NEW YORK • HBO does not want the reign to end. Game Of Thrones, its most popular show, has only one season left, which is being shot in Northern Ireland and scheduled to air next year.
HBO executives want to keep the franchise alive, laying out a plan last year to put several scripts into development.
Over the weekend, the premium cable channel announced it would make a pilot for one of the five Game Of Thrones prequels it has in development.
The pilot will take place "thousands of years before the events of Game Of Thrones", the network said. It did not say when the pilot might air.
"The series chronicles the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour," HBO added.
George R.R. Martin, author of the Game Of Thrones books, wrote the story for the pilot, along with Jane Goldman. She is the co-writer of the Kingsman movies and 2011 film X-Men: First Class.
A pilot commitment is not a full series pick-up, but it makes this project a leading contender to make it to air.
Other projects may be picked up, but HBO is sure to be extremely selective since any of them would be a major investment.
Each episode for the final season of Thrones could cost more than US$15 million (S$20 million).
HBO is also following a road map set out by others. AMC capitalised on the popularity of The Walking Dead by creating Fear Of The Walking Dead.
It also premiered Better Call Saul after Breaking Bad went off the air.