Credit: HBO

With the news that HBO’s Game of Thrones might end sooner than any of us are prepared to accept, the question then shifts to: “What about a spin-off?”

As EW reported Thursday, Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have proposed capping the series at 73 hours, with a final 13 episodes split between seasons 7 and 8. This idea is far from official at this point and things could still change. But even the specter of the extremely popular and financially successful series concluding raises the obvious prospect of continuing the franchise in some form — it’s very tough to imagine the entire world of Westeros simply vanishing like Gendry.

But as of right now, all sides say there is nothing in the works … yet.

“No,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo tells EW. “If that were to happen it would have to come from [Benioff and Weiss] really feeling something, or [author George R.R. Martin] really feeling that it was the right thing to do. Not knowing how this particular story ends, I don’t know. There are plenty of characters, secondary characters, [that] you could build a world around. We’re always going to be drawn to a strong creative vision. But we are not going to do that unless we feel their passion.”

The showrunners previously noted that characters in Martin’s world were strong enough, at least in theory, to support their own separate narrative. “We could easily write a show about just, say, Bronn [Jerome Flynn] — The Bronn Show,” Benioff said when making season 3. “We could do a great half-hour comedy with Sam [John Bradley] and Gilly [Hannah Murray]. It’s an embarrassment of riches. There are so many great characters and you want to spend more time with them.”

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And Martin certainly has reams of world-building source material amid his published works that could potentially be mined — from the era of Old Valyria, to the story of Robert’s Rebellion, to Martin’s Hedge Knight spin-off novellas.

But when asked recently about the topic, the showrunners say producing Thrones is so all-consuming that a spin-off is not something they have seriously considered. “No, we don’t talk about that stuff,” Weiss tells EW. “The job at hand is too enormous and challenging to be further diffusing ourselves by thinking about spin-offs, and theme park rides, and ice ballets … but if anybody has a good pitch for a good Game of Thrones ice ballet, let us know.”

Sure, we’ll take a shot at a title for that: Winter is Coming: A Ballet of Ice and Fire.

For more on season 6, follow @jameshibberd for ongoing GoT coverage, sign up for our Thrones email newsletter, bookmark this page for the latest GoT stories, and subscribe now to our season 6 podcast. Preview:

Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 24.

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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