Interesting news broke last night that HBO is gearing up to explore the extensive history of Westeros with a new spinoff series centered around Aegon’s Conquest. According to a report from James Hibberd and Borys Kit for The Hollywood Reporter, the network has enlisted much-in-demand writer Mattson Tomlin to develop the project.
Last year, we noted news out of Variety that HBO had starting looking into bringing Aegon’s Conquest to the small screen (and, perhaps, even the big screen—a theatrical lead-in was under discussion) and actively sought a writer to head the development of this thrilling prequel series. That search seems to have ended.
The burning of Harrenhal during Aegon’s Conquest, as depicted by artist Marc Simonetti for the 2023 World of Fire and Blood Calendar
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time HBO has considered Aegon’s Conquest. During its initial search for a successor series, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that one of the pitches under consideration involved Aegon’s Conquest, but the fact that the script from Rand Ravich and Far Shariat portrayed Aegon as a “drunken lout” suggests to us that it was a pretty clear misfire. Later, Ryan Condal spoke with us about the possibility of House of the Dragon becoming a kind of anthology series, covering the Targaryens in different eras after the Dance, and he specifically referenced the Conquest as one direction to go. This news suggests the HBO is so far opting to keep the various eras they can cover distinct from one another rather than placing them under a single title.
Mattson Tomlin, the chosen writer for this exciting venture, boasts a pretty impressive career in the entertainment industry. Tomlinson currently holds the record for most consecutive appearances on Hollywood’s famous Black List which singles out the best unproduced screenplays; he had four scripts listed from 2015 to 2017. One of these, Power, ended up being produced as the Jaime Fox-led Project Power for Netflix. That same year, he also wrote Little Fish, described as a science fiction romance… which happens, by complete coincidence, to star Olivia Cooke (aka Alicent Hightower, House of the Dragon). He has also written and directed Mother/Android for Hulu, a dystopian science fiction thriller about an AI revolution.
Notably, it was revealed that he also did uncredited screenwriting work on Matt Reeves’ The Batman, work that must have been appreciated as he’s been named co-writer for The Batman II. His involvement with Batman also led to his writing a three part limited series for DC Comics, titled Batman: The Imposter, that’s worth checking out (especially if you enjoyed the portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Reeves film). His science fiction graphic novel with artist Lee Bermejo, A Vicious Circle, earned two Eisner Award nominations in 2023; book 2 in the series was released in December, while the concluding 3rd volume is as of yet unscheduled.
Last, but not least, Tomlin is also the writer and showrunner of Netflix’s forthcoming Terminator anime, with animation provided by the legendary studio Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell). The man clearly likes to keep himself busy.
One of the details surfaced by THR was that their source said the plan for the Aegon’s Conquest show was that it would be “back to basics”... and we admit, in the context of what’s come before, what does that actualy mean? Game of Thrones and now House of the Dragon started off as shows about complex dynastic affairs and with sprawling casts, so does it mean trying to eschew those things to tell a more pared-down story? That would seem a challenge for such a momentous event as Aegon’s Conquest.