Game of Thrones has often been called out for its near-Shakespearean levels of intrigue and theatrical drama. So it’s not exactly a surprise that the next move for the franchise is to the stage: a new Broadway show based on George R.R. Martin’s popular fantasy series is now in the works, according to a new report from The Hollywood Reporter.
The goal is to stage the Game of Thrones play starting in 2023, with plans for productions in New York City, London’s West End, and Australia. Dominic Cooke is set to direct, with Simon Painter and Tim Lawson on board as producers.
The play is said to be a prequel set during The Great Tourney at Harrenhal, 16 years before the events of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series (and Game of Thrones, HBO’s blockbuster TV series adaptation). Fans will recognize that tournament as the start of the pivotal events in the lead-up to the books and show, which (mild spoilers) would eventually lead to Robert Baratheon’s rebellion and the overthrow of the Targaryen dynasty.
And while HBO isn’t involved in the production (at least for now), the as-yet-unnamed play would give fans a chance to revisit popular characters like Ned Stark, Jaime Lannister, Robert Baratheon, Oberyn Martell, Barristan Selmy, Arthur Dayne, and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
“The seeds of war are often planted in times of peace,” Martin said in a statement to THR. “Few in Westeros knew the carnage to come when highborn and smallfolk alike gathered at Harrenhal to watch the finest knights of the realm compete in a great tourney, during the Year of the False Spring. It is a tourney oft referred during HBO’s Game of Thrones, and in my novels, A Song of Ice and Fire … and now, at last, we can tell the whole story… on the stage.”
Martin is involved in the production and is working with playwright Duncan Macmillan on the story. That adds yet another item to his already crowded plate of projects, including serving as an executive producer on House of the Dragon and at least two other TV shows and his new five-figure deal with HBO to develop new shows and films for HBO Max. Additionally, HBO is already working on at least five more Game of Thrones spinoffs, which will presumably see Martin’s involvement in some fashion. And of course, there’s his work on the long-awaited final books in his A Song of Ice and Fire series — The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring — which Martin has been working on for nearly a decade.
Martin’s series wouldn’t be the first major fantasy story to make the jump from page to screen to stage. The most obvious precedent is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the two-part Potter play that serves as a sequel to the popular series of books, with a story from author J.K. Rowling that continues the events of the series. That play, which opened in London in 2016, has since expanded with productions on Broadway in NYC and in Melbourne, with a planned run in Toronto set for 2022. Cursed Child has also been a critical and commercial success, winning six Tony Awards in 2018 (including Best Play) and bringing in record-setting revenues — despite a somewhat lukewarm reception by fans of the story itself.