It's the biggest show on TV, but it appears HBO executives have no intentions of dragging Game of Thrones on beyond the natural span of its story. Speaking at the Television Critics Association meeting, HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo spoke suggesting the programme's end may come after just three more seasons.
“Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the conversation,” Lombardo told The Hollywood Reporter. “The question is how much beyond seven are we going to do."
Having just rounded up the fifth series of the show, Lombardo hinted that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are "feeling like there’s two more years after [season] six. I would always love for them to change their minds. That’s what we’re looking at right now.”
That's not to say HBO won't be milking the franchise, of course. Lombardo says the studio is open to the idea of expanding the books' televisual universe, perhaps exploring a prequel series.
“I would be open to anything Dan and David want to do," Lombardo added. "It really would depend fully on what they want to do. I think [...] there’s enormous storytelling to be mined in a prequel. We haven’t had any conversations."
Lombardo also addressed concerns over the show's growing bloodlust - a few key scenes in series five made even die-hard fans uncomfortable with graphic depictions of violence and abuse. But Lombardo feels no line not already established by the show has been crossed.
"This show has had violence as part of one of its many threads from the first episode," he said.
"I can’t speak to any single person’s particular taste [...] I think there are no two showrunners who are more careful about not overstepping what they think the line is — and everyone has their own line, I understand — but doing things that are critical for the storytelling and I support them fully artistically."
And...GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS AHEAD if you roll down...
...what of the heroic Jon Snow, one of the few genuine good guys in the show, who seemed to come to a grisly end at the close of series five? Is he really dead?
"In everything I’ve seen, heard or read, Jon Snow is indeed dead," said Lombardo.
As if you expected any different from George R. R. Martin's bloodthirsty universe. [Hollywood Reporter]