When Will Game of Thrones Return?
A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the most popular fantasy series ever published, and while it remains incomplete, HBO’s adaptation didn’t let an untold story stand in their way. One of the most beloved shows of the 2010s, Game of Thrones finally went with a (rather divisive) final season earlier in 2019. For some fans, seeing the story wrap up has been a relief, with many fan favorite characters left standing at the end of the show. For others, however, they want more, and it’s only a matter of time before HBO gives fans what they want.
So, will Game of Thrones be returning to air, or have we seen the last of Westeros? Don’t worry, GoT superfans—we’ll return to George R.R. Martin’s world of high fantasy soon enough.
Game of Thrones Prequels
If you haven’t heard, HBO has gained a new corporate owner in the last year: AT&T purchased WarnerMedia, owners of HBO, and immediately begun changing the corporate structure in HBO. That includes more shows, a major difference from the old “quality over quantity” approach of the last twenty years. That certainly doesn’t mean quality will drop greatly, but the more shows airing on HBO at any given time, the more likely one or more will eventually disappoint.
That all leads us to Game of Thrones, one of the most popular and vital properties to the HBO lineage. Prior to the final season of Game of Thrones airing on HBO, the company announced they were workshopping five different prequels and spin-offs set in the Game of Thrones universe, with the first, rumored to be called The Long Night, having shot a pilot over this summer.
What was The Long Night?
Starring Naomi Watts, The Long Night (again, a rumored, unconfirmed title) was set thousands of years prior before the events of Game of Thrones. Not much was known about the show, but it would follow an important chapter in the history of Westeros, once again dealing with—you guessed it—the White Walkers. According to HBO’s “What to Know” page on their site (which has since been taken down), the concept of the show began with a focus on “the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.” In addition to starring Naomi Watts in the lead role, we also know that Jane Goldman was serving as head writer and showrunner.
Unfortunately, much like [redacted] in Game of Thrones, The Long Night has been beheaded at HBO’s corporate offices, with reports that the series was cancelled being leaked to the press on October 29th, 2019. This follows rumors of issues during the filming of the pilot this past summer, which means HBO might have decided that the challenges facing the show were simply too great to conquer.
Of course, as we mentioned, The Long Night was far from the only GoT project being worked on at HBO. If you’re worried about the franchise being dead in the water, you don’t have to fret just yet.
What Other Shows are Planned?
As we mentioned, five shows set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire were being planned as late as this year. Martin commented publicly on the fate of Game of Thrones in 2019, saying that three of the projects were moving forward at a solid pace. He specifically called out The Long Night for shooting in 2019, but as we now know, that project has been abandoned following the pilot phase. So what happens now? We don’t know much about the other two projects—both of which Martin referred to as still being in script stages in May—but a few hints have been laid that make it clear where we might be going next.
First, in that same blog post linked above, Martin hinted that fans may want to visit his fictional history book Fire and Blood to theorize what the spin-offs would be about. That alone makes for an obvious hint, but in September of this year, Deadline reported that a second series based directly on Fire and Blood is in the works. The show has George R.R. Martin directly involved as an executive producer, along with Ryan Condal, the co-creator of Colony. The show has been worked on since fall of 2018, and though HBO refuses to confirm it exists, Deadline’s sources are usually pretty accurate.
Update: Hours after this article was published, HBO confirmed a new series based on Fire and Blood, along with its title: House of the Dragon. As Deadline reported in September, the series will follow House Targaryen 300 years prior to the events of Game of Thrones, as a civil war overtakes the legendary family. HBO also confirmed the show would be written by Condal, with Martin indeed serving as a co-executive producer.
This is a straight to series order, which means House of the Dragon is skipping the usual process of filming a pilot, instead opting to jump right into pre-production on a first season. The Hollywood Reporter notes this is the first time in Game of Thrones history that a series has been ordered straight to air, as both Game of Thrones and The Long Night faced long development cycles (with the latter ultimately being passed on).
Though the series was announced at an event announcing HBO Max, the series should air on HBO’s flagship channel.
Will We Ever Get a Sequel to Game of Thrones?
This one has an easy answer: nope. HBO’s President of Programming Casey Bloys told THR earlier in 2019 that they had no plans to follow up on Game of Thrones with a sequel series. When the franchise returns to television, it will be told in prequels and spin-offs.
So, Game of Thrones fans, are you excited to see what’s coming next in the world of Westeros? Let us know in the comments if you’re ready for House of the Dragon, or if you’re still mourning the loss of your favorite GoT characters.