Game of Thrones ended in 2019, but George RR Martin has yet to complete the next novel in his Song of Ice and Fire franchise, the books that inspired the globally popular HBO drama.
Unfortunately not a word about when that could happen. But impatient fans can look forward to something else: the return of favorite characters like Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister in a stage adaptation of “Game of Thrones,” which is being developed in hopes of productions on Broadway, the West End of London and in Australia with a target debut of 2023.
“It should be spectacular,” Martin said in a statement announcing the play on Tuesday.
The author will co-write the story with playwright Duncan Macmillan, who also adapted George Orwell’s “1984” for the stage and recently wrote “Lungs,” a play that was broadcast live from London’s Old Vic Theater last summer. Dominic Cooke, a former artistic director of the Royal Court Theater, will direct.
Martin said the play, which is not yet titled, will take place at a pivotal moment in the series’ history – The Great Tourney at Harrenhal, which took place 16 years before the “Game of Thrones” events – and many of them include that “most famous and well-known characters of the series”. The story of the production will “revolve around love, revenge, madness and the dangers of dealing with prophecy, revealing secrets and lies that have only been hinted at so far”.
The Great Tourney featured tournament and archery competitions and was considered the largest tournament in Westeros history. Certain characters have not yet been confirmed to be returning, but some seem safe bets – a young Ned Stark, his sister Lyanna, and a boastful teenager Jaime Lannister all attended the event in Martin’s Books.
Simon Painter, Tim Lawson and Jonathan Sanford will produce in collaboration with Kilburn Live. Painter is known for creating major tours like the “The Illusionist” franchise, which he started with Lawson. Vince Gerardis will also serve as executive producer.
The play is the latest in a series of prequel projects announced since the HBO fantasy epic concluded in 2019. Martin recently signed a five-year contract with HBO to create content for the network and a prequel for “Game of Thrones” “House of the Dragon” has already been lit in green, with an expected premiere in 2022.
The series became a unique hit for HBO, regularly drawing millions of viewers for each episode over the eight seasons. The final episode was the most watched of the series, drawing 19.3 million viewers when it aired in May 2019.
This won’t be the first Game of Thrones project for the stage. Ramin Djawadi, the show’s composer, toured with musicians from 2017 to 2019 who played the score for clips from the series in arenas around the world, including confetti snow, sparks, smoke and “kite” fires.
Other fantasy epics have attempted to travel onto the stage after completing their literary sagas, including JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series and JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” books. The two-part film Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which debuted in London in 2016, won six Tony Awards during its Broadway run, which began in 2018 and was produced in Melbourne and Toronto. The musical “Lord of the Rings,” which opened in Toronto in 2006 before moving to the West End, was never a critical or box office hit and became one of the biggest commercial flops in West End history.
But right now there is a lot of excitement for Westeros fans.
“The seeds of war are often planted in peacetime,” said Martin. “And now we can finally tell the whole story … on stage.”