SXSW Spotlight On Game Of Thrones Reveals Upcoming Season Details And Showrunner Regrets

Posted by March 13, 2017 Comment


The Game of Thrones panel at South by Southwest today was met with mixed reactions by longtime fans of both the HBO series as well as the original books. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss talked both about the upcoming remaining two seasons as well as things they might have liked to have done differently, including a few characters they regretted having killed off along the way. Actors Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams (who play Sansa and Aria Stark) were also on hand to inject some of their own questions.

One of the big points of frustration with fans is that while each of the prior six seasons there have been ten episodes each, the seventh season will only have eight episodes, and the eighth and final season will have a paltry six episodes. Benioff told the room:

From the beginning we’ve wanted to tell a 70-hour movie. It will turn out to be a 73-hour movie, but it’s stayed relatively the same of having the beginning, middle, and now we’re coming to the end. It would have been really tough if we lost any core cast members along the way. I’m very happy we’ve kept everyone and get to finish it the way we want to.

There had been some hope that they might have chosen to expand on the six episode number for the final season when last month HBO president of programming, Casey Bloys, told TVLine that Benioff and Weiss might have been looking at expanding the count, saying:

They’re still figuring it out because I think they’re trying to get a shape of the season. They always do what they think [will yield] the best version of the show. It’s all about how many they’re comfortable [with]. But I’ll always take more.

But it seems that six it’ll be, when Benioff said directly:

It’s only going to be six episodes for the final season.

Turner and Williams asked the Benioff and Weiss which characters they would have liked to have kept around longer. Both agreed that they wish they could have kept Jason Momoa’s character Khal Drogo around beyond his tenure during season one. However they also each had their own personal preferences: Joffrey Barathron and Catelyn Stark. It makes sense that having a character that everyone had such a good time wanting to be killed off nearly every time he was on the screen would have been fun to keep around to keep booing. Word that they would suggest either would have liked to have kept Catelyn around should make fans want to flip a table, since in the original books the Stark matriarch does come back as Lady Stoneheart. It was shortly after she was killed off at the Red Wedding that they both announced that Stoneheart wouldn’t be making an appearance in the series, so they have only themselves to blame for that particular choice.
The audience at the spotlight had their own opinion on the matter – calling out that Hodor (played by Kristian Nairn) should have been spared his fate late last season.
Benioff also touched on the much-rumored spinoff (or depending on who you ask, possibly a prequel) series, saying that they would love to see HBO pursue one, however it would be without them. “I think HBO might do [another show] and I look forward to watching it and I think it will be great ,but I think they should get new blood in, ” he said. So that sounds like they would like to move on, however once Game of Thrones ends, HBO will be in dire need of a replacement anchor series to help keep the massive numbers of eyes on their programming. Westworld is already doing well, but they need to do whatever they can to hold onto the Thrones faithful.
(Last Updated March 13, 2017 1:48 am )

About Bill Watters

Games programmer by day, geek culture and fandom writer by night. You'll find me writing most often about tv and movies with a healthy side dose of the goings-on around the convention and fandom scene.

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