From a face full of molten gold to a wedding day massacre, the creators of Game of Thrones have never been shy about killing their characters—yes, even beloved ones —and have continued to find new and inventive ways to off 'em over the course of seven seasons. While the epic series’ eighth (and final) season won’t arrive until 2019, HBO’s powers-that-be are already confirming what you probably knew was coming: A lot of people are going to die!
As Variety reports, several of the network’s executives were on hand at the INTV Conference in Israel to take part in a panel titled “The Best of HBO.” When talk turned to Game of Thrones, senior vice president of drama Francesca Orsi described approaching the final season as “a really powerful moment in our lives and our careers. None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started falling down to their deaths.”
Orsi went on to say that even the table read of the final six episodes was pretty dramatic, and ended with the cast and crew standing up and applauding for a full 15 to 20 minutes. “It was amazing,” says Orsi. “By the very end, everyone looked down and looked up and tears were in their eyes.”
Of course, Game of Thrones’s eighth season won’t mark the end of HBO’s collaboration with George R.R. Martin. Orsi said the network is already planning “three, four, five spinoffs” of the rabidly popular series, noting that “it feels like corporate malfeasance to not continue it.” And these won’t be small-budget affairs. “$50 million [per season] would never fly for what we are trying to do,” Orsi said of the spinoffs, which have already enlisted writers Max Borenstein (Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service), Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River), and Carly Wray (Mad Men, The Leftovers) to get cracking on the scripts. “We are going big,” Orsi confirmed.
In May 2017, Martin himself shared some details about the proposed projects on his blog:
“For what it's worth, I don't especially like the term ‘spinoff,’ and I don't think it really applies to these new projects. What we're talking about are new stories set in the ‘secondary universe’ (to borrow Tolkien's term) of Westeros and the world beyond, the world I created for A Song Of Ice and Fire. It is a world, and a pretty big one, and if there were 8 million stories in the naked city back in the '50s, just think how many more there are in an entire world, and one with thousands of years of recorded history. “None of these new shows will be 'spinning off' from GOT in the traditional sense. We are not talking Joey or AfterMASH or even Frasier or Lou Grant, where characters from one show continue on to another. So all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment. Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set on Westeros. Rather than 'spinoff' or 'prequel,' however, I prefer the term 'successor show.' That's what I've been calling them.”
Whatever you want to call them, HBO’s commitment to Martin’s work should be reassuring to fans who are dreading “The End” of Game of Thrones. Will it be enough to help you through the grieving process as you watch your favorite characters fall? Only time will tell.