Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss have confirmed that there are only a maximum of 15 episodes of the fantasy drama left, meaning the show will end after two more shortened series.
According to the writers, the finale of series six has set the board for the ‘end game’, meaning that they only need 13-15 hours more to finish the story without unnecessarily “padding it out to add an extra 10 hours.” “[We want to] get out at a high point,” Weiss told Deadline, “and not have it be, ‘well thank god that’s over’.”
“From pretty close to the beginning, we talked about doing this in 70-75 hours,” continues Benioff, “and that’s what we’ll end up with. Call it 73 for now. We’re trying to tell one cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end.
“We’ve known the end for quite some time and we’re hurtling towards it. Those last images from the show that aired [on Monday] night showed that. Daenerys is finally coming back to Westeros; Jon Snow is king of the North and Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne. And we know the Night King is up there, waiting for all of them. The pieces are on the board now. Some of the pieces have been removed from the board and we are heading toward the end game.”
The confirmation follows a quote from director Jack Bender (who helmed The Door), who let slip that next year’s series will only feature seven episodes. If that’s true, then season eight may only consist of six to eight episodes.
Of course, this could all change – depending on HBO or a late change of creative direction – but it sounds Benioff and Weiss know what they’re doing. After all, David Simon did the same with The Wire series five, signing off the show with only as many episodes as it needed to finish neatly. And, fewer episodes or not, it would be better to see Game of Thrones go out with bang than a whimper.