George RR Martin shares unexpected update on scrapped Game of Thrones spin-off

Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin has given fans a hopeful update on a spin-off series that was thought to be dead.

The author, 75, has announced that a pilot episode for Ten Thousand Ships is currently in development at HBO – three years after it was initially shut down.

The series, which takes place a millennium before the events of Game of Thrones, was first reported to be in the works back in 2021 before HBO scrapped the project entirely.

In a blog post shared to his website, Martin congratulated American writer Eboni Booth on winning a Pulitzer Prize for her 2023 play Primary Trust.

He went on to confirm that a pilot for Ten Thousand Ships is in development at HBO, and is being written by Booth herself.

Martin heralded Booth, 43, as “an amazingly talented young playwright, and a joy to work with”.

“When not writing and producing her prize-winning plays on and off Broadway, she has been kept busy by me and HBO, working on a new pilot for TEN THOUSAND SHIPS, a GAME OF THRONES spin-off about Nymeria and the Rhoynar,” he said.

Martin joked: “We’re all very excited about this one… though we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to pay for ten thousand ships, three hundred dragons, and those giant turtles.”

George RR Martin (Getty Images)
George RR Martin (Getty Images)

The series will follow Princess Nymeria, an ancestor of House Martell (the house to whom Pedro Pascal’s Game of Thrones character, Oberyn, also belongs) and founder of the kingdom of Dorne.

After the pilot was scrapped in 2021, writer Brian Helgeland said the script he wrote “came out great” and compared the pilot episode to The Sinbad films, Homer’s The Odyssey, and the biblical tale of Moses.

“It came out great, but I think they felt the period of my show was too far removed from the pillars of the original," Helgeland explained.  “That’s why it hasn’t been picked up yet, but nothing is ever dead.”

Indira Varma with Pedro Pascal in 'Game of Thrones' (HBO)
Indira Varma with Pedro Pascal in 'Game of Thrones' (HBO)

Game of Thrones fans do not have long to wait for the second season of spin-off series House of the Dragon, with the first episode of season two released on HBO and Sky Atlantic on Monday (17 June).

Early reviews of season two, which sees a war brewing between Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), have been overwhelmingly positive.

In a four-star review for The Independent, Louis Chilton wrote: “Whether this season will have the same sense of build [as its first outing], the same panache for a pay-off, remains to be seen. But it seems these dragons still have plenty of fire left in them.”