With production still under way on the final season of HBO's Game of Thrones, new details have emerged about the highly-anticipated final episode and the spin-offs being planned for the future. It has previously been confirmed that there are five separate shows in development, with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin working with writers Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) and Carly Wray (Mad Men), with each show set before the events of the flagship series. While no plot details have been given for any of these shows thus far, HBO's senior vice president of drama, Francesca Orsi, revealed that the budget for these impending series will be massive.
"$50 million (per season) would never fly for what we are trying to do. We are going big. It feels like corporate malfeasance to not continue it."
Game of Thrones creators/ showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will not be involved in the spin-off shows, and there is no indication yet as to how many of these shows will in fact be picked up. HBO programming president Casey Bloys has indicated in the past that he thinks there may be only one of these five shows that will move forward to series, but it's still too early to tell at this point. While speaking at "The Best of HBO" panel at the INTV conference in Israel earlier today, Orsi also revealed that HBO recently held the last table read for the final episodes of Game of Thrones with the entire cast, hinting that there will be quite a few deaths in the last episodes.
"(The table read) was a really powerful moment in our lives and our careers. None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started to fall down to their deaths. By the end, the last few words on the final script, the tears just started falling down. Then there was applause that lasted 15 minutes."
Orsi wouldn't state which characters died in the final episodes, or how many episodes this table read included. While this final season will be the "shortest" yet, with just six episodes, as opposed to last year's seven-episode season and the previous six seasons that spanned 10 episodes, each of these six episodes are rumored to be feature-length. Production started back in September, and is expected to last until this summer, with the production lasting a few more months than the typical six-month shoot for a 10-episode season.
Season 8 won't debut on HBO until sometime in 2019, making this year the first since the show debuted in 2011 that there will be a full calendar year without Game of Thrones. You can head on over to The Hollywood Reporter for their full report on the HBO panel at the INTV conference.