A report in the Irish Daily Mirror—the exact text which I’m not able to find, but it’s been reported at second hand by The Independent—claims that Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos Seaworth, has signed on for another six seasons of HBO’s Game of Thrones. This isn’t unexpected news, as such, but it’s interesting as it suggests that Cunningham’s initial contract might have been shorter (which in itself is a bit unusual, since most contracts for long-term cast tend to have five or six year options) and now the production is on a footing where paying more to secure services of second season additions to the cast as far into the possible future as a seventh or even eighth season starts to make sense.
If the report is true, it’s indicative of the producers and HBO feeling reasonably confident about going a good distance with the show. Given that True Blood—a show whose ratings are now only somewhat stronger than that of Game of Thrones, and whose social buzz seems rather cooler—was renewed for a sixth season, it doesn’t seem out of the question that—short of some catastrophe in terms of viewership or the production—Game of Thrones will see itself reaching a fifth or even sixth season without too much difficulty, taking it well past the point of A Storm of Swords (which in a way marks the end of the first act of the series). And once they’ve gone that far, and if ratings have held for the show as well as the True Blood ratings have for that show, it’s hard not to see an argument for seeing the show through to its conclusions…
One niggling problem about the above scenario, though. Since initial contracts for the series covered six years (as Iain Glen noted in our interview with the actor), quite a few of the show’s primary cast may be looking at contract negotiations (and significant pay raises) to re-up for further seasons, potentially greatly increasing the cost of production.
In any case, best not count your dragons before they’re hatched. After all, the official start date of principal photography in Belfast for season 3 is… today. We’re a fair way away from even knowing whether the show will make it to season 6, much less whether it’ll be able to afford to film for seasons beyond that.