunk and Egg idea because they were familiar with the novellas — somebody there had read them — but it was too soft,” Martin told Miller. “But they did respond to the Dance of the Dragons idea.”

So Martin was taken aback to learn that HBO had “hired four writers and we suddenly had four shows in development.”

“It surprised me, I’ll admit that,” he said. “I’d never heard of that before. I thought we’d be going ahead with one, with one development, with the one that I pitched to them, the Dance of the Dragons idea.”

The number of ‘Game of Thrones’ prequels in development has been shifting over the last four years

George R.R. Martin was 'surprised' when he found out HBO had 4 different 'Game of Thrones' prequel shows in the works
© Provided by INSIDER Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in “House of the Dragon.” Ollie Upton/HBO

HBO’s plans for “Game of Thrones” prequels were first made public in May 2017. At the time, Entertainment Weekly broke the news that four different ideas were being explored by four teams of writers at HBO. 

A little over a week later, Martin wrote a blog post about the news titled “About Those Spinoffs…” and opened by telling his fans that he had been “on the road” when the story broke. 

“I met with all four of the writers,” Martin said in “Tinderbox.” “They came to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I lived, and I had meetings with them, discussed their idea, did workshops, tried to fill them in on any questions and all that.”

By September 2017, a fifth “Game of Thrones” spinoff was confirmed to be in the works. 

But in the intervening years, a lot has changed. First, HBO greenlit one of the ideas to the pilot stage, and shelved two of the other ideas. Then, the network spent a reported $30 million on production for the pilot episode before deciding not to move forward with the series (this detail was also unveiled in Miller’s book). 

On the same day fans found out the first prequel pilot was being scrapped, HBO announced a prequel titled “House of the Dragon” was going into production for a full 10-episode season. 

George R.R. Martin was 'surprised' when he found out HBO had 4 different 'Game of Thrones' prequel shows in the works
© AP Photo/Charles Sykes George R.R. Martin. AP Photo/Charles Sykes

“The reason we did multiple scripts [is that] out of five we’d be lucky to get one we’re really excited about,” Bloys said in July 2018 at a Television Critics Association panel attended by Insider.

When asked if the other four ideas were “deceased” or just on hold, Bloys said it was a “combination.”

In January 2021, news began circulating that indicated HBO had changed its strategy around the successor shows. Entertainment Weekly reported that HBO was “looking to greenlight several more shows set in the world of Westeros.”

The same day, Variety reported that a “Dunk and Egg” series was in development, meaning whatever reason HBO had for turning down Martin’s suggestion for this series back in 2017, as the writer had recounted in “Tinderbox,” must have changed. 

By July 2021, The Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibberd reported that at least three animated series set in the “Game of Thrones” universe were also in the works. 

But for now, the only prequel fans know for sure they’ll see is “House of the Dragon,” set to premiere its first season in 2022. You can read everything we know about the new show here.

Read the original article on Insider

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