The end is in sight for Game of Thrones. With only two more seasons of HBO’s acclaimed series before the game comes to a close, fans are already prepping for a world without Westeros. Six years ago, it seemed unlikely that a TV series based on an unfinished series of novels could ever change the world, but in the ensuing years HBO did just that. Television has been forever altered by Game of Thrones, and imagining Sunday nights without the political maneuverings and intrigue of the Seven Kingdoms is almost too much to bear.

The popularity of Game of Thrones—which has become one of the most watched TV shows of all time—has led to much speculation about what might happen to the series after the finale airs next year. There’s certainly room to turn it into a franchise, and the world is rich enough to mine indefinitely. Sequels and spinoffs have been floated, but nothing has ever come to fruition or been announced. Still, HBO is all too aware of the potential for more once the series comes to a close. Now, we have some idea of what that might look like.

In a new interview with EW, HBO programming president Casey Bloys offered some clues as to what might happen with a new Game of Thrones series, if anything happens at all. To get a glimpse at our future forays into the world of Westeros, we have to take a look into the past. According to Bloys, the ideas being explored now for potential new shows are all prequels:

“A prequel feels like it has less pressure on it [than a spin-off]. [Author George R.R. Martin’s history of Westeros] gives you areas in which to say to a writer, ‘If you were going to do this, then go flesh it out,’ and we’ll see what comes back. But I don’t feel any pressure that we have to have something.”

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There’s certainly plenty of room within Martin’s vast story to explore the time before the series began. Martin himself has outlined much of the ancient history of Westeros in order to better craft the culture of the various factions within the show, even turning some of it into a series of novellas collectively titled A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

It would make sense for HBO and the Game of Thrones writers to turn to these existing works for any future forays into the world, and it would offer fans something entirely new to take in and enjoy. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms delves deep into the history of Westeros, presenting the world we know in an entirely new light, which gives additional context to the story of the main series. That’s certainly one option, though not the only one available.

It would also be possible for a new series to more fully explore the war between Robert and Targaryens, giving us more insight into young Ned and young Robert in the days before Robert’s ascension to the Iron Throne. That would be somewhat trickier, however, given that audiences already have certain expectations regarding those characters. Bloys’ comments suggest he agrees. Perhaps it’s better to move entirely away from the story we already know and create something wholly unique.

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Fans can rest assured, however, that any sequel that eventually gets made, if it indeed does get made, will be held to the same standards of quality we’re used to from the world of Game of Thrones. No one involved seems interested in doing a series for the sake of cashing in:

“It’s such a big property we would be foolish not to explore it, but it’s a pretty high bar. We’ll take some shots at it. I’m not going to do it just to do it. It has to feel very special. I would rather have no sequel and leave it as-is then have something we rushed out.”

That’s good news for fans, and shows that HBO is being careful to weigh their options before setting anything in stone. We can rest assured that anything they might give us to keep us coming back to Westeros will be just as good as we’ve come to expect and not sully the legacy of what has become, against all odds, one of the greatest TV shows ever made. We’ll keep you posted on all Game of Thrones news as they develop.

Game of Thrones season 7 premieres Sunday June 25 on HBO.

Source: EW

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