Kudos to HBO for lending Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss a healthy amount of creative freedom as they prepare to bring the curtain down on the network’s flagship fantasy series. Last we reported, Benioff and Weiss had tentatively mapped out plans for a final 13 episodes – seven this year, six in 2018 – before calling it quits, but it seems there’s a reason HBO is yet to officially renew GoT for its eighth and final season.
It’s almost a foregone conclusion that Game of Thrones will land a renewal before the year’s end, but the fact that HBO has been keeping mum hitherto has raised all kinds of questions online. That’s not to say production has hit an unexpected roadblock – far from it – simply that David Benioff and Dan Weiss are still “trying to get a shape” of season 8 which, according to HBO programming president Casey Bloys, may take that final episode count beyond 13 after all.
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Per TVLine: “I think they’re trying to get a shape of the season. They always do what they think [will yield] the best version of the show. It’s all about how many they’re comfortable [with]. But I’ll always take more.”
No matter how HBO plans to send off Game of Thrones, the network is already beginning to cast the net across Westeros in search of spinoff ideas. But according to Bloys, it’s more likely that GoT will continue in the form of a prequel series, as they’re inherently less risky than an out-and-out spinoff.
“A prequel feels like it has less pressure on it [than a spin-off]. [Author George R.R. Martin’s history of Westeros] gives you areas in which to say to a writer, ‘If you were going to do this, then go flesh it out,’ and we’ll see what comes back. But I don’t feel any pressure that we have to have something.”
Game of Thrones will return for its penultimate season sometime this summer. Expect HBO to narrow down that release window very soon indeed – potentially ordering the show’s eighth and final season in the process.