HBO’s Game of Thrones spinoff, Ten Thousand Ships, inspired by Moses and focusing on Queen Nymeria, gets docked

Brian Helgeland’s Game of Thrones spinoff, Ten Thousand Ships, focusing on Queen Nymeria, is getting shelved by HBO.

Last Updated on April 25, 2024

Game of Thrones

Brian Helgeland’s Game of Thrones spinoff, Ten Thousand Ships, is getting docked as HBO shelves the project before it can set sail. Helgeland, the director behind films like L.A. Confidential and A Knight’s Tale and screenwriter for the Tony Scott-directed crime drama Man on Fire, spoke with Inverse about the defunct project, saying it would have focused on Queen Nymeria, the warrior-queen who led the Rhoynar refugees to Dorne.

Helgeland speaks with Inverse and makes Ten Thousand Ships sound biblical in scope and story. He likens Queen Nymeria’s tale to the story of Moses, with survivors from a ravaged country setting sail for a new home.

“It came out great, but I think they felt the period of my show was too far removed from the pillars of the original,” Helgeland explained to Inverse about his spinoff. “That’s why it hasn’t been picked up yet, but nothing is ever dead. 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,” he continued. “Her country gets ruined and her people are forced to live on the water, which is why the show was called ‘Ten Thousand Ships.’ They end up having to leave and find a new home like the Israelites leaving Egypt. She’s leading all these people, trying to hold everyone together but things are always in danger of falling apart as they travel around a fictionalized version of the Mediterranean, looking for a new home to settle in.”

News about Helgeland leading the charge for another Game of Thrones spinoff began in 2017. In May 2021, screenwriter Amanda Segel joined the project, and things were looking up. However, HBO never officially greenlighted the series, anchoring the concept to Limbo. Helgeland insists the project isn’t dead, and something could happen down the line.

“Their life was nomadic. Living in a raft city that was bound together, this big floating city,” Helgeland explained to Inverse about Queen Nymeria, her lofty mission, and displaced people. “Sometimes, the characters would come ashore, but they ultimately get driven off the land as they search for a home, their version of the promised land.”

“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,” Helgeland said about his missed opportunity to work alongside Martin. “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. My work is still there if HBO wants to pick it up. I enjoyed my time developing it, and you just never know.”

While Helgeland’s Ten Thousand Ships isn’t dead in the water, HBO appears to be skittish about oversaturating its network with Game of Thrones content. The network already has House of the Dragon, which is doing gangbusters for the brand, and another spinoff titled The Hedge Knight is forthcoming. Meanwhile, HBO recently scrapped Kit Harrington’s Jon Snow spinoff, citing story issues for canceling the project. Thankfully, plenty of books in the Game of Thrones series keep fans engaged until House of the Dragon returns and The Hedge Knight is ready to venture out onto Max.

What do you think about Helgeland’s idea for Ten Thousand Ships? Are you hoping it gets made? Let us know in the comments section below.

Additionally, check out Inverse‘s in-depth interview with Helgeland for more details about Ten Thousand Ships and other projects.

Source: Inverse

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.