The final season of Game of Thrones will arrive next year, and the publicity machine is already kicking into gear. EW just released a massive cover story packed with tidbits about the show’s conclusion and what led to certain decisions along the way. One of the more notable reveals is that at one point, showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff considered ending the show with a trilogy of theatrically-released movies:
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.
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.”
That kind of pitch may seem outlandish, but keep in mind that the budget for what was required was way beyond what anyone ever considered spending on a television show at that point. Now that Game of Thrones has become a worldwide sensation and the most popular show on HBO, the network has given the closing episodes the financial backing they need. Keep in mind, when you only have six episodes to close out your show, it’s a little easier to spend that money rather than asking for loads of money per episode in a 10-episode season.
All that being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if after the season has aired, HBO makes another promotional push of sorts to wring every last dollar they can out of Game of Thrones by doing a theatrical run for the biggest episodes like “Hardhome”, “Battle of the Bastards”, and whatever is coming down the line for the final season.
Game of Thrones returns in 2019.