George R.R. Martin has offered his take on EW’s story this week about the future of Game of Thrones.
As we reported, the hit fantasy’s showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss believe the rest of Martin’s saga will take seven seasons to conclude on screen. HBO, however, would actually prefer more than that—but also emphasized the network wouldn’t want to drag out the story if the writer-producers sincerely believe additional seasons would be detrimental to their creative vision. “We know basically how many hours are left in this story,” Benioff says. “It’s about finding that sweet spot so it works for us and for HBO and, most of all, it works for the audience.”
Writing on his blog, Martin confirmed HBO wants more than seven seasons (“I continue to hear similar sentiments from HBO every time I have meeting with them,” he says). But he cautioned that nothing is yet decided and might not be for awhile: “Right now, Game of Thrones is guaranteed only six seasons. That’s all HBO has officially committed to, by contract. We can speculate about additional seasons beyond that, but that’s all it is, speculation. Weird stuff happens in television, and there are sooooo many factors involved. Budgets. Actors’ contracts. New shows in development. Ratings … Around the time that the second episode of season six is showing, HBO will order season seven, we hope … or maybe, just maybe, they will order seasons seven AND eight. But even if they just order season seven, that doesn’t mean that the show will end in seven; it could just represent a return to the original policy of committing to only one season at a time.”
As we pointed out in the piece, one option is for HBO to order a split extended seventh season—like AMC did with the final season o fBreaking Bad and HBO with The Sopranos – which would extend the show into an eighth year without having to renegotiate with the cast or commit to another 10 episodes.
Martin also addressed the idea of ending the series with a movie. He points out (correctly) that this idea did not originate with him, but since he’s gone public with the concept that he’s the person the media tends to cite on the subject. “It was a notion suggested to me, which I have enthusiastically endorsed… but since I was the first person to raise the possibility in public, somehow I am being seen as its father. Sure, I love the idea. Why not? What fantasist would not love the idea of going out with an epic hundred million feature film? And the recent success of the IMAX experience shows that the audience is there for such a movie. If we build it, they will come. But will we build it? I have no bloody idea.”
For more, check out Martin’s “Not a Blog.” And for more about season 5 of Game of Thrones, pick up this week’s double issue where we go behind the scenes of season 5 across three countries for 30 pages of content about the show’s past, present and future. Get the issue here or subscribe to EW instantly and get every issue on tablet and in print.