Could Game of Thrones support a Marvel-like movie franchise?
The huge success of Game of Thrones has meant there are now millions of dedicated fans all across the world. How else can we explain that Arya was the fastest rising girl’s name a few years ago, or that the seventh season regularly attracted more than ten million viewers in the US?
Of course, this success has led to tempting possibilities for spin-offs in many different areas. Some of these ideas have already become reality. Yet, the idea of a Game of Thrones movie franchise remains just a tantalising thought. Could it ever hit the big screens and form a Marvel-like cinematic universe?
The existing HBO spin-off ideas
The insatiable public appetite for this series means that it was no surprise when HBO announced The Age of Heroes. This is a prequel to GoT that is set to be released as a pilot in 2020, once the eighth series of the show has finished its run on our screens.
The Age of Heroes is said to be set some 10,000 years before the dramatic events that we have seen taking place in Westeros and Essos. This is a time when the glorious days of peace end as the region is plunged into days of darkness.
According to the announcement from HBO, it’s “not the story we think we know”. The Long Night and The Pact are a couple of the crucial events that we can expect to see covered in this prequel. Apart from that, details are sketchy and fans are already speculating wildly about what could happen in the show.
Even more excitingly, this is just one of four prequel pilots that have been ordered for the show. Author George RR Martin pointed out on his own blog that Jane Goldman has been brought in for The Age of Heroes. He said that the other three prequels are still very much alive too.
Other merchandising and link-ups
The immense power of Game of Thrones has seen the brand appear in many different walks of life. For example, there are times like a Mother of Dragons backpack from Think Geek or a sling bag with a map of Westeros from Amazon.
The world of gaming has also seen a number of GoT tie-ins. Telltale Games produces an episodic graphic adventure for PC and console, which begins at the end of the show’s third season and spans six episodes up until the beginning of season five.
Other video games that are based on the franchise include Blood of Dragons, A Game of Thrones: Genesis, Game of Thrones: Conquest, and Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms. The continuing success of the show is likely to lead to even more new titles being released.
Naturally, there is also a big range of clothing based on this brand. From T-shirts with logos to scarves, caps and hoodies, you could kit yourself out almost entirely in GoT gear if you wanted to. There is even men’s underwear on sale featuring logos and phrases from the show.
Cuddly – and not so cuddly – toys are also widely available from this brand. But, does a raven plushie, a direwolf cub or a talking George RR Martin doll really point towards the potential for an expanded cinematic universe?
What form could a movie franchise take?
We have seen so far that Game of Thrones is a massive franchise that is probably going to get even bigger once those prequels are released. Perhaps the most thrilling move of all would be to place the events that take place here in a movie universe.
Certainly, there is enough history and backstory to easily imagine how a number of films could be made out of the source material. However, one big problem is that Martin has already described this series as being made to be deliberately “unfilmable”, partly due to the sheer length of the sprawling novels and the number of characters.
The author was also apparently less than pleased with the suggestion that a major studio would have to turn his work into more of a family-friendly PG13 fantasy film. Yet, is it possible that a way could be found to turn this epic story into a series of movies, just like The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit? Reports from 2015 suggested that a movie could be made without the author’s involvement.
There is certainly a huge level of public demand for it to happen. However, the dark, sometimes disturbing edge to GoT makes it tricky to imagine it as a big-budget, mainstream blockbuster like Ocean’s 8. Could it feature an edgy director and some of our favourite actors, like Hugo Weaving, rather than A-list action stars?
It would almost certainly need to be a series of inter-linked films too, with each exploring a little part of the extensive world that Martin has created. For the moment, we need to settle for the main TV series, the prequels and all of the merchandising that has sprung out of this brand. However, it would be a major surprise if talk of a movie series didn’t crop up again before too long.
The editorial unit