Originally appeared on FanSided Entertainment

Game of Thrones may be ending for good next year, but that news shouldn’t keep die-hard fans up at night. A couple of weeks ago, Variety reported that multiple spinoffs, four to be exact, are in the works. Winter is Coming, our sister site dedicated to the series, quickly began speculating potential storylines for the Game of Thrones spinoffs.

Yesterday, George R.R. Martin, the creator of A Song of Ice and Fire, posted a lengthy new entry on his blog. The post doesn’t reveal much in terms of plot lines, but the information he did offer up is still tantalizing.

The writers

We already know that HBO has four writers on retainer, all with impressive resumes. Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island), Carly Wray (Mad Men), Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class), and Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) will be working on their own projects.

The new news is exciting to say the least. Martin is working with each writer individually and appears to be playing a substantial role in the process.

I’ve actually been working with all four of the writers. Every one of the four has visited me here in Santa Fe, some of them more than once, and we’ve spent days together discussing their ideas, the history of Westeros and the world beyond, and sundry details found only in The World of Ice & Fire and The Lands of Ice & Fire.

Those two titles mentioned above are a companion book to the series and a book of maps detailing every landscape in the rich fantasy world, respectively. So it sounds like the writers are doing some heavy research, which bodes well for the final products.

“Successor show,” not “spinoff”

The word “spinoff” grinds Martin’s gears, apparently.

For what it’s worth, I don’t especially like the term “spinoff,” and I don’t think it really applies to these new projects. What we’re talking about are new stories set in the “secondary universe” (to borrow Tolkien’s term) of Westeros and the world beyond, the world I created for A Song of Ice and Fire.

Fair enough. Seeing as these will all be prequels and we won’t see any characters from Game of Thrones continuing their adventures, calling these projects “spinoffs” isn’t entirely accurate. This is especially unfortunate news for anyone (me, specifically) who dreams about a buddy road trip-style series centered around Ser Bronn and Jaime Lannister.

What is noteworthy is Martin’s subtle suggestion that one or more of these successor shows “may not even be set on Westeros.” Could we see an entire series taking place on Essos, or even unexplored territory like Ulthos?

The exact number of shows

A fifth writer was recently added to the original four. Martin isn’t revealing his name until HBO closes the deal, however. He did say that “he’s a really terrific addition, however, a great guy and a fine writer.”

But this doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll get to see five separate shows. Martin, speaking from decades of television experience, was quick to remind us that it’s unlikely HBO will air four or five new series.

 What we do have here is an order for four — now five — pilot scripts. How many pilots will be filmed, and how many series might come out of that, remains to be seen.

We may get all five, or we may get none. But considering how quickly Game of Thrones has ingrained itself in pop culture, fans will definitely be happy with at least one.

Regarding Robert’s Rebellion

Yes, the events immediately prior to Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire are intriguing and still shrouded in mystery, but don’t get your hopes up.

We’re not doing Robert’s Rebellion either. I know thousands of you want that, I know there’s a petition… but by the time I finish writing A Song of Ice and Fire, you will know every important thing that happened in Robert’s Rebellion. There would be no surprises or revelations left in such a show, just the acting out of conflicts whose resolutions you already know. That’s not a story I want to tell just now; it would feel too much like a twice-told tale.

Don’t worry book fans, he has good news for you too. “I am still working on Winds of Winter and will continue working on it until it’s done.” But with five successor shows in the works, you may be waiting for a long time.