Game of Thrones Creators Talk About the End of the Series

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In a new article from Entertainment Weekly, some of the major players behind HBO’s phenomenally successful “Game of Thrones”–including series developers/showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss–weigh in on what they envision as the end game of the show. As you might expect, there’s a slight difference of opinions involving story responsibility versus commerce.

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“We see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Benioff says. “We still have a long way to go and things to figure out, but we definitely know where we’re heading and the major end-beats.”

“We started this journey with David and Dan,” says HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “It’s their vision. Would I love the show to go 10 years as both a fan and a network executive? Absolutely. We’ll have an honest conversation that explores all possible avenues. If they weren’t comfortable going beyond seven seasons, I trust them implicitly and trust that’s the right decision—as horrifying as that is to me. What I’m not going to do is have a show continue past where the creators believe where they feel they’ve finished with the story.”

In a variation on the oft-heard (and incredibly true) phrase “no one knows,” author George R.R. Martin commented on the story for his online blog.

“I also know that HBO wants the series to run longer than that,” Martin says of the current orders through Season 6. “I have known that since the very beginning… well, actually, since the day after the second episode of season one aired, when I had lunch with one of HBO’s top execs, who told me, ‘We want this to run ten years.’ I allowed that ten years sounded fine to me. I continue to hear similar sentiments from HBO every time I have [a] meeting with them, be it in LA or New York.”

There’s also that pesky talk of a massive, $100 million-dollar theatrical feature film finale for “Game of Thrones,” but despite the recent screening of two episodes in 205 IMAX theaters grossing an impressive $1.9 million at the box office over Super Bowl weekend, even HBO has ethical issues with that.

“Certainly there have been conversations where it’s been said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do that?’” Lombardo stated. “But when you start a series with our subscribers, the promise is that for your HBO fee that we’re going to take you to the end of this. I feel that on some level [a movie would be] changing the rules: Now you have to pay $16 to see how your show ends.”

“What fantasist would not love the idea of going out with an epic hundred-million feature film?” asks Martin. “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.”

“We want to go out on our absolute highest note,” Weiss says. “We don’t want people to finally see the end and say, ‘Thank god that’s over.’”

“We know basically how many hours are left in this story,” Benioff adds. “We don’t want to add 10 hours to that. It’s about finding that sweet spot so it works for us and for HBO and, most of all, it works for the audience.”

Season 5 of “Game of Thrones” will premiere on Sunday, April 12 at 9pm on HBO.