In the hallowed words of Theon Greyjoy: "What is dead may never die."
Game Of Thrones may well and truly be over, but the franchise is set to live on via multiple series set in the same universe. Here's everything we know about the spin-off shows so far, straight from the mouths of the book author and show creators.
#1 There are three new shows in development
HBO is clearly hedging its bets, with not one, not two, but three potential spin-off projects in development. One of these shows is currently shooting its pilot episode, while the other two remain in pre-production. (NB: According to book author George R R Martin, there were originally five shows planned but two of these have since been shelved.)
Does this mean we might get multiple GoT shows running concurrently? It wouldn't be without precedent - just look at The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel or The X-Files and Millennium. There's also Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon but let's not talk about that.
In any event, it's a safe bet that Game Of Thrones will be getting more than one successor show in the years ahead. According to Martin, one of these shows will involve the Targaryens' earlier reign in Westeros, but no specifics have been given. You can suss out clues by reading Martin's exhaustive 'history' book on the Targaryen dynasty; Fire And Blood.
Keen for more speculation? Check out our personal wish list of potential spin-off shows here.
#2 There are no direct sequels planned (yet)
HBO is categorically not making a direct sequel to Game Of Thrones. None of the existing characters or the actors who portrayed them will be appearing in the new series. (With the possible exception of Vladimir Furdik's Night King - more on which below.)
Instead, the shows are all set in different time periods and may even take place on separate continents. This was confirmed by HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys in a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
"I don’t want to take characters from [Game Of Thrones] and put them off into another world with someone else creating it," Bloys said. "I’m not trying to do the same show over. George [R R Martin] has a massive, massive world; there are so many ways in.
"That’s why we’re trying to do things that feel distinct — and to not try and redo the same show. That’s probably one of the reasons why, right now, a sequel or picking up any of the other characters doesn’t make sense for us."
It's worth noting that Bloys added the caveat 'right now' - which suggests a direct spin-off could happen in the future. It probably depends on how successful these initial shows are. If they fail to resonate with fans, HBO will almost certainly return to more familiar ground.
Who knows? In a few years' time we might finally get to see Arya's adventures "west of Westeros", Jon Snow's future brooding in the North, or that Hot Pie cooking show.
#3 The first show is a mega-prequel
The pilot episode currently being filmed takes place long before the events depicted in Game Of Thrones. As George R R Martin explained on his blog:
"This one really puts the PRE in prequel, since it is set not ninety years before Game Of Thrones, or a few hundred years, but rather ten thousand years."
In the same blog post, Martin unofficially dubbed the show The Long Night - an overt reference to humanity's first war with the White Walkers during the Age Of Heroes. This is backed up by HBO's official synopsis:
Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend, only one thing is for sure: It’s not the story we think we know.
In other words, it's a White Walker origin series - expect to learn loads more about the Night King, ancestral Starks and children of the forest.
This all takes place hundreds of years before the Targaryens arrived in Westeros, but we wouldn't be surprised if they shoehorn some dragons in somehow. Similar to Daenerys' adventures in Essos, we might spend some time with the Targs in the dragonlord city of Valyria.
#4 It's going to be bleak AF
If The Long Night is faithful to the events described in Martin's books, prepare for some very dark viewing - both figuratively and literally. Here's how Bran Stark's nanny explains the era in the Game Of Thrones novel:
"Oh, my sweet summer child. What do you know about fear? Fear is for the winter, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep. Fear is for the Long Night, when the sun hides for years and children are born and live and die all in darkness.
"That is the time for fear, my little lord, when the White Walkers move through the woods. Thousands of years ago, there came a night that lasted a generation. Kings froze to death in their castles, same as the shepherds in their huts. And women smothered their babies rather than see them starve, and wept and felt the tears freeze on their cheeks.
"In that darkness, the White Walkers came for the first time. They swept through cities and kingdoms, riding their dead horses, hunting with their packs of pale spiders big as hounds..."
Pale spiders big as hounds? Arachnophobic GoT fans are in for a rough ride.
#5 It's headlined by Naomi Watts
The Long Night (or whatever it ends up being called) will feature the thespian talents of Australian actress Naomi Watts. The Oscar nominee will be playing a 'charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret'.
Other cast actors include (deep breath) Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter from the Harry Potter films), Marquis Rodriquez (Manifest), John Simm (Strangers), Richard McCabe (Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams), John Heffernan (Dracula), Dixie Egerickx (Summerland), Josh Whitehouse (Poldark), Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth), Denise Gough (Monday), Jamie Campbell Bower (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald), Sheila Atim (Harlots), Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans), Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia films), Alex Sharp (How to Talk to Girls at Parties) and Toby Regbo (The Last Kingdom).
With so many actors cast, it's practically guaranteed that the new series will follow the GoT template of killing off characters in bloody and unexpected ways. Will Naomi Watts be the Sean Bean of the new series? It seems doubtful that an actress of her calibre would sign a multi-year contract for a single TV show. But time will tell, we guess.
#6 It won't be coming in 2020. Probably
Remember the horrible two-year wait between seasons 7 and 8 of Game Of Thrones? Expect a similarly long hiatus. According to Casey Bloys, HBO isn't even working to a set deadline at the moment.
"What I’m not doing is working backwards by saying, “This has to be on the air by this date,” Bloys said. "We want to do the best show possible. This is a pilot, so we’re doing it the old-fashioned way, which is shooting a pilot.
"My expectation is it will be great and we’ll move forward and it’ll move along on a regular TV timetable. I don’t want to speculate any dates."
In the meantime, you can fill the Game Of Thrones-shaped void in your life with these similar works of fiction. If you refrain from binge watching, this list might just last you until the new show premieres. Fingers crossed!
For millions of Game Of Thrones fans across the globe, the time has come, the sun has set, your watch is finally ended. So what in the Seven Hells do we do now?