With the fourth season of HBO's "Game of Thrones" now in the rear view mirror, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently sat down with EW to talk about their plans for the fifth season.
The new season will be "drawing heavily" from the fourth and fifth novels in George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novel saga. The pair indicate that next year could be the show's biggest to date:
"After finishing season 3, we were nervous about season 4. We'd been looking forward to the Red Wedding for so long that once we shot it, we feared everything beyond that would seem like an anti-climax.
We grew less nervous when we outlined season 4, less nervous still when we wrote the episodes, and all nervousness evaporated when we saw the directors' cuts and knew we had a great season in hand.
For season 5, again, the fear started to dissipate when we outlined it and realized how much story we had to tell. Now that we're nearly finished with the first drafts of each episode, we see no reason why the coming season shouldn't be the strongest yet."
The pair feel that this past season has essentially been the "midpoint" of the show where the constantly expanding universe has now started to contract. That "doesn't mean we won't meet any new characters in season 5, because we will. But it's going to start to shrink for sure."
They say they have talked to Martin extensively about where he's going with the books, and will continue to do so. This year they also started talking about the very end of the show.
They confirm the news in a recent casting breakdown that we'll see parts of Prince Oberyn's home Dorne in the new season, likely making up some of the scenes to be shot in Spain this year. They also talked about two of the smaller but key players of the 'game' - namely Littlefinger and Varys - and where they are headed in the upcoming season (SEASON 4 SPOILERS AHEAD):
"Littlefinger has been open with a few people about what he wants: Varys, Sansa, a few prostitutes, us. He wants everything. He wants to sit on that throne. By necessity, his path there will be twisted and indirect. But everything he does in some way points to that goal.
As for Varys: Early in the season, when speaking with Tyrion, Varys claims to be concerned primarily with self preservation. At the end of the season, though, his actions prove otherwise. He throws away the entire life he's built for himself in King's Landing to save Tyrion's life. Now what? ... 'Now what?' will become eminently clear in season 5."
The pair say they've no interest in doing a possible spin-off prequel should it come to fruition, saying:
"We have not talked about that. This is like three full-time jobs. The idea of trying to develop something in addition to that in this world wouldn't make sense at this point. If that happens, it's up to HBO and George. It's not something I would be a part of. We're interested in A Song of Ice and Fire."
The fifth season of "Game of Thrones" goes into production next month ahead of a late March/early April 2015 premiere.