Ahead you’ll find a few of the large scale action/adventure series on the horizon – splashy and spectacular shows stemming from books and comics. Superheroes, monster slayers, Fizzgigs, and Aragorns – here’s a quick rundown of what might become the next Game of Thrones-size hit. Flip through the slideshow or continue on to the 7 TV shows that could be the next Game of Thrones below…
GAME OF THRONES PREQUELS/SEQUELS
It’ll be a cold day in Dorne before HBO gives up the chance to create a show out of more Thrones lore. Obviously, none of the shows they currently have in development will be seen for a while, but just know that one or more series is coming your way set in the Thrones-verse.
There are three spinoffs in the works, if not more. Two of these remain under a cloak of mystery while the third is the prequel show (rumored to be called) Game of Thrones: The Long Night.
The Long Night will explore the Age of Heroes and will take place thousands of years in the past. Production on the show is expected to begin this summer, and it’s based on a concept that X-Men: First Class’ Jane Goldman developed with GoT creator George R.R. Martin. Naomi Watts, Josh Whitehouse, Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Georgie Henley, Alex Sharp, and Toby Regbo have been cast in the prequel.
HIS DARK MATERIALS
A bit closer on the HBO horizon, debuting near the end of 2019, is His Dark Materials. Based on the book series by Philip Pullman, about two children who wander through a series of parallel universes, the show stars Dafne Keen as Lyra, best known for her role as X-23 in Logan.
James McAvoy will play Lord Asriel, Lyra’s biological father, and Ruth Wilson will assume the role of Marisa Coulter, a former lover of Asriel’s. Lin-Manuel Miranda is also among the cast and is playing the adventurer Lee Scoresby. Over the years, the books have been adapted for radio, theater, and the movies (2007’s The Golden Compass).
Coming up quick, in the fall, is Damon Lindelof’s adaptation of Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons’ pivotal 1985 graphic novel, Watchmen.
Set in the Watchmen universe, and most likely a sequel series (Lindelof is coy about answers right now), Watchmen stars Jeremy Irons as Ozymandias, along with Don Johnson, Regina King, Tom Mison, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Jean Smart, and Frances Fisher. There are still many who are bitter about the way Lost ended, but those who watched Lindelof’s The Leftovers know he’s more than capable of transcendent beauty when it comes to TV. And amazingly great finales.
DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE
Over on Netflix, a prequel series to the popular 1982 film, The Dark Crystal, lands on August 30, telling a new epic story, set many years before the events of the movie, and realized using classic puppetry with cutting edge visual effects.
From the official logline: “The world of Thra is dying. The Crystal of Truth is at the heart of Thra, a source of untold power. But it is damaged, corrupted by the evil Skeksis, and a sickness spreads across the land. When three Gelfling uncover the horrific truth behind the power of the Skeksis, an adventure unfolds as the fires of rebellion are lit and an epic battle for the planet begins.” Voices include Taron Egerton (Rian), Anya Taylor-Joy (Brea), Nathalie Emmanuel (Deet), Caitriona Balfe, Helena Bonham Carter, Mark Hamill, Ralph Ineson, Jason Isaacs, Keegan-Michael Key, and many more.
Based on the Polish fantasy books and stories by Andrzej Sapkowski, as well as the video game series by CD Projekt Red, The Witcher stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, described by Netflix as “a solitary monster hunter who struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. When destiny hurtles him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a dangerous secret, the three must learn to navigate the increasingly volatile Continent together.”
Other cast members include Freya Allan as Princess Ciri, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg, Jodhi May as Queen Calanthe, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson as King Eist, and Adam Levy as Mousesack.
THE DARK TOWER
With Sam Strike and Jasper Pääkkönen having been cast as Roland Deschain and The Man in Black, production is currently underway for Amazon’s Dark Tower series – based on Stephen King’s novels of the same name.
Reportedly a more faithful adaptation of King’s books than the 2017 film starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, The Dark Tower will detail how Roland became a gunslinger and portray his first encounter with The Man in Black, who goes by many aliases, including Marten Broadcloak and Randall Flagg. There’s no current release date for this project, but best guesses have it landing in 2020.
LORD OF THE RINGS
There are a ton of rumors regarding Amazon’s massive, expensive Lord of the Rings series. Current ones point to the first season focusing on a young Aragorn. But a series of maps released as teasers seems to contradict this as they strongly indicate the story will take place way further back in the past, during the Second Age.
Tweets from the official Amazon account also point to perhaps a story taking place during the end of the Second Age, focused on the formation of Sauron’s Rings of Power and the creation of the Last Alliance that rose up to defeat him.
It’s also possible that the series will explore multiple periods of Middle-earth’s history.
Whatever the case may be, the show is at least a year from its debut and we can’t wait!
What show do you think could replace Game of Thrones in terms of scope, drama and audience reception? Discuss in the comments!
Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.