Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss previously told EW they wanted to cap the hit series at 73 hours, with seven episodes this year and six in an eighth (and final) season thereafter. But HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys told EW that the GoT bosses are still mulling over how many episodes will air during that final season.
“They’re still figuring out the shape of the season, what they want to do,” Bloys said. “I’ll take as many as they want to do. If they give me eight, I’ll want 10. But it’s really up to them. They’ll let me know.”
HBO is also talking to writers about a possible Thrones prequel series. “It’s such a big property we would be foolish not to explore it, but it’s a pretty high bar,” he said. “We’ll take some shots at it. I’m not going to do it just to do it. It has to feel very special. I would rather have no sequel and leave it as-is then have something we rushed out.”
Bloys noted that a prequel seems more likely than a spin-off that uses existing characters. “A prequel feels like it has less pressure on it [than a spin-off],” he said “[Author George R.R. Martin’s history of Westeros] gives you areas in which to say to a writer, ‘If you were going to do this, then go flesh it out,’ and we’ll see what comes back. But I don’t feel any pressure that we have to have something.”
In the meantime, fans will have to wait a bit longer for season 7, which will return this summer instead of in April, because production needed to start later to film in more wintery locales. Thrones is currently finishing up shooting in Iceland.
The push means Game of Thrones is no longer in contention for Emmy nominations in 2017 after scoring 23 nods in 2016. In its sixth season, Thrones also broke HBO rating records once again, with episodes averaging more than 23 million viewers, including streaming, repeats, and DVR playback.