Game of Thrones

HBO's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' TV Show

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The Gremlin Returns

In his latest “Not a Blog” post, George R.R. Martin has posted a cryptic message featuring Froggy the Gremlin, which means he’s having fun presenting a puzzle to fans. Given the television tag in the post, and the reference to the dragon having three heads, thoughts certainly turn to his presenting some new information regarding HBO’s follow-ups to Game of Thrones.

As we know, originally four concepts were being developed by Max Borenstein, Jane Goldman, Carly Wray, and Brian Helgeland—but early on George hinted at a 5th pitch, which came to pass when HBO announced that Game of Thrones writer and producer Bryan Cogman was also working on a proposal with George.

That seems to easily explain the first two sets of images: Four series became five. As to the rest?

HBO Exec on Final Season and Prequel Budget

Reports in the entertainment press have brought attention to remarks from HBO executives at the INTV Conference that have touched on Game of Thrones. Variety reports that Francesca Orsi—the HBO’s senior VP for Drama—promised that the final season of the show will be a satisfying climax, including the anecdote that cast members at the table read of the six scripts openly wept and that there were “15 or 20 minutes” of applause when the last page was read.

HBO Confirms 2019 for Final Season

A brief press release from HBO has confirmed what has long been understood: the final, 6-episode season of Game of Thrones will not air until 2019.

Here’s the press release in full:

Your readers may be interested to know that the hit HBO series GAME OF THRONES will return for its six-episode, eighth and final season in 2019.

Directors for the new season are: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik. Writers for the new season are: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill.

Season seven credits: The executive producers of GAME OF THRONES are David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger and Bernadette Caulfield; co-executive producers, Bryan Cogman, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis and George R.R. Martin.

Final Season Budget Rumors

Thanks to an article over at Variety discussing the minutae of high-end television budgets, a new detail regarding the budget for the final six episodes of Game of Thrones is making the rounds. According to the piece, HBO is expecting to spend $15 million per episode, which would be the highest amount spent per-episode on the series to date.

The article goes on to talk about why shows are costing so much, as well as raising the question as to whether a $20 million-per-episode series may eventually happen. This is not really a new situation, though, if one looks at limited series. Most recently, The Pacific from HBO cost some $20 million per episode across its 10 episodes; adjusting for inflation, in fact the price tag is closer to $22.5 million per episode. That was very much an “event” series, from the same people who had put together the exceptional Band of Brothers, but suffice it to say that if HBO was willing to countenance then, it should be no surprise they’re willing to countenance it now.

If anything, the $15 million price tag that Variety talks about feels a little low, since rumors have pegged season 6 episodes at averaging $10 million, while cinematographer Robert McLachlan implied that season 7 had a similar overall budget—i.e., approximately $14.28 million per episode on average. A 5% increase in budget doesn’t seem that noteworthy. On the other hand, it’s always possible that the reporting is mistaken, or that the particular numbers thrown about are merely very conservative estimates. We would not be surprised to hear of a much higher figure after filming is underway or wraps.

Final Season Directors Announced

From a report on EW, HBO has revealed the directors of the final six episodes of Game of Thrones. They’re all familiar names: Miguel Sapochnik, David Nutter, and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss. The showrunners, who are also writing four of the final six episodes, will be directing the finale.

James Hibberd goes into more detail, and in particular provides speculation as to how episodes will be divyed up, with rumors suggesting Sapochnik may direct three of the episodes.

Cogman Developing 5th Prequel Series

HBO has just announced that long-time series writer and producer Bryan Cogman is the fifth writer behind on the successors. EW’s James Hibberd has what details there are to be had, but understandably HBO are tight-lipped about just what ideas are being developed. A couple of months ago, Linda and I recorded videos discussing some of the areas of Martin’s world and its history that might be of interest.

Of all the writers involved in developing these successor shows, Cogman is unique in being the only one to have worked on the series, and has done so from the start—even back to the original pilot, when he was assistant to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

Game of Thrones to Film Multiple Endings

News spread last night of a talk Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming, held at Moravian College. According to reports, Bloys indicated that in a bid to mitigate the leaks that have plagued the show the last few seasons, the producers had decided to write and film multiple endings to attempt to hide the real ending. According to the report at EW, the showrunners have previously indicated that they’re going to new heights to attempt to prevent leaks for the final season, and this seems to be just one of a number of techniques they’ll be using.

Alternate endings created to prevent leaks is not new to television, with shows as varied as 24, Lost, The Simpsons, and fellow HBO show Sex and the City having used the stratagem. As to whether these efforts will be successful when it comes to Game of Thrones? Only time will tell.

Screenwriter Talks Game of Thrones Successor

IGN has an interesting interview with Jane Goldman, one of the four (or five) writers working on ideas for a successor series to HBO’s Game of Thrones. In the course of the interview, Goldman’s quite cagey, but she does share just a little bit of information that provides some additional parameters for what her pitch is.

Discussing the Successor Shows

As previously mentioned, Linda and I decided to take some time while on our vacation to make a video discussing the Game of Thrones “successors”—the four (or five) in-development concepts that follow-ups to the show. We’ve now finished the series, deciding that three parts was more than sufficien to kick around a dozen or so potential ideas. You can find them all in the playlist embedded below:

First Three Episode Titles Revealed

HBO has sent out a press release discussing the imminent arrival of Game of Thrones on July 16th, including loglines and titles for the first three episodes. You can read them below, but naturally if you consider episode titles spoilers… well, these are spoilers:

Season 7 Finale Longest Episode Ever

Over at EW, James Hibberd spoke with the executive producers of Game of Thrones, who provided more details on the overall length of the season’s 7 episodes. The big news is that the final episode will be nearly 90 minutes long, with online leaks claiming an as-yet-unconfirmed 81 minute running length. The key quotes can be found below:

HBO Exec on Prequels, Final Season

James Hibberd at EW has an intersting interview with Casey Bloys, HBO’s President of Programming, regarding the final seasons of Game of Thrones, the potential successor shows, and the involvement (or lack of same) of David Benioff and Dan Weiss in those last. Definitely read the full article, but below are a couple of choice quotes:

New Season 7 Photos

EW has seven brand-new photos from the forthcoming Game of Thrones Season 7, including the first look at just how enormous Drogon has gotten this season. (Fair warning: there are spoilers among the images.)

Back in March, one of the new directors to the show, Matt Shankman, remarked to James Hibberd that the dragons are the size of Boeing 747s, and the accompanying picture seems to bear that out.

GRRM on Game of Thrones Successor

Over at the “Not a Blog”—which will soon be retired in preference to a new blog, we’re told—George R.R. Martin has taken the time to discuss the recent news that HBO has four pilot scripts in development for a potential successor to Game of Thrones. George’s post is very illuminating, clarifying some details and providing a few hints, as well as a couple of clear and categorical responses.

It’s worth reading, but below are some key points:

HBO Exploring Four Spin-off Stories

As usual, James Hibberd at EW gets the big scoop. We’ve talked before about HBO’s executives confirming that they’re interested in exploring the A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones universe after the series is done, but this is the very first concrete news regarding it. Per Hibberd,

Most of the assigned writers have experience writing major theatrical films, and Martin is personally involved in two of the projects. The show ideas are from Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island, Fox’s Minority Report); Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Secret Service, X-Men: First Class) along with Martin; Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale, L.A. Confidential); and Carly Wray (Mad Men) with Martin.

Also, Hibberd confirms Benioff and Weiss will be executive producers on any eventual show(s). It’s not exactly a surprise, however, given that they brought the property to HBO in the first place, so they would retain a stake. It’s pretty clear they will not be showrunners, however.

Some further thoughts below.