The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Domain


Brian Helgeland on 10,000 Ships

An interesting blast from the past, courtesy of Paul Moore’s Inverse interview with acclaimed screenwriter Brian Helgeland. Way back in 2017, HBO hired writers to develop successor shows to Game of Thrones, and Helgeland was among those named. Helgeland would go on to refer to the project in development the year after, but details remained thin as to what exactly he worked on.

Well, they are thin no longer, as this quote from the interview shows:

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Princess Nymeria as depicted by J.K. Drummond for The World of Ice and Fire, the “Westeros encyclopedia” referred to be Helgelnd.

“My script was based on Queen Nymeria and this little blurb about her that was in a Westeros encyclopedia. Essentially, it was the story of Moses but swapping him out for Nymeria. Her country gets ruined and her people are forced to live on the water, which is why the show was called Ten Thousand Ships.


“I met with George R.R. Martin to pitch him the idea, which he signed off on. Sadly, I didn’t work with him closer, but I would have done if the show was picked up. It was kind of like Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad films mixed with The Odyssey. In a way, Nymeria is Odysseus, but instead of a 12-person crew, she’s responsible for every citizen in this floating city-state.”

As it happens, we’ve known that Helgeland’s was the 10,000 Ships writer, but it’s interesting to note that more recently word was that a new attempt was being made on the same matter, with Amanda Segel taking a crack at it in 2021.

Frankly, Helgeland’s pitch sounds very interesting, and the story of Nymeria and the 10,000 ships always seemed to us like good fodder for a show, as we discussed back in 2017:

While we don’t know the status of Helgeland’s or Segel’s scripts at HBO, we do know that back in 2022 Starling Inc.—Vince Gerardis’s production company that is attached to all of George’s projects—removed 10,000 Ships from its “In Development” list, only for George to note the next year that it was in fact still in development. With Segel or Helgeland at the time, or someone else entirely? We still don’t know. But this is what Helgeland has to say:

“My work is still there if HBO wants to pick it up. I enjoyed my time developing it, and you just never know.”