The Future of ‘Game of Thrones’ Spinoffs, Explained by HBO’s CCO

WarnerMedia is relying on its big franchises—Game of Thrones, DC Comics, and Harry Potter—to lead HBO and HBO Max forward.

Game of Thrones Prequels Spinoffs HBO HBO Max List
HBO and HBO Max are getting ambitious with Game of Thrones. Helen Sloane/HBO

With multiple Game of Thrones prequels floating about in WarnerMedia’s ether and talks of a new series set in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we noted how WarnerMedia was franchising some of its biggest properties. That strategy of using major IP as foundational building blocks to both HBO Max and beyond extends to the comic book world of DC as well. Overall, WarnerMedia has ambitious plans for its best and brightest titles, though the company doesn’t want to oversaturate the market with too much too quickly.

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So what, exactly, is the plan for all this blockbuster IP? Casey Bloys, chief content officer of HBO and HBO Max, recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about how he is approaching the company’s future content expansion. We already know that Targaryen-centric spinoff House of the Dragon is en route to HBO (which has survived without GoT) for next year as well as a prequel series based on author George R.R. Martin’s The Tales of Dunk and Egg series. There’s also an animated series set within the world of Game of Thrones heading to HBO Max.

“The way we try to approach it is not by [saying], ‘We need five shows within three years,’ but ‘What are the stories worth telling?'” Bloys told THR. We’ve been developing multiple takes on different worlds. The one I want to do is the one that I think is best creatively. I prefer to make it about the stories and the showrunners and their vision as opposed to hitting some arbitrary target for the right number of shows.”

Bloys notes that the right number of new GoT-based shows is certainly not “zero,” so we can expect additional development in this area. We shouldn’t, however, expect HBO and HBO Max to go full Disney+ and announce 10 new shows set in this arena.

“No. I look at for HBO Max and WarnerMedia looks at it overall, that we have these great brands: HBO, DC, whatever we’re going to do with Game of Thrones. I don’t think as a company you necessarily want to think about in terms of just what’s on HBO Max or just what’s in theaters. It’s overall, what do we have? In terms of over-saturation to me and HBO Max, for any slate, whether it’s at HBO or HBO Max, you try to have some diversity and variance in the slate,” he told the outlet.

While Bloys declined to add anything to previous reports that WarnerMedia is indeed meeting with writers and taking pitches for a Wizarding World series, he did comment on the sprawling nature of the company’s DC properties. As of now, WarnerMedia is overflowing with DC films, planned TV spinoffs, original content that migrated over from streaming service DC Universe to HBO Max (Harley Quinn is a gem!), the ever-growing Arrowverse on The CW, and upcoming Max originals such as Green Lantern from Greg Berlanti and Justice League Dark from J.J. Abrams (J.J. for Superman?). How is anyone meant to keep it all straight, especially with the Multiverse being introduced in 2022’s The Flash? Here’s what Bloys had to say:

“I just started to get involved with the DC content in August. Peacemaker is one of the first shows I greenlit and one of the first shows coming out, in January 2022. It’s a great example of what HBO Max can do with DC content in that we’re producing at al level we haven’t seen DC content on TV do thus far. It’s been one of [WarnerMedia CEO] Ann Sarnoff’s priorities to organize the DC world for exactly what you’re talking about — to make sure that the universe is logical and makes sense. She talks about the flywheel: that the movies speak to the TV shows that speak to the movies — that it’s all connected. There’s a lot of work going on in that at DC and Warner Bros. That is very much something that Ann has made a priority and the company is doing. It’s one of the things in terms of WarnerMedia today vs. Time Warner five years ago, I have regular conversations now with [Warner Bros. film chief] Toby Emmerich and [DC content chief] Jim Lee and we talk about all things in way that never would have been discussed before. That’s probably how you got a little DC over here, a little of DC over there, etc. The idea going forward is that we’re talking with one voice about the DC universe. It’s a really valuable world to have and we want to make sure we’re using it correctly.”

The Golden Age of Television began in the 1990s and is epitomized by The Sopranos. This era was followed by Peak TV in which standout hits such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad cemented serialized dramas as the next wave of great entertainment. Now, in large part thanks to Game of Thrones, we are living in the Blockbuster TV era populated by franchise IP. It is Bloys’ job to reposition HBO and HBO Max to leverage that focus for the future. He plans to do so through Game of ThronesHarry Potter, and DC properties.

The Future of ‘Game of Thrones’ Spinoffs, Explained by HBO’s CCO