Television history is littered with spinoffs of popular series. From sitcom spinoffs like Mork & Mindy and Frasier to genre shows like Angel and Torchwood, repurposing existing characters for new TV shows has been a go-to way for TV execs to ring a little extra money out of successful properties. But what if a show's characters all get horribly murdered by the end of the series?
That's one question that could face a potential spinoff of HBO's Game of Thrones, given how many characters have been offed over previous seasons. Fear the Walking Dead sidestepped that issue by having the show take place in the same world as The Walking Dead but in a different part of the country with an entirely different set of characters. Would HBO follow a similar path, or might they have something else in mind for extending the longevity of their series?
HBO programming president Casey Bloys spoke to THR about the topic at the Westworld premiere in Hollywood, and while he did not have any specifics to give about HBO's plans, his comments made it clear it's something that's been on their minds. In the end, however, Bloys says the decision on how to proceed with a potential spinoff comes down to finding the right ideas and the right person to execute them:
"There are so many properties and areas to go to. For us, it's about finding the right take with the right writer."
That writer is not likely to be either David Benioff or D.B. Weiss, the show's existing showrunners. They have indicated previously that they would not continue with the Game of Thrones universe once the current series is done. Bloys, however, is hopeful that once the stress of production wears off they might change their minds:
"You're getting them right when they're about to embark on production. It's a big, big commitment for them, not just their creative force, but also their family life. They're gone for months at a time. So it's a big, big thing. But should we find a property that makes sense as a spinoff or a prequel — whatever you want to say — I would not expect them to do it, because they're going to need to decompress for a good amount of time, but it would certainly be nice to have their involvement in some way. At what level? I have no idea."
Of course, in the end Bloys wants what any TV exec with an eye on the bottom line would want, which is for his channel's massive moneymaker to continue on indefinitely. When asked if HBO had any definitive plans for an eventual Game of Thrones spinoff, he offered his best case scenario:
"Not yet. There are things that sound interesting, but at this point, we have no writers assigned or anything like that. In a perfect world, Game of Thrones would keep going, and we wouldn't have to deal with any of this!"
There are two abbreviated seasons left for Game of Thrones, and after that HBO will have to decide whether to let the show die peacefully or to invoke the magic of the Lord of Light to force it back to life. A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R.R. Martin has said that there is "a wealth of material" available on which to base additional stories set in Westeros, but time will tell if any of that material sees the light of day.
Game of Thrones is expected to premiere season 7 in the summer of 2017, but no release date has been announced.