Credit: HBO

The reign will continue: HBO is readying another two seasons of Game of Thrones.

The network is deep in talks to bring back the Emmy-winning fantasy hit for a seventh and eighth season, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told EW at the network’s Television Critics Association press tour party in Pasadena on Thursday night.

The show is not expected to have, we’re told, a seventh final season that’s split across two years — a scenario popularized by The Sopranos and Breaking Bad and frequently speculated as the most likely outcome for the intensely serialized series.

The move will presumably involve new deals for the cast (at least, for those whose characters survive the next two seasons) as the show’s talent is only optioned through seven seasons at this point.

The news comes on the heels of HBO announcing that season 6 of the hit series will premiere on April 24.

Thrones award-winning showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have frequently stated they hope the show will conclude after the seventh season, citing their ultra-secret, long-term creative game plan for the show that’s based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin. Season 6 marks a major turning point in the show as the narrative will entirely surpass the storylines in the books.

Last summer, Lombardo said Benioff and Weiss had discussed ending the show after eight seasons. “Obviously we’re shooting six now, hopefully discussing seven. [They] feel like there’s two more years after six,” he said. “I would always love for them to change their minds, but that’s what we’re looking at right now.”

There is no word on whether the eighth season will be the end of the show either, with Lombardo having previously told reporters he wanted “at least” eight seasons.

Episode Recaps

Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.

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