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.
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