There are currently six Game of Thrones spinoffs being developed for HBO Max — two prequels, an animated series, and three other offshoots — but the iconic fantasy saga is also making its way on to the big stage. A Broadway play adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s creation is currently in the works, and it promises the return of some beloved fallen characters.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the dramatic stage production is being helmed by producers Simon Painter and Tim Lawson, who previously produced the magic extravaganza, The Illusionists. Martin himself will be penning the story alongside English playwright Duncan MacMillan (1984) and director Dominic Cook (The Courier, The Hollow Crown).
The story itself provides a unique angle for longtime Game of Thrones heads, as it takes place during a famous festival called The Great Tourney at Harrenhal. In Westeros lore, the 10-day event took place 16 years before the Game of Thrones story began and its archery and jousting tournaments are considered the biggest competition in Westeros history, so it’s a pretty momentous plot to base the production around.
“The play will for the first time take audiences deeper behind the scenes of a landmark event that previously was shrouded in mystery,” reads the play’s official synopsis. “Featuring many of the most iconic and well-known characters from the series, the production will boast a story centered around love, vengeance, madness and the dangers of dealing in prophecy, in the process revealing secrets and lies that have only been hinted at until now.”
THR notes that the team hasn’t officially announced any of the characters who will feature in the production. However, going by Martin’s previously published text, the event’s attendees included fan-favorites like Ned and Lyanna Stark, Jaime Lannister, Lord Robert Baratheon, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince Oberyn Martell and Ser Barristan Selmy, so it’s likely that some or all of those figures will return in this iteration of the GoT franchise.
“The seeds of war are often planted in times of peace,” said Martin in a statement. “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 & Fire … and now, at last, we can tell the whole story… on the stage.”
He continued, “An amazing team has been assembled to tell the tale, starting with producers Simon Painter, Tim Lawson and Jonathan Sanford. Their knowledge and love of my world and characters has impressed me from the very first, and their plans for this production blew me away since the first time we met.”
“Dominic Cooke, our director, is a former artistic director of London’s Royal Court Theatre, who brought Shakespeare’s dramas of the War of the Roses to television, and our playwright, Duncan Macmillan, has previously adapted George Orwell and Henrik Ibsen, among others,” Martin continued. “Working with them (back before the pandemic, when we could actually get together) has been a treat, and I am eager for our collaboration to resume.”
Our dream is to bring Westeros to Broadway, to the West End, to Australia… and eventually, to a stage near you,” he added. “It ought to be spectacular.”
They’re aiming to premiere the first shows in London, Australia, and New York City in 2023. That seems kind of far off right now but it’s actually pretty ambitious considering how many other projects Martin currently has his hands on. In addition to the six spinoffs, he just signed a titanic five-year content deal with HBO Max that will ostensibly include numerous other projects, GoT or otherwise.
He’s also supposed to be finishing the sixth novel in the series, The Winds of Winter, which he’s been working on for roughly a decade at this point. Is there a busier 72-year-old writer in the world right now?