Long before Game of Thrones reached its eighth and final season, and HBO began mapping out plans for a successor series (entitled The Longest Night, it currently has Naomi Watts attached to headline), the Powers That Be considered wrapping things up with a trilogy of blockbuster movies.
Not content with feature-length episodes, the producers behind Game of Thrones initially dreamed up an idea for three “summer tentpoles,” which gained support from series showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. Alas, as Entertainment Weekly reveals as part of its ongoing Thrones coverage, HBO ultimately decided against the idea on the belief that it ought to “serve its subscribers, not take expensive gambles at the box office.”
So the producers had an idea: The final season could be six hours long and released as three movies in theaters — just like Martin’s best-known influence, The Lord of the Rings. It’s not that the duo wanted to make movies per se, but it seemed like the only way to get the time and money needed to pull off their finale. “It’s what we’re working towards in a perfect world,” Weiss said. “We end up with an epic fantasy story but with the level of familiarity and investment in the characters that are normally impossible in a two-hour movie.
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Bringing Game of Thrones to theaters would have been a truly memorable experience for everyone involved, and there’s no doubting the show’s blockbuster credentials. Still, as EW points out, there was one caveat in that original plan:
The flaw in this plan was that HBO is about serving its subscribers, not taking gambles at the box office. Behind the scenes, the network brass gently shot down the movie idea. But executives assured Benioff and Weiss that they would eventually have everything they needed to make a final season that was “a summer tentpole-size spectacle.”
Is it too much to say that Game of Thrones season 8 verges on unmissable television? Perhaps, but with so much riding on this series finale, we’re counting down the days before our return trip to Westeros. Will you be joining us?