Photo Credit: Kieran Belshaw/Simon & Schuster
Game of Thrones is going animated for HBO Max. Multiple reports claim that an adult animated Game of Thrones spin-off is in the “very early” stages of development for AT&T-owned WarnerMedia's fledgling streaming service, currently exclusive to the US. HBO Max has reportedly met with several writers to hear pitches, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but no deals have been finalised. Additionally, there's no word on what an animated Thrones series would focus on, or even what period of Westeros history it would be set in.
For WarnerMedia, the animated Game of Thrones series is part of a strategy to make the most of George R.R. Martin's IP, with the author tied to a lucrative overall deal at HBO. Back in 2017, HBO had been exploring five Thrones spin-offs, though only one — led by Naomi Watts — ended up getting a pilot order. That too was cancelled after HBO looked at the pilot. HBO then gave a series order to House of the Dragon, a prequel that tells the story of House Targaryen 300 years prior to the events of Game of Thrones.
Then last week, reports emerged that HBO was developing a Thrones prequel based on Martin's novellas, “Tales of Dunk and Egg”. That is set 90 years prior to the events we witnessed in the eight seasons of the epic fantasy series and would follow “Dunk” (Ser Duncan the Tall, the future Lord Commander of the Kingsguard) and “Egg” (Aegon V Targaryen, future king of Westeros). Aegon V was the father of the Mad King, grandfather to Daenerys Targaryen, and great-grandfather to Jon Snow.
HBO's renewed efforts to expand the world of Thrones might seem like a response to Disney unveiling dozens of Star Wars and Marvel series for Disney+ — a rival to HBO Max — back in December, but people familiar with the matter told THR that these expansion plans have long been in the works. The only thing that has changed in recent times is WarnerMedia's aggressive push to grow HBO Max, that has struggled to convert existing pay TV HBO subscribers over to HBO Max, even though it's complimentary.
It's why the animated Thrones series is being explored for HBO Max, while the Dunk & Egg series is being developed for HBO (the TV channel). For those of us in India, that would mean the latter would end up on Disney+ Hotstar, while the former wouldn't be available here. Of course, that's only going by the deals currently in place.
In recent months, HBO Max has announced spin-offs and revivals for multiple IPs it owns, including a Suicide Squad series called Peacemaker from James Gunn, a continuation of Sex and the City called And Just Like That..., and just this week, a live-action series set in the world of Harry Potter.