Rest easy, folks: you can count on an endless supply of Game of Thrones thinkpieces for at least three more years. Showrunners/executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss previously spoke about their desire to tell a close-ended story on the series, saying in 2014 that the insanely popular HBO series would likely end after “seven or eight seasons.” They are adapting a close-ended book series after all, and though they’re now entirely caught up with George R.R. Martin’s source material, they’re confidently plotting uncharted territory with the impending Season 6—hell, they tackled their fair share of new-to-book-readers stories/developments in Season 5. But they’re doing so with the full knowledge of where Martin’s book series goes, as they said in 2014:
“Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with him [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be. If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.”
With that in mind, HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo revealed today at the Television Critics Association’s HBO presentation that Game of Thrones will likely run for eight seasons, though the network “hopes [David and Dan] change their minds” and continue for more:
“Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the [internal] conversation. The question is how much beyond seven are we going to do. [David and Dan are] feeling like there’s two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds. That’s what we’re looking at right now.”
Indeed, Lombardo said in March he’d love for Game of Thrones to last 10 seasons. Given that it’s the most popular series in HBO history, it’s understandable that they’d want to extend its life as far as possible.
But the end of Game of Thrones may not be the end of Game of Thrones, as Lombardo addressed the prospect of a prequel series by saying, “I would be open to anything Dan and David want to do.” The world of Westeros is incredibly rich, and one imagines there are plenty of stories to tell from the generations before Joffrey made everyone’s life a living hell.
In the meantime, filming is well-underway on Game of Thrones Season 6, fans are keeping a close eye on the length of Kit Harington‘s hair, and the series will return with new episodes next spring as we enter what could be the antepenultimate season of the show.