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10,000 Ships - What We Know So Far

It's not an overstatement to say that "Game of Thrones'" redefined television, proving that a hard fantasy series with devoted readers could be adapted into a hugely popular TV series. And since success always begets imitators, the TV industry has been looking for the next "Game of Thrones" ever since the original went off the air — and paying through the nose for it. Amazon is reportedly spending $465 million producing a "Lord of the Rings" series, just to name one example.

But HBO wants the next "Game of Thrones," too, and it's using a logical strategy: developing more TV series from "Song of Ice and Fire" creator George R.R. Martin. There are currently five known "Game of Thrones" spin-offs at some stage of development at HBO, all prequels to the original series. 

One of these prequel series is "10,000 Ships." Like the other projects, it's been the subject of speculation for years and will continue to be. But on May 25, 2021, Deadline shared some concrete information about "10,000 Ships" — HBO has finally hired the writer, Amanda Segel ("Helstrom," "Person of Interest"). 

While "10,000 Ships" is still, most likely, a long ways off, here's everything we know about it so far.

What is the release date for 10,000 Ships?

HBO hasn't yet announced a release date for "10,000 Ships," but it most likely won't premiere for several more years. Like a claimant to the Iron Throne of Westeros, "10,000 Ships" has a lot of competition. It's just one of five "Game of Thrones" spin-offs that are either under consideration or in development at HBO. The project furthest along in development is "House of the Dragon," which is currently in production and just shared its first look from set. Its release date is currently sometime in 2022. That means HBO probably won't premiere another live-action "Game of Thrones" spin-off until 2023 at the earliest. 

In addition to "House of the Dragon," HBO has reportedly been considering an adaptation of George R.R. Martin's "Tales of Dunc and Egg" stories, as well as an animated series for HBO Max. Those two have been in development for years.

More recently, HBO has been developing two additional spin-offs: "Flea Bottom," a series set in the slums of King's Landing, and "9 Voyages" aka "Sea Snake," a series about explorers from Westeros. As reported by Deadline, "9 Voyages" is furthest along in development, as it already has a showrunner, Bruno Heller. 

So unless "10,000 Ships" jumps the line, it probably won't debut until 2024.

Who is in the cast of 10,000 Ships?

HBO has only just hired the writer for "10,000 Ships," so it's still far too early for any casting announcements. But since "10,000 Ships" is based on existing source material, we can make a guess as to which characters will be on the show, even if we don't know who will play them yet. Most likely, there won't be much crossover from the cast of the original show, since "10,000 Ships" takes place about a millennium earlier.

The biggest part is obviously Princess Nymeria, the main character and hero of the show. She's the leader of a group of people called the Rhoynar. Nymeria's story begins when they lose a war against the dragon lords of Valyria — the civilization that's famed for its steel, but has fallen into ruin when "Game of Thrones" takes place. The Valyrians would seem to be good candidates for the show's villains, so there should be some meaty roles there. 

After losing the war, the Rhoynar spend several years searching for a new home until they land in the Westeros region of Dorne — on "Game of Thrones," that's the home of House Martell and its heir, Oberyn. When Nymeria arrives 1,000 years earlier, the Rhoynar form an alliance with the current leader of House Martell, Mors. He'll probably be a major character.

What is the plot of 10,000 Ships?

"10,000 Ships" will be a prequel to "Game of Thrones" and is based on existing works by George R.R. Martin — Martin mentioned Nymeria's story at several points in the novel series, and covered it in more detail in the companion book "The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones." So the big question is, how closely will the show follow the events of the book? After all, as "Game of Thrones" showed us, HBO isn't shy about deviating from the source material.

But if it does follow the events of the books, "10,000 Ships" will follow Princess Nymeria, a legendary figure in Westeros history — Arya Stark names her direwolf after her. After Nymeria and her people, the Rhoynar, lose a war in Essos, they set out in a fleet of 10,000 ships looking for a new home. Their journey takes years and they encounter many hardships on the way. Eventually, the Rhoynar land in the Westerosi region of Dorne, home to House Martell. At this point in history, the Martells are a lesser royal house in Dorne. Nymeria forms an alliance with their leader, Mors Martell, and together they conquer and unite Dorne in Nymeria's War.

If "10,000 Ships" follows those general story beats, we should be in for another epic TV series that seems like "Game of Thrones" meets "The Odyssey," with a female lead who becomes a legend. Sign us up.