Game of Thrones is a huge, record-breaking hit for HBO, and has drawn its enormous audience into a vast fantasy world with countless characters, settings and narrative threads to pull. So it’s no surprise that the pay-cable network is going beyond all in on the soon-to-conclude series’ universe, developing not just four, but five Game of Thrones prequels.
The aforementioned four shows, which have been public knowledge since summer, are being written by Brian Helgeland (Legend), Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) and Carly Wray (The Leftovers), with A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin attached to the latter two. As first reported by EW, Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) is now working closely with Martin to pen a prequel series of his own.
Cogman is a co-executive producer on Game of Thrones, and has scripted 10 episodes to date—including season seven’s “Stormborn,” and season six’s “Blood of My Blood” and “The Broken Man”—making him the show’s third-most prolific writer. He was brought on as an assistant to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss during the show’s very first season. Martin hinted at Cogman’s involvement in a then-unconfirmed fifth prequel project back in May, writing on his blog, “I don’t know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as [Cogman] does.”
Plot details for all five projects are nigh-impossible to come by at this point. However, Martin has eliminated a few possibilities, including his Dunk and Egg novellas and the story of Robert’s Rebellion. It’s intriguing that Martin has stressed that these are prequels (though he prefers the term “successor show”), not spin-offs—perhaps, by the end of Game of Thrones, there won’t be a Westeros (or Essos, for that matter) to return to. The show’s final season is expected to start shooting next month.