HBO has several spinoffs planned, but it’s missing what is perhaps the easiest, most obvious, and likely biggest possible option. Even prior to , the cable outfit was starting to explore ways to continue telling stories set in Westeros. That’s so far resulted in the canceled prequel about the Long Night and, of course, , but that’s only the beginning.

As well as , the list of other includes (which has been ordered to series) and talk of things such as a Jon Snow sequel and an Aegon the Conqueror prequel being in development. There’s potential to all the stories, but more surprising than what’s happening is what isn’t being made: a

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prequel about Robert’s Rebellion.

For all the success of , and the odds that something like the would match it, there’s reason to believe that a Robert’s Rebellion show would be even bigger. This is, in a sense, the most natural prequel idea in the entire franchise: it’s the story that sets up and defines so much of what follows in , from broad strokes (Robert being King, the Targaryens all but wiped out) to critical character relationships and traits (Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen’s star-crossed lovers story, Jaime Lannister becoming the Kingslayer).

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It’s the biggest story that never fully told, and as such would be a huge draw. That’s particularly true when considering the characters involved, many of whom are younger versions of some of ’ best, including Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon, Tywin Lannister, and Jaime Lannister, to name but a few. The chance of seeing the storied rebellion, of Ned and Robert’s friendship before it was changed by years of absence and loss, of Jaime back towards his best as a swordsman and Ser Barristan Selmy in his prime, of just how mad the Mad King was, and more, carries plenty of potential and excitement that would make it a massive hit for HBO.

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While Robert’s Rebellion would likely be the biggest spinoff (and has previously been mooted as a potential option), there’s one big problem: George R.R. Martin has previously been against it happening. Back in 2017, Martin wrote in his site:

Of course, times change, people change, and plans change. In that same post, Martin also said they were not doing because he had more novellas to write, and now… is becoming a TV show, and no more novellas have yet been written. So it’s not impossible, but the difference there is Martin asserted he’d love to do

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eventually, whereas he clearly had no interest in Robert’s Rebellion. Martin is very much a key part of HBO’s plans, having been closely involved with and likely too, so it’d be a big surprise if it went so against his wishes.

Robert’s Rebellion could be a very good, perhaps even great, spinoff, with a season or two fully adapting the story and all its nuances. That’d have everything viewers loved, from the political intrigue and familial rivalries to big action set-pieces and shocking twists. Part the problem though, is, as Martin outlines, that all the story will have been told by the time he’s finished

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and (optimistic, sure, but let’s dare to dream).

There’s a difference there to, say, (where the story exists, but isn’t properly detailed) or even , since Martin hasn’t finished that story and may well have made peace with doing so on TV instead. Finishing is Martin’s priority, and having another HBO series that then gets to do key reveals and twists from those books - albeit ones about the past - would at best feel like something of an insult, and at worst risk history repeating itself if Martin weren’t fully involved and invested in telling it.

It’s also worth considering how much itself covered of Robert’s Rebellion. Even aside from already have seen Aerys’ death in flashback, would any depiction of it match Jaime Lannister’s own recounting of what really happened to Brienne of Tarth? It’s one of

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’ most perfect scenes, and shouldn’t be trifled with lightly. Similarly, the Tower of Joy sequences are, at turns, thrilling and then incredibly poignant; the show in particular nailed the emotion of Lyanna’s beautifully. Is there a need to remake that? For all Robert’s Rebellion has going for it, the cons outright the pros in this case.