Shelved, renewed or canceled: The status of all the ‘Game of Thrones’ spinoff shows

HBO is shooting ‘Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’, the third show to come out of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy. But another idea about Jon Snow has been sidelined for now

Juego de tronos
Peter Claffey, in a promotional image from 'Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,' the new 'Game of Thrones' spinoff.Steffan Hill (HBO)
Eneko Ruiz Jiménez

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” This is the defining phrase of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga by George R.R. Martin, but it also describes the process for the future projects of the HBO franchise. Unlike other franchises that grow out of control, HBO executives are looking closely at each spinoff, prequel and sequel proposed from the epic fantasy universe, and are not afraid to cancel a project, even if it is well underway. It is survival of the fittest.

“There are always Game of Thrones scripts being written,” said HBO programming chief Casey Bloys in early 2024. “The way we try to approach it is not by [saying], ‘We need five shows within three years,’ but ‘What are the stories worth telling?’” he explained to The Hollywood Reporter in 2021. At that time, the veteran executive of the cable channel-turned-platform stressed that they had to follow the same goal that made Game of Thrones so popular, even if now they were creating shared universes, not original series.

Bloys repeated this message many times before the release of House of the Dragon, the first spinoff in HBO’s history of the channel: “We’ve been developing multiple takes on different worlds. The one I want to do is the one that I think is best creatively. I prefer to make it about the stories and the showrunners and their vision, as opposed to hitting some arbitrary target for the right number of shows.” In other words, he does not want to treat the show like a factory, a strategy that Disney — with its numerous annual Marvel and Star Wars releases — has come to regret. It’s not easy to strike lucky twice with the same idea.

Indeed, there was no rush to produce Game of Thrones in time for a release date. The original pilot was cancelled, rewritten and part of the cast was replaced. The new proposed projects from the George R.R. Martin universe are being given the same treatment, and each aims to be a standalone show.

House of the Dragon

Status: Renewed for third season
La casa del Dragón 2 imagen
Image from the series 'House of the Dragon.'Max

House of the Dragon has not only been renewed for a third season to continue the story of the Targaryen civil war, but, after the battle of the dance of the dragons, George R.R. himself. Martin has said that the series could last four seasons. He doesn’t want to feel the same frustration he did over the rushed ending of Game of Thrones. The showrunner of House of the Dragon, Ryan Condal, went even further, suggesting that it could lead to an entire anthology, based on different chapters of the book Fire and Blood: “This is the story of the Targaryen dynasty. This is the end of a chapter in the story, and then another chapter begins.”

Jon Snow

Satus: Shelved
Jon Snow (Kit Harington), in one of the key moments of 'Game of Thrones'.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington), in one of the key moments of 'Game of Thrones'.

The Targaryens have had better luck than the Starks. Prequels also seem easier to carry out than the direct sequels of the original. The project that seemed closest to being realized was a spinoff centered on Kit Harington’s tough Jon Snow, who returned to the wall at the end of Game of Thrones. HBO even signed a contract with Harington, but in April, the actor shared the bad news: “It’s not happening — and not happening anytime soon anyway. We bounced some ideas around and nothing really lit us up. It just didn’t. I think we don’t want to do something that’s not worth it. So for the time being, we’re just shelving it.”

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight

Status: Shooting has begun

So for a Game of Thrones project to go ahead, the winning strategy has been to have original material to adapt. That is the case of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, which is based on Tales of Dunk and Egg. It’s a more accessible and family-friendly series of novellas, which follows the atypical life of two heroes wandering through Westeros: a naive knight and his bald and tiny squire. In this fantasy twist on the road movie (complete with horses), the Targaryens are once again at the center of the story, which was the first that Martin sold after the end of Game of Thrones. Martin himself is writing the script together with Ira Parker.

Aegon's Conquest

Status: Script

When Game of Thrones ended in 2019, HBO selected about 15 possible projects. One of them was a kind of superhero saga between the seven gods of Westeros that takes place before they are considered deities. The idea was polished and ended up in the battle of Game of Throne spinoffs. This included House of the Dragon; A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight; a show about the destruction of the Valyrian Empire written by Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island); a series about the warrior Queen Nymeria, written by Oscar winner Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential), and a final one about the conquest of Aegon, alcoholic first king of the Seven Kingdoms inspired by William I of England, the Conqueror. Of these five, in addition to the two prequels, only Aegon’s Conquest has moved forward. This year, it was announced that the project had been revived, with Mattson Tomlin (The Batman Part II) writing alongside Martin.


Status: Pilot filmed and rejected
Naomi Watts signs autographs during the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival in 2019.
Naomi Watts signs autographs during the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival in 2019.Franco Origlia (Getty Images)

In 2021, Martin reached an exclusive agreement with HBO. From that moment on, he would control all the projects of his franchise. That partly explains why the previous ones disappeared. Bloodmoon was the most surprising, since it had a $30-million pilot, starring Naomi Watts, but has never seen the light of day. One of the problems was that Martin had only written eight lines about this Age of Heroes, which takes place 8,000 years before Game of Thrones. The series was supposed to tell the origin of the White Walkers. Bloys said that it wasn’t “horrible,” but that it didn’t capture the same places as the original series and that was “higher risk.” The secret is not to stray too far from the original show.

The Sea Snake/Nine Voyages (animated)

Status: In development
Steve Toussaint in 'House of the Dragon.'
Steve Toussaint in 'House of the Dragon.'

Corlys Verlaryon, or The Sea Snake, is one of the most important supporting characters in House of the Dragon. But in the legends of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga, the character played by Steve Toussaint has his own in-depth story about his adventures as a naval warrior. HBO has been working on a series about his travels for a long time, with screenwriter Bruno Heller (Roma), but Martin said that the production would be animated to save on the costs of filming at sea. There are two other animated projects in development. One of them is called The Golden Empire, which is about the empire in the Seven Kingdoms that is based on imperial China.

Ten Thousand Ships

Status: Revived

Ten Thousand Ships — the story of Princess Nymeria, founder of Dorne — is one of the first shows presented to HBO. After several complete rewrites, the script is now in the hands of Pulitzer winner Eboni Booth, although Martin has admitted that he does not know how they will adapt the fleet, which is made up of 10,000 ships, 300 dragons and giant turtles.

Flea Bottom

Status: Canceled

HBO has been pitched all sorts of projects for Game of Thrones spinoffs, including Flea Bottom, about the underworld of King’s Landing. But the channel knew pulled the plug on it before it had spent too much time or money. One misstep can damage the entire franchise that HBO has built. For now, the plan is to be careful. They don’t want to repeat the same mistake Disney made with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Secret Invasion.

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