​When Game Of Thrones Runs Out Of Book Material, What's Next?!

Hey, post fans! You know, I love answering all your letters, but I actually have a question for you guys: Where the hell do all these tigers keep coming from? I understand seeing a tiger or two in an abandoned city, presumably from the zoo. But I've passed like 18 tigers in the last week alone. Please, stop with all the tigers. My mail route is dangerous enough without becoming Life of Pi.


[MILD GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS BEGIN]

End of the Game

Sara D.:

I'm completely confused about next season of Game of Thrones — well, all the next seasons of Game of Thrones. The show has gone so back and forth through the books that I don't know how it's going to keep going. I mean, people complain that the show is going to catch up to the books, but for some characters the show has already caught up to the books. What will the show have these characters do? And am I the only one nervous about how much stuff D&D are going to have to make up from this point on?

You're not the only one nervous, I'm sure — actually, I'm pretty confident showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (D&D, for those wondering) are probably a bit nervous themselves — but they've been continually generating more and more of their own stories over the course of the show, and doing pretty well at it. But yeah, now that A Storm of Swords' material is pretty much completely done — and now that they have to move on to A Feast for Crows/A Dance with Dragons, in which the characters have an extremely disproportionate amount of story time — the show is running out of story.

But season 5 is going to be okay. First of all, it's going to add Dorne, which includes Oberyn Martell's brother Doran, Oberyn's awesome daughters the Sand Snakes, the return of Princess Myrcella, and plenty of its own intrigue. I would also be surprised if season 5 didn't include a return to the Iron Islands, and all the happenings with the Greyjoys — namely the arrival of "King" Balon's brothers Victarion, Euron and the priest Aeron Damphair, and then all the fighting between them and Yara when Balon bites it and they hold a Kingsmoot. What I'm saying is there will be a lot of new characters and places being added, so it's not like D&D are going to have to invent two full seasons of Tyrion and Varys hanging out together (although that admittedly sounds pretty awesome).

Second of all, most of the characters do still have stuff to do from this point on, and can fill a season without much jiggering: Daenerys still needs to rule Meereen, and I do expect a certain suitor to make his appearance; Tyrion has a lot of traveling to do; Cersei will run afoul of the Septon; Jon Snow will deal with Stannis, Melisandre and the Wildings at the Wall; Arya will get her training in Braavos; etc., etc.

It's next season where basically everyone runs out of storyline, and D&D has to decide what to do: 1) pad out the stories and wait for the next book; 2) go off entirely on their own story; or 3) use what they know of GRRM's plan to create a hybrid where they take their own path towards the series' intended ending. I'm guessing the latter is what will happen, because seriously, in a perfect world it would take a minimum of five years for GRRM to finish the books, so there's no point in padding it out at all, and potentially turning the show crappy and alienating fans and viewers. And D&D love and respect the source material too much to write their own ending to GRRM's opus.

So we'll have to live with the fact that the show will be spoiling (or half-spoiling) certain book events for us. It sucks, but again, I'd much rather have had this awesome TV adaptation of this awesome series with this consequence than never having it at all.

Oh, I almost forgot! So, new material for season 5: Well, I'm guessing Bran, through his training with Bloodraven, will use his powers to see a lot of past events the series couldn't previously show us — things like Aerys killing Ned's father and brother, maybe the death of his sister Lyanna, the battle at the Tower of the Joy… the sky's the limit, really. And I think Varys, after hanging out with Tyrion for a bit, will meet up with his pal and co-conspirator Illyrio Mopatis, which will give us an introduction to the character best known as fAegon, which seems like a particularly clever way to do that.

The one thing I don't have a guess for? Brienne and Pod. I have no fucking clue what they're going to do next season. Without the arrival of That Character, they've gone so completely off book that I can't even conceive of how they'll spend their time. Still looking for Arya? Hunting for Sansa? Both of those sound pretty lame, but I can't imagine how they'll spend the season. I have to think they'll eventually meet the Brotherhood without Banners and the end of season 5 will be The Reveal, but 1) D&D don't seem in any hurry to introduce That Character, and it actually makes sense why, and 2) even if I'm right they'll still have half a season with nothing effectively to do. I'm stumped. (No offense, Jaime.)

[END GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS]


​When Game Of Thrones Runs Out Of Book Material, What's Next?!


Aquaman Caliente

Joseph L.:

G'day Postman,

If memory serves, Jason Momoa was originally offered the role of Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy but wasn't happy with the pay, so he rejected the offer. Now that he's been confirmed for Superman 2: Electric Boogaloo and it appears he's playing Arthur Curry (aka: Aquaman), would you say that's a step up... or down?

Up for sure. A member of a barely-known Marvel team versus a founding member of the Justice League? No question about it. Now, will it end up working out for Momoa? No idea. Obviously, Marvel movies have a pretty great track record and WB/DC's don't, so Guardians could be another hit while Batman V. Superman: Legal Eagles tanks and the Justice League movie derails and Aquaman never gets a solo movie. But to be sure, if BvS and Justice League do well, Aquaman will probably get his own movie, and Momoa will be the star. No matter how great Guardians of the Galaxy is, Drax the Destroyer is never getting his own movie.

And then there's the matter of the pay; if Momoa was unhappy with Marvel's paycheck and liked WB's, then he's fine no matter what. I'll also point out this: If you want audiences to take Aquaman seriously on-screen, you could do worse than the guy who played Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones. Much worse. Dude is intense.


​When Game Of Thrones Runs Out Of Book Material, What's Next?!


Jubilation Time

Marc A.:

Dear Postman,

I know everybody hates Jubilee of the X-Men, but I was introduced to the X-Men by the animated series and c'mon the next movie takes place in the 80's. Is there anyway Jubilee makes the team in Apocalypse, I mean Singer has shown her before so he's aware of the character. Does my prediction of a Cyclops, Jean, Storm, Gambit, Beast, Nightcrawler, and Jubilee team come near to the actual team?

P.S. Do you celebrate Boxing Day in the future? And If you do what is the most common gift you receive?

Until this very moment, I hadn't realized that Jubilee had actually appeared in ALL three movies in the original X-Men trilogy. Huh. And apparently Bryan Singer wanted her in X-Men: Days of Future Past — presumably in the future section — but she was cut when the future was getting crowded. So yeah, obviously you're correct in that Singer is indeed aware of her and must be at least a bit of a fan. But Singer is also committed to having some kind of X-Men continuity, and I'm pretty sure that means Jubilee won't be joining the adventures of the past X-Men, even if they are traipsing about the '80s. Maybe if the sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse is set in the '90s?

But as for the X-roster of Apocalypse: Obviously, Days of Future Past's focusing on the holy X-trinity of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm means younger versions of them will be part of the team. They'll be keeping Professor X and Nicholas Hoult's Beast, too — and I think we can safely assume Jennifer Lawrence will be running around as Mystique, although presumably not as an official X-Man. Wolverine is also a given, naturally

So that leaves the new characters… I place my money on Angel making an appearance, because that way he can be commandeered by Apocalypse, made into one of his Horsemen, and turned into Archangel, which will be awesome. Since Fox is very into Gambit, he seems a lock, but I do wonder what that means for his eventual solo film — would it also be set in the '80s? Won't Fox want Cajun Tatum running around in the modern era? And how will Fox bring back the X-Men into the present? But that's an answer for another time.

PS — We do celebrate Boxing Day here in the future. It's a very special day where the two warriors sentenced to fight each other to the death in the Thunderdome have to wear boxing gloves. The reason it's special is that this makes the fights last a really long time.


​When Game Of Thrones Runs Out Of Book Material, What's Next?!


Living in a Fantasy

Mikkel Ø.:

Dear. Mr. Postman,

We get a lot of science fiction movies, but fantasy is a more rare treat. And epic fantasy like The Lord of the Rings is something we've really only seen done again in The Hobbit movies, although Eragorn and the Narnia movies sort of tried. In a previous io9 article (8 Hit Movies That Failed to Launch Their Own Genres), it was mentioned that it's pretty surprising we haven't seen more epic fantasy on the big screen.

So why? Why don't we see more fantasy sagas with a grand scope trying to be LOTR come again? Why is there overall not as much fantasy as science fiction on the movie market? And lastly, if there's a lack of good available source material or something, would studios really burn up and die if they invented an original universe and story for a fantasy movie?

Fantasy movies are high-risk, low-reward. It costs a lot of money to make a decent fantasy world on-screen, but the chances of the resulting movie being a hit are so, so small. If you look at the top 15 highest-grossing fantasy movies on Box Office Mojo, they're almost completely taken up by Harry Potter, Narnia and Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit movies; the sole exception being the Disney's live-action Alice in Wonderland. Unless you're basing a fantasy movie on one of the best-selling books of all time — and/or a remake of a beloved Disney movie — the chances of you making a decent profit are small. Hell, the second Narnia movie, Prince Caspian, is the 22nd highest-grossing fantasy movie ever, and it didn't come close to making its money back in the domestic market (thankfully, worldwide box office put it over, but not by too much).

For whatever reason, scifi movies are more accepted by mass audiences; probably because science fiction covers just about anything from spaceships fighting in 5000 AD to a dude running around modern L.A. with a crazy ray gun. Fantasy doesn't have that draw, even if it's a regularly best-selling book like Percy Jackson or The Golden Compass. If it's not Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings level, studios probably shouldn't even bother. And do you think Hollywood studios can make up a story or world better than The Golden Compass? Even Hollywood executives aren't that crazy.


​When Game Of Thrones Runs Out Of Book Material, What's Next?!


A New Hope

Madmonq:

Question. With the prequels being generally negatively received & with JJAbrams', at best,coverbandgreatest hits version of "Star Trek" why is everyone so got danged excited about Star Wars VII-IX?

I think it's safe to call most of Abrams work "uneven". Some things well received, some decidedly not. Most made money. We fans of adventure/fantasy type crap have access to all manor of better than halfway decent media, why is everyone crapping themselves with every letter written about "Star Wars"? A franchise tanked by its creator, handed over to a guy with, at best, a variable creative track record?

What about half competent story telling on what is a pretty straightforward trope: The heroes quest? Lucas' & Abrams' most recent work don't make the best cases in their favor & both were of already primed material, you know? They had previous examples to work from, a built in audience ready to like the new material & they still fucked it up! That's like the guys who wrote the math book failing an open book test! Also,italics! Jesus.

Money making potential aside, general potential for greatness is there, yes, previous examples of greatness, not so much. Please explain why everyone is excited when past work has left something to be desired? Like everything. Thank you kindly.

I think you're under-selling Abrams a bit. Sure, Star Trek Into Darkness was… flawed, but the first Star Trek movie was fine, and Super 8 and Mission: Impossible III were pretty good. Even then most of the problems with Into Darkness were from the script, not the direction. Abrams even managed to tone down the lens flares.

But even if you still consider Abrams to be "uneven," there's still a lot to be hopeful for. 1) GEORGE LUCAS IS NEITHER WRITING NOR DIRECTING THESE MOVIES. As a Star Wars fan, I can't tell you what a relief this is. We know the end result when Lucas is in charge, and it's not pretty. Not pretty at all. So even on its basest level, I think Star Wars fans are happy to take a chance on the devil we don't know as opposed to the devil who wrote that horrible drivel about sand.

2) You know who is writing the screenplay for Episode VIII? Lawrence Kasdan, a dude known for writing the scripts for little flicks called The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The dude has a pretty damn good track record, which includes arguably the best Star Wars film of all time. If George Lucas was directing Episode VII from a Kasdan script, I'd still be reasonably excited.

3) Abrams was always a much better Star Wars director than Star Trek. It's obvious from the first Trek movie, which was heavy on action and light on big concepts. Now, I had thought that this was a calculated move to get mass audiences interested in Star Trek again, but then Into Darkness comes out and did the exact same thing (only much, much worse). If you want someone to start Star Wars back up, you could do a lot worse than the guy who tried to turn Star Trek into Star Wars.

4) Even if Abrams completely blows it, there's so much more coming. Stand-alone movies from Godzilla's Gareth Edwards and Chronicle's Josh Trank! Episode VIII written and directed by Looper's Rian Johnson! Those three guys have made some unique, pretty solid genre films, and I can't wait to see all of them play in the Star Wars universe.

5) I'm still a ridiculous Star Wars fan at heart. Oh, I've been burned. I swore I'd never get sucked in again. I've ranted and raved and beat my breast, but at the end of the day I'm still a huge Star Wars nerd who hopes against hope for a movie that will make me feel even slightly like I did when I watched the original trilogy as a kid, and Disney can film a dog taking a crap for two hours and call it Episode VII, and I'd still probably buy a ticket for Episode VIII. Hey, it would still be better than Anakin talking about sand.


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!