The final season of Game of Thrones promises to be one of the most ambitious undertakings ever attempted on television, but what comes next? That’s what HBO is trying to figure out, and as the network weighs the options with several competing spinoff ideas, it’s having a complicated time when it comes to crunching the numbers.
While speaking at the INTV conference (via Deadline), HBO drama chief Francesca Orsi opened up about the challenges of figuring out exactly where an eventual Game of Thrones spinoff will land on a budgeting spectrum that has ballooned with each passing season spent in Westeros. Episodes had climbed to around $10 million a piece, and that’s set to increase to around $15 million in the show’s final season. So now, HBO is tasked with figuring out exactly how much to spend on a spinoff.
“There is a conundrum if we do take off on one of these Game of Thrones spin-offs, where do we start?,” Orsi said. “We can’t obviously start with the budget of Season 8 but would it be a Game of Thrones Season 3 budget?”
It’s a fair question, and in a sense, HBO has backed itself into a corner when it comes to the lavish production values that have come to define Game of Thrones in recent years. We’ve already heard most of the spinoff ideas are largely unrelated to the current cast (though they could feature some familiar bloodlines from different eras), so not attempting to retain any of the highly-paid original cast members should certainly shave some zeros from the potential spinoff budget.
But still, making Westeros look like Westeros isn’t cheap. It involves a whole lot of CGI, and location shoots, which are expensive no matter how you slice it. Expensive or not, though, HBO will almost certainly shell out the cash in the end — because few franchises can bring in the eyeballs like Game of Thrones.