HBO has always had top notch original programming, but there’s no denying the fact that the global phenomenon Game of Thrones might just be the biggest show in the network’s history. Since the series is based on a finite series of books (that, admittedly, aren’t finished yet), and since making the show is a herculean undertaking in and of itself—showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff work year-round either prepping, shooting, or finalizing a season—Game of Thrones has to end sometime, and that time is likely sooner rather than later.
Previously, Weiss and Benioff said that they’d like to wrap up the show after seven or eight seasons, going so far as to sit down with George R.R. Martin in 2013 and go over the ending for each and every character. It’s true the TV series is nearly caught up with the books, and so Weiss and Benioff are planning out their own endgame as the show starts to enter its third act.
However, in speaking with EW, if HBO programming president Michael Lombardo had it his way, he says the series would stretch into 10 seasons:
“This is the hard part of what we do. We started this journey with David and Dan. It’s their vision. Would I love the show to go 10 years as both a fan and a network executive? Absolutely.”
But Lombardo also understands creative integrity, and admits that while he hasn’t had a conversation with Weiss and Benioff about the end just yet, he’s willing to concede if they don’t feel comfortable stretching the series out:
“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.”
For Weiss and Benioff, pulling off a strong Game of Thrones ending is paramount:
“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.’” Adds Benioff: “We know basically how many hours are left in this story. 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.”
Given the show’s popularity and obvious cinematic qualities, many have wondered if a Game of Thrones movie might be a way to end the series with a bang. It would certainly look great on the big screen, but Lombardo is wary about charging fans extra to see how their show ends:
“Certainly there have been conversations where it’s been said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to [make a movie]?’ 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.”
While I do think it’d be great to see Game of Thrones on the big screen, I’ll admit I’m also a bit hesitant about switching mediums at what will likely be the most crucial moment of the show’s history. That prospect is still a few years away though, so for now I’m simply excited to see Weiss and Benioff chart new territory with the upcoming Season 5.
What do you think, readers? Would you want to see Game of Thrones end with a movie, or would you rather see the show conclude within the context of a full season? Sound off in the comments below.