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Game of Thrones almost ended as a movie trilogy, George R.R. Martin reveals

By James Comtois
(Helen Sloan/HBO)

While we play the “What If…?” game with Colin Trevorrow’s unproduced version of Star Wars: Episode IX (and also wait for that “What If…?” series from Marvel), why don’t we play said game with Game of Thrones, now that George R.R. Martin has given fans an alternate idea of what could have been?

The author of the A Song of Ice and Fire books on which Game of Thrones was based recently revealed that the original plan was to conclude the epic saga with a series of feature films to be screened in movie theatres. However, the powers that be at HBO nixed that idea.

Speaking with the Germany-based news outlet Welt, Martin said series showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss “wanted to end” the series with three feature films “after the seventh season.” In the interview, which was originally published in German, he explained that this plan for a movie trilogy was seriously discussed “four or five years ago.”

But because the higher-ups at the premium cable network said they were in the business of making TV shows, not movies, they ultimately decided against it. (Even though their slogan is “It’s Not TV. It’s HBO.”) But even Martin wonders what the distinction is, given that HBO makes movies like Deadwood and that Netflix also produces feature films for its streaming platform. (It's also curious to consider given that four of the six episodes in the final season had runtimes that were nearly feature-film length.)

Regardless of the validity of HBO’s argument, the series ultimately went in a different direction (and as Martin notes in the interview, HBO owns the rights to the series, so it’s not like he can entice some visionary director like Guillermo del Toro or Quentin Tarantino to helm some epic GoT trilogy). And for now, Martin has other things on his plate, including developing a Game of Thrones prequel series and a sci-fi drama series based on Nnedi Okorafo’s novel Who Fears Death, both for HBO.

He also swears that Winter is coming. (We haven't forgotten, sir.)