So, everyone hoped for word that HBO was happy with Game of Thrones and would announce on Monday morning that it was ordering another season. Or, as last year, maybe it’d be a day or two more - Tuesday or Wednesday.
Now it’s Friday… and nothing. What’s happening?
What’s not happening is that HBO is considering not ordering a third season. It’s about as sure as anyone can make it, short of an act of god. The numbers are very strong, the buzz is huge, and really, it’s firing on all-cylinders. HBO certainly couldn’t he happier. So, what’s the hold up?
Two possibilities spring to mind. The one I consider the weaker of the two is the old rumor of shooting more than 10 episodes—perhaps as many two seasons’ worth of episodes, back-to-back. This has been shut down directly by Benioff and Weiss—producing 10 episodes is a year-round task for them, and while there would be certain efficiencies in back-to-back filming, it would almost certainly lead to delays. But could HBO agree with the executive producers that a couple more episodes for season 3 might be worthwhile? Not impossible, but if so, there’d be a lot of back-and-forth going on.
The other possibility, which I consider much more likely, is that negotiations are going on about ordering not just a third season, but a fourth as well. Why would this take time? Polling a few industry experts, I think the answer may lie in Benioff’s and Weiss’s contracts as showrunners: it may be their own contract runs three years… and then it’s up for renegotiation. So if HBO orders a fourth season, they’d surely be involved in negotiating the contracts of the showrunners, as well as everything else that may be tied up in the question of whether they can go four seasons?
This doesn’t mean they’d film season 3 and 4 back-to-back…. but it would mean that the showrunners would be able to start outlining and planning a season well in advance, which may provide some benefits—not just for the story, as they can more firmly plan where story lines will connect and there’ll be references to scenes in earlier episodes with more facility, but simply for figuring out how to produce the episodes and what will be needed.
In the end, this is just speculation. All we feel certain of is that season 3 will be announced sooner rather than later. But we’ll go out on a limb and say that season 4 will be attached to that announcement, as well.