‘Game of Thrones’: George R.R. Martin Talks HBO’s 10 Season Goal, Potential Movie

As the promotional campaign for “Game of Thrones” season five ramps up ahead of its April 12 premiere, author George R.R. Martin has taken to his blog to address speculation about the show’s future — specifically, reports that HBO is hoping that the show will run 10 seasons, while showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are aiming for seven.

“This discussion is nothing new, of course. I get asked similar questions every time I make a public appearance, do an interview, or walk a red carpet. My usual answer is a variant on, ‘I don’t know how many seasons the show will run.’ I don’t know. No one knows,” Martin wrote on his official LiveJournal.

“I do know that David & Dan have stated in interviews that they see the show winding up in seven seasons … I also know that HBO wants the series to run longer than that. 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 meeting with them, be it in L.A. or New York,” Martin added.

The rumor mill began churning anew when EW posted an interview with HBO boss Michael Lombardo, who admitted that the possibility of ending the show at seven seasons was “horrifying” to him. “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,” he admitted. “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.”

Martin also discussed the possibility of a “Game of Thrones” movie, which Lombardo seemed to nix during his EW interview. “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,” Lombardo said.

The author, naturally, had a slightly different view. “I see that this new crop of stories also raises, once again, the notion of concluding the series with one or more feature films. And in some of these stories, once again, this idea is wrongly attributed to me. Let me state, yet again, that while I love this idea, it did NOT originate with me. It was a notion suggested to me, which I have enthusiastically endorsed,” Martin clarified. “Sure, I love the idea. Why not? What fantasist would not love the idea of going out with an epic hundred million feature film? 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.”

“Game of Thrones” season five premieres Sunday, April 12, at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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  1. Bill Pittman says:

    They are missing an unexplored opportunity that Marvel’s Agent’s of Shield almost discovered. They could have made a whole boat load of money and enhanced fan obsession by filming a 2 hour movie that would be set to released a few weeks after the end of a TV season (or maybe even at the end of each season) and that involved concurrent action within and consistent with the tv series storyline. Martin explored the principle by splitting books 4 and 5. They could film it concurrently with the filming of the 10 episodes with a slightly different focus on characters and action. Most of season 6 episode 8 would have looked much better on the big screen.

  2. martin jordan says:

    If someone put their mind to it, they could make movies that could go on for years and still not catch up to the first HBO episode using the book “The World Of ICE & FIRE… The UNTOLD HISTORY of WESTEROS and The Game Of Thrones”.

  3. Considering that by the end of season 5 the show might have catch up and even possibly spoiled the book readers with upublished plots, I actually wonder whether the series will go ahead of the written material even in this coming season..

  4. less talking more writing says:

    Hey GRRM!!

    Love your work!

    Now GO BACK TO WRITING!!!!!

  5. mstrainjr says:

    So this article is little more than a bunch of uncertainty. Will the show run 7 or 10 season? It doesn’t say. Will there be a movie? Again, it doesn’t say. So why is this article here? And why is IMDb featuring this on the homepage?

    • IMDB is using this on their home page because it deals with the show. They use an algorithm that pulls from every website, searching for keywords. That is why you will often see an article that has nothing at all to do with movies or television, but still links to a listing.

  6. I don’t think the HBO execs quite get the difference between an open-ended and a close-ended storyline. Game of Thrones is the latter, even if we don’t know the ending, yet. I think the pacing is already glacial enough that going past seven seasons is a bad idea. Everybody’s hot to see the show right now, but they also want to see a good ending–sooner than forever later.

  7. Lisa says:

    Just finish the books please!

  8. ” 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.”

    Hmmm Really HBO? What may I ask happened to Carnivale then? You definitely didn’t take anyone to the end of that. What you did do is end any chance of it’s fans getting an end to that.

    • DL says:

      That’s the nature of television. I was also a fan of Carnivale, but it’s hardly the first show to be cancelled before its conclusion. HBO is a business, after all. Comparing Carnivale being cancelled to Game of Thrones concluding via a television format vs. film is apples and oranges.

  9. Here’s a brilliant idea: make a movie and release it on HBO before it gets to DVD. Not rocket science. That way even the grumpy HBO execs would get their due.

  10. Randy says:

    Stop writing Blogs and finish the books!!!

  11. IntownWriter says:

    I’m looking forward to S5, etc., but am more eagerly awaiting Book 6. Any news on that?

  12. Mary Edwards says:

    Please keep it going as long as possible. This show has intriguing story telling and fabulous acting. I look forward to each season so fondly and with much attentionpation. It’s one thing that my hays and and I have in common. Please continue and stay for many more years. Sincerely, Mary Edwards.

    • mstrainjr says:

      The problem with that is that there will be only 7 books total. For the show to do more than that, they’re going to have to make up a lot of stuff that goes beyond Martin’s complete story. It’s for this reason that I’ll never consider Episodes 7-9 of the Star Wars movies as nothing more than appendix material, since it comes after a complete story.

      • PG says:

        The original-original plan for Star Wars was nine parts. Three set-up, three wrap-up, three “story” – hence his decision yo make the ‘middle’ three first. I presume #7-9 are following the original plan, so I see no reason to consider them as anything other than ‘proper’ Star Wars films.

      • You realize they’re not following the books any longer, right?

    • IntownWriter says:

      Completely agree!

  13. IncognitoJ says:

    5 seasons or 7 seasons, they are going to have to make up an entirely different ending from the books because GRRM won’t be done with the books in time. I guess it will be interesting to decide which ending is better.

    • mstrainjr says:

      Martin told everything to the people running the show. If he dies before the show is over or before he can write any more books, they know where to take his vision.

      • DL says:

        While this is true, what’s been quoted is that he told them the “broad strokes.” While the overall conclusion to the TV series will likely be similar to GRRM’s ending in the books, I have no doubt that on the level of each individual character, things will probably be quite different.

    • IntownWriter says:

      Ack! I don’t know how to delete a comment, but “Completely agree!” was meant for Mary Edwards’ post. Sorry! As for your post, I just wish GRR would put his focus back on the books so we don’t have the scenario you describe! (Sorry for the mix-up.)

  14. rextraordinaire says:

    If the show does indeed wrap up in 7 seasons and HBO wants more, a logical next step would be to create a prequel series of sorts. There is so much backstory in the Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones universe. For example they could do a one-season series that revolves around Aegon’s conquest (set 300 years before GoT) and another for Robert’s rebellion (set 20 years before)

  15. Mr Furious says:

    This is why shows turn to crap and people are glad to see them die off than sad to see them end: they go on way too long because execs want to milk every last drop from the teat that they can. As a fan of the show, I’d love for it to end with 7 good seasons than to see them drag it out for ten or twelve or fifteen just so HBO can milk it until there’s nothing left. I can’t think of a single American show that ended just when it should have. I used to say “Arrested Development” was one of the only ones, but then they had to do that crappy fourth season which shows that you should really quit when you’re ahead.

  16. colig says:

    the only problem with going 10 seasons and a movie is the kids are going to grow up way faster then they do in the books or on the show.

  17. craigbe says:

    I feel your pain, but Firefly wasn’t on a pay subscription channel…

  18. alexlaird87 says:

    “When you start a series with our subscribers, the promise is 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,”

    Now you know how Firefly fans felt :)

  19. unsullied opinionist says:

    How about prequel about the mad king and the sack of kings landing?

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