Game of Thrones isn’t back until 2019. That’s ages away. It’s only just become 2018. That means the new, final, loose-end-typing-up season is a whole year away at the very least, and it’s probably longer.
That’s absurd and risky - what if we lose all interest in Game of Thrones in the meantime? Something new and sexy and better might come along in the interim and steal all of GoT’s thunder, and when Season 8 shows up we’ll all be like “Game of what, sorry? Doesn’t ring a bell”.
What HBO need to do is come up with some content to keep us all interested, some GoT-adjacent shows to keep it fresh in everyone’s minds. The thing is, the reason the actual proper show isn’t back until next spring is that it’s taking ages to make this last season, and costing a huge amount of money. So, some cheapo, quick-turnaround stuff could be in order. With time and budgetary constraints in mind, here are a few suggestions of what HBO could do.
Lots of surprisingly adult movies got wholesome Saturday morning cartoon shows - RoboCop, Rambo and The Toxic Avenger are all violent 18s with kid-friendly colourful animated spin-offs - so why can’t Game of Thrones get in on the action? Those shows always played hard and fast with continuity - it would be easy to do a Muppet Babies-esque cartoon about the pre-GoT adventures of the wee Stark kids (kidz?) (no) and their adorable (talking?) direwolves, getting into low-stakes, family-friendly escapades.
'The Inn at the Crossroads'
Hot Pie is the series’ only full-on comedy character, a bumbling baker’s assistant who does good reaction faces and always looks like he’s about to say “Cor!” He’d be perfect for the first Westeros-set sitcom. Think Open All Hours set in a pie kitchen in a quasi-medieval world. If it proved to be a ratings success, a When the Whistle Blows-like Christmas special guest-starring Ed Sheeran could totally happen and still be canon.
'Marchin' with Mastodon'
Grammy-winning sludge-metal band Mastodon have shown up in Game of Thrones several times as Wildlings who die and become part of the Army of the Dead. The Army of the Dead are currently (in the show) on the move, and Mastodon are always on tour. Would people watch a no-cuts, one-shot hour of them shuffling through Tokyo one week, a no-cuts, one-shot hour of them shuffling through Tallahassee the next? Yes, yes they would.
As the runaway success of Riverdale has shown, people can’t get enough of the adventures of a sexy ginger dude who can’t stop bangin’ and also has a friend with a funny hat. A prequel show in which horny teenage versions of Tormund Giantsbane and the Lord of Bones swashbuckle their way around the Haunted Forest, dally with icy maidens in the Frostfang mountains, flirt with giants and deliver incredibly aggressive one-liners would be TV gold.
Ian McShane was good in that one episode he was in - they could probably just show episodes of Lovejoy with new credits.
'Screeching to a Vault'
You know who would really have an interesting conversation? Two people awaiting starvation. Imagine a series of hour-long discussions between Doreah and Xaro Xhoan Daxos, locked in a vault in Qarth in Season 2 and waiting for death. It would be exactly halfway between Eastenders’ famous two-handers (where only two characters are shown on screen and have big, profound, revealing discussions about love and death and everything in between) and Waiting for Godot, and, appropriately, would star one soap opera veteran and one acclaimed stage actor. Plus it would just be set in a dark room, so would cost NUFFINK.
'Lommy Greenhands' Rave Beyond the Grave'
Remember Lommy Greenhands, Arya’s mate who was stabbed with Needle, causing her to swear vengeance? The actor who played him, Eros Vlahos, is both a stand-up comedian and the son of the owner-operators of Cyberdog, Camden’s too-loud trance temple. Is there some sort of non-canon ‘sessions from death’ thing they could do? Kristian Nairn, who played Hodor, is a DJ, chuck him in there as well. This one’s not been thought through particularly well, but come on, Cyberdog. The statues outside it even look like twin versions of the Titan of Braavos. They’re sitting on a goldmine.