At the Golden Globes Awards Ceremony this past weekend, HBO chief Richard Plepler drew a crowd as he discussed the final season of Game of Thrones, having had the pleasure of already watching the final six episodes.
“It’s a spectacle," he said. "The guys have done six movies. The reaction I had while watching them was, ‘I’m watching a movie.'"
It's long been rumored, but not yet confirmed, that the eighth and final season of the hit series will have runtimes around 90 minutes for each of its six episodes. While this will be the shortest episode count to date, if they are each an hour and a half long, that would make them feature-length, not unlike BBC's Sherlock series.
In speaking about showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Plepler added, "They knew the bar was high. They’ve exceeded the bar. I’ve watched them twice without any CGI and I’m in awe. Everybody’s in for an extraordinary treat of storytelling and of magical, magical production.”
If Plepler is truly as impressed as he claims, that's saying something. Not only are expectations incredibly high for this coming season, but he saw the episodes without the finished effects and was still elated. That means the cuts he watched had no dragons or direwolves or magical ice breath, and that the story alone was strong enough to satisfy what's been nearly a decade of build up.
The show, based on the novels by George R. R. Martin, first premiered in April 2011, and eventually became HBO's biggest hit, surpassing even The Sopranos in viewership. It wasn't without risks, though, as it is also the most expensive show the network has ever done, and that hefty production price tag is what ended programs like Deadwood and Rome early. However, it was a gamble that paid off bigger than anyone could have expected and has now become one of the most popular premium cable shows of all time, holding a major presence in the modern pop culture lexicon. That being said, ending the show on a high note with a satisfying finale is important to cement its legacy moving forward.
Winter is here when Game of Thrones finally returns for its eighth and final season in April 2019. The HBO drama, which saw its seventh season conclude in the summer of 2017, stars Vladimír Furdík as the Night King, as well as Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Kit Harington as Jon Snow and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen.