HBO

'Game of Thrones' prequel overload is coming

Since Game of Thrones signed off with its polarizing finale in 2019, nothing’s really filled its shoes as the one show everyone talked and blogged about ad nauseum. Sure, there’s The Mandalorian, which spawned endless Baby Yoda memes and dietary concerns, but turns out it was just the fifth-most streamed new original series by hours in 2020. (For comparison, that’s roughly a quarter of the 952 million hours spent streaming The Office last year, per Nielsen.) How’s HBO planning to occupy that gulf? Well, by ordering a whole lot more Game of Thrones, of course!

The cable giant was already moving forward with one GoT prequel series, the Targaryen-forward House of the Dragon, set to debut in 2022. Now, Variety reports that the network is moving forward with yet another prequel series, adapted from George R. R. Martin’s Tales of Dunk and Egg novella series. The series takes place 90 years before A Song of Ice and Fire, following Ser Duncan the Tall and Aegon V Targaryen. He’s released three books thus far — starting with The Hedge Knight in 1998, The Sworn Sword, and most recently The Mystery Knight in 2010 — and has alluded to featuring upwards of 10 novellas in the series. But if there’s anything we know about this guy and failing to deliver on pages, HBO may just have the first three to work with and a rough outline.

Although House of the Dragon is a sure thing to be ordered to series, Dunk and Egg still feels fairly tentative. Variety notes that it’s still in early development, without a team of writers or actors currently lined up to shoot a pilot. Back in 2019, a Naomi Watts-starring Thrones prequel filmed its pilot, but was ultimately nixed by HBO.

Nevertheless, it’s increasingly clear that HBO’s going the route of Disney with the Star Wars and Marvel empires — building out the widest possible network of spin-offs and prequel series to keep their most successful properties in business. As long as there’s still interest in the tentpole franchises, with nothing else lined up to take their place, expect to see Game of Thrones extend its shelf life — and media dominance — for decades to come.