[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Season 8 of “Game of Thrones.”]
“There are very few downsides of having a hugely popular show,” said HBO President Casey Bloys at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday, when the first questions reporters asked were about the backlash to “Game of Thrones.” “That just comes with the territory. It shows a lot of enthusiasm.”
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The season came under fire for its odd pacing, filler scenes, underdeveloped characterizations, and other egregious blunders onscreen. The final betrayal, however, came in the massive heel turn and eventual murder of prominent protagonist Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). Fans were so displeased that they started an online petition to reshoot the final season, one that has earned nearly 1.7 million signatures to date.
Despite this enthusiasm, HBO is not inspired. “It’s not something we seriously considered,” said Bloys. “I can’t imagine another network would [be tempted either]. But who knows?”
He also said that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss pretty much were allowed to do whatever they wanted to with the final season with very little HBO oversight or input. “When it’s in its sixth, seventh, eighth season, a highly successful show … there’s a rhythm between showrunners and the network. There’s minimal back and forth,” he said. “‘Silicon Valley’ is doing their final season right now and they have a really good handle on [what they want to do]. It’s not like we’re all over them.”
Besides, HBO has no incentive to do so, since the final season earned a whopping 32 Emmy nominations. “[It’s] certainly nice validation. I didn’t dance, but I did enjoy it,” admitted Bloys.
As for the three actors – Gwendoline Christie, Alfie Allen, and Carice van Houten – who had submitted their own names for Emmys consideration when HBO failed to do so, Bloys was unfazed. The network hires experts to work with the showrunners to decide whose names to submit. With anywhere from 26-28 series regulars, the fear is that submitting too many names will cancel out the show’s chances overall by splitting votes.
“Ultimately, if someone decides to submit on their own, we’ll help them,” he said. “It was the first time that people self-nominated [on the show], and they got nominated, so I think it’s great.”
Those nominations don’t necessarily need to end with the end of that show either. The prequel by Jane Goldman and director S.J. Clarkson set during the Age of Heroes has finished filming in Belfast, Ireland.
“Shooting has wrapped. I’m excited about the footage that we saw with the cast,” he said and added that the show is currently in the editing phase. “We haven’t seen it yet, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Bloys would not address the status of any other proposed prequels or spinoffs.