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”.
As has long been obvious, HBO sees the TV show as a core part of its programming and is hesitant to see it go. All the more so now when their current drama programming has suffered significant blows (such as Vinyl‘s soft reception and Terrance Winter’s exit) or are coming to an end soon (as with The Leftovers). And Westworld, their latest stab at high-cost genre fare, has run into delays and reshoots suggesting some significant problems with its nascent first season which has delayed its expected air date significantly.
Some have suggested that the current round of remarks feels very much like a public negotiation, the showrunners giving their lowest desired figure, while HBO publically hems and haws but makes it clear that it would not mind finding a way to get one more year out of the show. To do that, they’ll likely need to convince Benioff and Weiss to tack on at least 7 more episodes to their estimate, raising the total projected episodes from the 73 they have mooted to the 80 that was once a figure cited by the showrunners.
After this news, more news of a similar vein followed as EW broached the subject of whether there are plans for any spin-offs to the show. Both HBO’s Lombardo as well as Benioff and Weiss indicated there were no such plans. The latter indicated that they’re focused entirely on the show before them, while Michael Lombardo suggested that while there are no current plans, if Benioff and Weiss (or George R.R. Martin) were passionate about an idea, HBO would certainly consider it.