James Hibberd
January 11, 2018 AT 07:30 PM EST

On the heels of HBO’s recent confirmation that Game of Thrones won’t return for its final season until 2019, the network’s top programming boss is explaining the reason for the extra-long wait.

Casey Bloys told EW that — as fans have suspected — showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss wanted the extra time to craft the strongest final six episodes possible.

“Here’s what I’ll tell you: They take the time they need to do the show at its highest level of quality. As the show has gone on, it’s gotten bigger — big battle scenes, big special effects,” Bloys said. “These things take time. Here’s the one thing I can assure you: Dan and Dave were not sitting around on a beach waiting to go back to work. They’re perfectionists and this is the soonest it can come back at a level of quality that they are comfortable with.”

We also asked Bloys about the five Game of Thrones prequels in development. Are any close to being ordered to pilot?

“They’re moving along,” he says. “We have some really talented writers working on them. The one thing I will tell you, which we talked about before, any sort of pilot-to-series [order], there’s not going to be anything on our air for a least a year after Game of Thrones airs. We’re not using the final season to launch a new show or anything like that. There’s going to be a separation between the two. These are among the best writers working and I’m hopeful.”

Here’s everything we know about the GoT prequels so far.

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