Update: The Jon Snow TV show is definitely happening, and we have Game of Thrones author George RR Martin to thank for that news
Game of Thrones could be getting another spin-off, this time a sequel series following the adventures of Jon Snow after the events of the eighth season. This news comes from The Hollywood Reporter, and includes the teaser that Kit Harrington is set to reprise his role.
But, in the words of Jon Snow himself, I don’t want it. Game of Thrones crashed and burned in spectacular fashion during its final season, and it’s about time HBO realized that it should be left to the annals of television history.
The sequel series is reportedly in early development, and marks the third attempt at a live action Game of Thrones spin-off. The first, Bloodmoon, starring Naomi Watts, never made it past the pilot stage, while the Targaryen-themed House of the Dragon is set to premiere on August 21.
Those of you who haven’t placed mental blocks around the Game of Thrones finale will remember exactly what happened to Jon Snow (and if you've not seen it yet, spoilers follow).
The final season saw Jon discover he was the true-born son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, rather than Ned Stark’s bastard, and the only living character with any claim to the Iron Throne. Or what was left of it, at any rate.
Then, after killing Daenerys and preventing what felt like burgeoning genocide, Jon was imprisoned and exiled — sent to the north of the wall with the remainder of the wildlings.
Given that Jon’s fate was left open-ended, there are plenty of ways in which a sequel series could go — and some of them are even quite intriguing. For instance, we know that his cousin Sansa Stark has declared the North to be an independent kingdom, so there's potential there for conflict between Winterfell and the land beyond the wall.
We also know that the millennia-long winter north of the wall is finally thawing, which could entirely change the landscape of the region and provide plenty of opportunities for the characters to explore interesting areas and interact with fascinating creatures. What's become of the Giants, for instance? Do the Children of the Forest still exist?
But rich though the potential may be, I can't get remotely excited about the possibility of another sequel.
Game of Thrones was huge during its run, and the hype for the final season was electrifying.
However, the way things played out drove the entire franchise into the ground, to the point where one of the biggest TV shows of the 2010s, possibly of all time, disappeared from the pop culture consciousness.
There are no memes, no rewatch discussions, nothing. Only a bunch of very bitter people who can’t quite get over how much of a crapfest the final season was. There hasn’t been a backlash to a final season quite so immense since Lost ended. But unlike Lost, which was treated incredibly unfairly, Game of Thrones did deserve at least some of the reception it got.
It has been three years since the Game of Thrones finale blundered onto TV screens, and the time for a spin-off has long-since passed. People have stopped caring, and it means any related series faces an uphill battle — no matter how good it might end up being.
Had HBO been more proactive while Game of Thrones was still on the air, things might have been a little different.
For instance, we’ve already seen Amazon get to work on a bunch of spin-offs to The Boys. That comic adaptation is riding the popularity train at the moment, so whatever spin-offs Amazon greenlights should get an instant boost — even if, like the animated The Boys Presents: Diabolical anthology series, they aren’t all that great.
The wars to come
House of the Dragon, to its credit, seems to be focusing on the better things about the Game of Thrones franchise. For one, it promises to feature a bunch of dragons that are bigger and badder than the trio from its predecessor, as well as majoring on the harsher sides of fantasy politics that made the first few seasons of Game of Thrones so compelling. But it still faces the stigma of being associated with the original series.
Other live-action spin-offs we know about will also be set before the events of Game of Thrones. They include 10,000 Ships (a.k.a. Nymeria) with showrunner Amanda Segel, 9 Voyages (a.k.a. The Sea Snake) with showrunner Bruno Heller, and Dunk and Egg (based on George RR Martin’s novella) with showrunner Steve Conrad.
Being prequels, all of these shows have the advantage that they don’t need to try to course-correct. The unnamed Jon Snow Show, meanwhile, will have to grapple with the fact that it’s set after such a derided finale, and try to figure out a way to make people care again.
Then again, this may give the Game of Thrones franchise the chance to fix some of the biggest mistakes of the final season. My main criticism is that the finale was rushed, with little explanation or context for how and why characters ended up where they did. A little bit more context, either told through flashbacks or an ongoing story, could be the perfect way to help retcon Season 8.
That said, the show is only said to be in early development as it stands, and there’s no guarantee that it will make it to even the pilot stage, let alone get a full season. Personally, I'm hoping it won't.
Next: Be sure to check out the 11 new shows and movies to watch this weekend.