The end is coming.
By Proma Khosla – Not for two to three years, sure — but as HBO tentpole Game of Thrones enters its sixth season, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are looking forward, revealing that they may wrap the series with two shortened seasons.
On Thursday, Variety reported that Benioff and Weiss are considering a seven-episode Season 7 and a six-episode Season 8 to end thrones. These will, officially, be separate seasons — a fine distinction from the model used by Mad Men and Breaking Bad, which split their own final seasons into two batches.
“I think we’re down to our final 13 episodes after this season. We’re heading into the final lap,” Benioff said to Variety. “That’s the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, but that’s what we’re looking at.”
The reason that it’s only a guess at the moment is because of the sprawling Thrones production schedule, which regularly spans 12-14 months of shooting across several continents. In an official statement, HBO said this:
Any conversations about the end of Game of Thrones and the number of episodes of future seasons is purely speculative. As is customary, HBO will sit with Dan and David to discuss the details once a decision has been made to go forward with season 7.
According to EW, Benioff and Weiss have always had a run-time in mind for the full series. That number is around 73 hours.
“In every conversation, that’s been their thinking,” said HBO entertainment president Michael Lombardo. “It will be interesting to see how strongly they feel about being definitive about that when we are in a position to announce seasons 7 and 8.”
Revealing an endgame could be a smart move, as opposed to dragging out the show’s later seasons. Lost employed a similar model after a prolonged Seasons 2 and 3, settling on 16 episodes apiece for its final seasons (cut down to 13 in Season 4, due to the writers’ strike in Hollywood). The show used this method to keep its narrative concise and propulsive.
“We wanted to end while we’re still ambulatory and going strong,” Benioff said. “We love the show too much.”
Also a fan of the show? Lombardo. “As a television executive, as a fan, do I wish they said another six years? I do,” he said. “I’m always an optimist, and I do believe we will figure this out.”
Game of Thrones Season 6 premieres on April 24.