The final season of Game of Thrones will be upon us in 2019, and fans will no doubt savor each episode. But there was a time when the team behind author George R. R. Martin and HBO's landmark fantasy series felt like their audience would have to consume the final arc in a much different format than television.
According to an exclusive Entertainment Weekly report on the final season, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss originally thought that the only way to give the final season the scale it deserved was to turn it into a series of films that would have received a theatrical release.
At the beginning of the series, each episode cost around $5 million to make, but Benioff said at the time, "We have a very generous budget from HBO, but we know what's coming down the line and, ultimately, it's not generous enough." What's coming is a huge battle that rivals anything fans have seen yet.
Because of this, the duo thought that turning the final season into three theatrical films, each one clocking in at two hours in length, would be the only way they could secure the funding they'd need to make the season worth it for fans.
"It's what we're working towards in a perfect world," said Weiss. "We end up with an epic fantasy story but with the level of familiarity and investment in the characters that are normally impossible in a two-hour movie."
HBO wasn't necessarily keen to the idea, but they promised Benioff and Weiss that the two would have the funding they'd need to give Game of Thrones its proper "summer tentpole-size spectacle" send-off.
Now, the showrunners have been given $15 million an episode in exchange for a shorter eighth, final season. "They put their money where their mouths are--literally stuff their mouths full of million dollar bills, which don't exist anymore," said Weiss.