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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
HBO has blasted out fifteen new images from the forthcoming 7th season of Game of Thrones, covering a range of the show’s key characters, many of them in their new, black-is-back fashions ahead of what’s likely to be a dark season. You can see the images in our gallery, but here’s a couple of examples to whet the appetite:
Game of Thrones returns to screens on July 16 in the US, July 17 in Europe.
The most notable items, in my view, are that Benioff and Weiss have indicated that the final season of the series will be only 6 episodes long (although one wonders what odds one or more of those episodes will run long), and that they have no plans of being involved in any Game of Thrones spin-off or prequel project HBO may come up with. Also, this upcoming season will feature a cameo from musician Ed Sheeran, who happens to be a huge fan of the show as you can see in the video below.
UPDATE: According to a follow-up report this week, as reported by Göteborg Posten, it looks like HBO has indicated that while it found Gotland very interesting it doesn’t have what they’re looking for and so Game of Thrones wll not be filming there. You can find our original report below:
A curious item out of Gotlands Tidningar caught our eye, as it indicated a production company on Gotland was currently involved in collecting location photos for what we can only assume is early location scouting for season 8 of Game of Thrones.
According to Olivia Munck of The Line, a production and location services company in Gotland, over 300 images have been sent to the production in several batches as different environments and places were requested; these include images of the medieval town of Visby, followed by a second batch of Visby photos with a focus on older or more “aged” environments, and then a batch of photos focused on old farmsteads on Gotland (including Kattlunds and Stavgard).
Visby, which was the center of Hanseatic League for two centuries, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved medieval town in Scandinavia. Its medieval walls stretch for over 2 miles (3 kilometers), it’s packed with ruins of churches and cathedrals (such as St. Nicolai, where Linda and I held a few talks last year). It’s a beautiful, and quite unique, place, which has for over 30 years hosted the famous Medeltidsveckan medieval festival. The rest of Gotland is also dotted with historical sites and sites of archaeological value, and features some beatuiful vistas (as one can see on The Line’s site). And of course, being in Scandinavia, it’s also known to get a good deal of snow which one supposes might be considered useful for the final season of the series.
So, is the production actually going to end up filming in Sweden? Munck was also interviewed by Sveriges Radio after the initial article made the rounds in the press, and there reiterated that she felt the production certainly has some interest in filming there since she doesn’t suppose they would have asked for so many pictures over time if they were writing it off. At the same time, however, she cautioned that nothing was certain at this stage, that no contracts had been signed, and gave it no better than 50/50 odds after citing that Sweden does not have the kind of tax breaks for film productions that Iceland, Spain, Croatia, and other countries where Game of Thrones has filmed previously.
According to Munck, after all these photos the next step for the production (if they continued to be interested) would probably be sending someone over to take a look around in person.
This year’s Emmy Awards have concluded and the results featured a few surprises in the acting categories, but the overall picture was as expected for Game of Thrones as it secured a total of 12 Emmys, tying last year’s record. Besides repeating for Best Dramatic Series, the show received direction and writing awards for “The Battle of the Bastards”. The shut out in the acting categories goes against prevailing opinions among entertainment pundits and journalists, but it seems that while the voting constituency (rule changes in 2015 are a big part of why Game of Thrones is now dominant in the drama category) loves Peter Dinklage, his puzzled reaction to last year’s victory moved the voters away from him and instead saw them return to an old stand by (Maggie Smith) and a long-time veteran (Ben Mendelsohn) over the remaining Game of Thrones nominees.
Some notable remarks followed the Emmys when interviewers asked the showrunners about the future of the series and the possibility of sequels. According to the Hollywood Reporter:
“You might want to ask George about that. It’s a great world George created and a very rich world,” said Benoiff. “I’m sure there will be other series set in Westeros, but for us this is it.”
Martin quickly stepped up to the mic: “I do have thousands of pages of fake history of everything that led up to Game of Thrones, so there’s a wealth of material there and I’m still writing more. But at the moment I still have this show to finish and two books to finish, so that’s all speculation for now.”
Benioff’s remark reiterates that he and Weiss are done with showrunning for the forseeable future when Game of Thrones wraps up, which is no surprise, but it seems that discussions at HBO are at the point where he seems to have no doubt that some sort of follow-on project is likely. On the other hand, as GRRM says, it all remains speculation until HBO is ready to lock something in. We suspect it’ll be a year or two before we hear of any firm plans for a spin-off series drawing from The World of Ice and Fire or A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.
The last couple of days has seen some significant news concerning the future of Game of Thrones thanks to remarks from showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, as well as HBO executive Michael Lombardo.
First out of the gate was this Variety interview in which Benioff was quoted as saying:
Clarification from other sources—doubtless HBO—clarified that the numbers were premature, but did say that upcoming seasons may be shorter than 10 episodes per season. The piece goes on to cite programming president Michael Lombardo, who acknowledged that Benioff and Weiss wanted to wrap the show in two years, but added that he was an “optimist” and though they would “figure this out”.
Continuing the trend of highlighting the behind-the-scenes production of HBO’s Game of Thrones series, they have now released an interesting mini-documentary on the work of the prosthetics department. A whole lot of white walkers and wights to be seen. Interestingly, much of the white walker footage is from last season’s “Hardome”:
Suffice it to say, some of the glimpses of season 6 herein could be considered spoilerish.
Last year, Mackevision released a VFX breakdown of some of their contributions to the visually-impressive fifth season of Game of Thrones. Now another VFX company who worked on the production, Image Engine, has opened up about their work last year through an article on their site. The article includes the video you’ll see below:
The interview piece with VFX supervisor Matt Krentz—who’d worked with Look FX on two of the previous seasons—is particularly rich in additional detail. While a lot of their work as seen in the many before-and-after images seem like fairly straightforward crowd replications or removal/addition of elements, there’s also details about the 3D set extensions to Castle Black, their pipeline for creating all their work, and perhaps most notably details on creating the appearance of the “Night’s King” as seen at the end of “Hardhome”.
A bombshell has fallen in the small world of television reviewing: HBO has stopped screeners for critics for season 6 of Game of Thrones. This is largely the result of well-publicized leaks from previous seasons—particularly the last season, in which the first four episodes were leaked weeks before the premiere—but for many critics the practice of receiving episodes early allowed them to spend more time considering and crafting their reviews. Now all the critics—at least, so far as we know—will have to write their reviews after episodes air.