UPDATED: With Game of Thrones scoring record ratings and 16 Emmy nominations for its third season, the bar is set very high for next year. But showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss tell EW.com that season four will be the best yet.
“It’s the toughest production schedule we’ve ever had,” Benioff said in the EW.com interview suite at Comic-Con on Friday — videos below. “We got more action, which is obviously more time consuming. It’s a brutal shooting season ahead. But if we can make it through, yeah, I think it’s going to surpass season three. The last 3 episodes, there’s so many scenes we’ve been waiting for so long to do. And it just gets more and more fun to write for these characters. After three years of doing it, we have that much more comfort to make everything uncomfortable for them. We’re very excited for it. Season five gives me nightmares, but [not season four].”
Benioff’s comments were echoed by star Peter Dinklage, who was nominated for a best supporting actor Emmy earlier this week. “I just finished reading the scripts, and the scripts these guys have turned out are my favorite so far of the whole series,” he says.
“They are amazing,” agreed co-star and fellow nominee Emilia Clarke.
UPDATE #1: Thrones Comic-Con panel just finished and included a great video saluting fallen characters. Here are five highlights from the panel with the cast and showrunners.
1. Jason Momoa! A grizzled ex-Drogo shows up and plants a big kiss on Emilia Clarke. “I was hoping for shirtless,” quipped showrunner Dan Weiss. “My sun and stars,” counter-quipped Emilia Clarke. “I see dead people,” triple-quipped the moderator.
2. I didn’t know this: The producers originally considered making that Lannister anthem “The Rains of Castamere” the Game of Thrones opening credits theme song. But Weiss convinced fellow showunner David Benioff to give composer Ramin Djawadi a shot to create something original and catchy.
3. Star Peter Dinklage was asked about his riveting scenes with Charles Dance, who plays his cold and scheming father on the show. “He gives me a nice shoulder rub after each take, to make sure we still love one another as a fellow thespian,” Dinklage says. He adds that Tyrion can mouth-off about Joffrey because “he knows his father is the true ruler and that he feels the same way about Joffrey that [Tyrion does], he just doesn’t say it.”
4. Fans were treated to a great deleted scene between Tywin and Pycelle (Julian Glover). Tywin calls him out on his flustered old man act. Pycelle explains he’s just trying to keep his position on the Small Council and not appear threatening.
5. Thrones author George R.R. Martin says he feels urgency to finish his books to keep pace with the show: “The locomotive is coming up behind me and I’m still laying the tracks.” After finishing his current Song of Ice and Fire saga he left open the possibility of writing more novels set in the world of Westeros — but not a direct Thrones prequel set during Robert’s Rebellion.
UPDATE #2: Here’s the Thrones team talking to EW.com: