Several years ago, the showrunners of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” had teased that they originally wanted to end the series with three theatrically-released films. The plan was that HBO could pay for six hours’ worth of films and earn some cashback from the no doubt large box office earnings that would come with it.
Instead, showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss scored essentially whatever budget they wanted to deliver that final season in the form of six extra-long episodes to finish off the story. They did, in the process delivered one of the most infamous seasons of TV of the modern era.
In a new interview with Welt (via io9), author George R.R. Martin spoke about the original plan and revealed that it wasn’t concern over the cost of creating the films that caused HBO to scrap the idea. Rather, he says, the network simply had little interest in any sort of theatrical release.
“Those responsible said: ‘we produce TV series, we are not in the cinema business, and when HBO does make movies, like now with the film that is based on the ‘Deadwood’ series, they only produce it to show it on TV – not in the cinema. Everything is changing right now. What is cinema today? What is television? What is streaming? Is Netflix making cinema or television now? Everything mixes up.”
Indeed, many of the serious players in this film awards season essentially bypassed almost all cinemas and debuted on Netflix, while more and more cinema-level television is being produced every week by various outlets.
Whether a film trilogy would’ve avoided the vocal backlash the show’s final six episodes scored isn’t clear. In any case, Martin himself has yet to reveal the ending for his novel series and will make it quite different from what the show delivered.