Game of Thrones show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss dropped quite a bit of information in a recent interview including the possibility of a prequel….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It’s a sad day in Westeros because every Game of Thrones fan across the world realized one thing at the end of season six — it’s going to be at least a year before we get more new episodes.
As depressing as that sounds, Game of Thrones show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss recently appeared on the UFC Unfiltered podcast where they revealed several pieces of information that should help satisfy the thirst for information about the show until production begins this summer.
The highly interesting interview gave out a little bit of information about season seven as well as some fun tidbits from the past six seasons.
Take a look at some of the highlights from the interview:
Possibly the most interesting topic that was discussed on the podcast was the idea behind a Game of Thrones prequel. Just about everybody is sad to know that Game of Thrones will be over in just two more shortened seasons — approximately 13 episodes total — but how could the show continue without expanding past seven seasons?
How about a prequel?
Anyone who has read George R.R. Martin’s source material from A Song of Ice and Fire knows that he’s not only created a rich universe in the current story arc, but there are dozens upon dozens of past stories that could be taken and transformed into a TV show.
Whether it was an entire prequel series or possibly an anthology with one season telling a story like Robert Baratheon’s rebellion against “The Mad King” or perhaps the famous battle of Targaryens known’s as “The Dance with Dragons” — there is plenty of material to draw upon for a Game of Thrones prequel.
According to the Game of Thrones show runners, they wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a prequel but that won’t even be theorized until the main series wraps.
For now they are focused solely on finishing Game of Thrones but after that’s over, anything is possible.
“It’s definitely not taboo. This is such a 24-hour a day job that we think about thinking about it, but once we start thinking about it, we realize we have other things that are immediately pressing that we need to think about today, but yeah one of the great things about what George did, he didn’t just build a story — he built a world.
“With so many characters and such a rich, detailed history behind it, there are a lot of different ways you could go with it. We just haven’t had time to really think through the details of it because we’re so focused on actually just getting the show made.”
With only two seasons remaining on Game of Thrones, the story that started with Robert Baratheon showing up at Winterfell to ask his friend Ned Stark to become Hand of the King will finally careen towards an ending in just 13 episodes and the executive producers behind the series know exactly how everything will come to a close.
In fact, Benioff and Weiss know so much about how Game of Thrones will end that they are confidence that they could pen the final episode today if need be.
“We know how the final season’s going to end. We could write the final episode right now if we had to,” Benioff said.
The conversation came from an earlier twist about a famous meeting the Game of Thrones show runners had with creator George R.R. Martin when speaking about his long term plans for the books at a time when the series was dangerously close to catching up.
Martin revealed several big secrets — including the origin behind Hodor’s name — but Benioff insists that not everything planned for the books will make it to the show. He also said the same for Martin’s original plans because while he has general ideas for how the story will end for each of his characters, he doesn’t make a solid outline and follow that when he’s writing the books.
Instead, Martin prefers to write the story as he goes so the ending that the Game of Thrones producers were told, may not ultimately mesh with the same ending in the books.
“We know some of the things he’s doing. For instance, we met with him — he lives in Santa Fe so we met with him in Santa Fe — a few years ago and really grilled him about everything he was planning and one of the really exciting things he told us about was the origin of Hodor’s name. So that was what triggered the scene in this past season with Hodor. We know some of his distant plans,” Benioff said.
“But one of the things George always says is there are two kinds of writers — there are gardeners and there are architects. Architects are the ones who plan out everything before hand to kind of lay out the blueprint for the story they are trying to tell. The gardeners are the ones who plant the seeds and they kind of discover it as they go. They plant the seeds and they see what blooms and he’s a gardener.
“So he doesn’t necessarily know everything that’s going to happen until he writes it. Which is great and that’s why his books are so good. Unfortunately for us, as TV writers and producers, we kind of have to be architects. Because we have to write all the episodes before we shoot the season so we can plan out the entire season and for us we know where we’re going.”
WHERE IS GENDRY?
It’s been several seasons since we last saw Gendry — Robert Baratheon’s bastard son who was sent off on a row boat away from Dragonstone after he was saved by Davos Seaworth when the Lady Melisandre wanted to sacrifice him in an effort to help Stannis Baratheon’s war effort.
Gendry’s royal bloodline has many believing that he could play a part in the final war brewing between Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Taragaryen or perhaps when the White Walkers finally make their invasion into Westeros.
But where is Gendry exactly?
Well, the Game of Thrones show runners weren’t saying much, which either means Gendry is out of the story and not likely to return or they have plans for him and couldn’t give away any potential spoilers for future seasons.
“He’s still rowing,” Weiss teased. “He’s coming up on Florida. Think of the shape he’s in.”
THE BATTLE THAT NEVER WAS
Game of Thrones is now the most popular and watched show in HBO, but when the series first launched, it was a very ambitious and expensive project to produce without any notion that it would become as big as it is today.
So back then, HBO was sinking a lot of money into Game of Thrones without knowing if there was going to be a return on their investment so the show runners didn’t have a blank check to make the show however they wanted at the time.
According to Benioff, those budgetary issues back in season one actually cost them an epic battle they wanted to film involving “The Mountain” Ser Gregor Clegane and Tyrion Lannister.
“Thinking back to season one, there was supposed to be this big battle where Tyrion Lannister follows “The Mountain” into combat and we were really excited for this fight because we were going to have the camera at Peter Dinklage’s eye level and have him follow this giant Mountain into battle and frankly we just ran out of money and couldn’t do it,” Benioff said.
“That was one of the big battles from the book that we hoped we could get on screen and we never managed to do it. So that one still makes me sad.”
There’s always a special edition in the future perhaps….
KILLING OFF CHARACTERS
Game of Thrones is well known for killing off some of the most beloved characters to appear on the show, but according to the show runners, HBO has never ever dictated to them who could or couldn’t be killed.
Some other networks have famously told show runners that a certain character wasn’t expendable — like Brody on Homeland or Dexter Morgan on Dexter — but Game of Thrones has never faced that same kind of scrutiny from HBO.
In fact, Benioff says it’s exactly the opposite because HBO has been on board with everything they’ve done from the very first time the series was casting lead actors and they said they wanted Sean Bean to play Ned Stark, knowing full well that he’d be dead before the season finale.
“One of the great things about working with HBO is they don’t operate that way,” Benioff said. “I’m sure on some level they’d love to see the show carry on beyond the seasons that we’ve got planned, but they trust the people that they work with. We tell them the story ends here and there’s no real story beyond that end point, they stick with it.
“We told them in the beginning we said we wanted to hire Sean Bean to play this role and be on the poster and we want him to die in the ninth episode. That was built into the DNA of the show. People live or die, that’s all really dictated on what’s going to make the best story.”
Benioff and Weiss admitted that one of the hardest deaths to experience early on, however, was saying goodbye to Jason Momoa, who played Khal Drogo.
Much like Bean, he was added to the cast knowing that he’d be gone after 10 episodes, but it was still hard to let him go after such a powerful performance as well as the relationship he built with the entire cast and crew.
“One of the first ones was Jason Momoa, who played Khal Drogo,” Benioff said. “That was something he came into knowing he was dying at the end of the first season so it wasn’t a surprise or anything, but Jason became such a good friend of ours over the course of shooting that year and has remained a great friend of ours. So that was a heart breaker.”