HBO Refused to Let GAME OF THRONES End with a Trilogy of Movies

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When the end of Game of Thrones was still a highly anticipated event rather than a very sore subject, reports said the show’s co-creators were considering ending their time in Westeros with three feature films. George R.R. Martin confirmed those rumors in 2020. But how close did David Benioff and D.B. Weiss come to actually finishing their song of ice and fire with a big screen trilogy? That’s a matter of perspective. The two have now said they really did plan to complete Game of Thrones‘ story in theaters. Only, HBO refused to let its smash hit TV show go to the movies.

Jon Snow in black and Daenerys in white in the snow on Game of Thrones
HBO

Benioff and Weiss told to The Wall Street Journal (in news we first saw at Variety) they really did want to end Game of Thrones with a trilogy of theatrical releases. The three movies would have replaced what ended up being the final two seasons of the drama. So what happened to their plans? HBO executives reminded the two showrunners Game of Thrones was a television show. Benioff said one pithy exec told them HBO stood for “Home Box Office” and not “Away Box Office.”

Good line! Tyrion-esque.

Tyrion holds up a wine glass on Game of Thrones
HBO

It’s hard to quibble with HBO for wanting its worldwide phenomenon TV show to finish its run as a TV show on HBO. Feature films also would have taken away from the weekly excitement a new season always brought. For lots of obvious reasons, though, it would have been fun to see Westeros on the biggest screen possible. Imagine Drogon in IMAX. But it’s also really hard not to wonder what might have been if we got those three movies instead of the divisive final 13 episodes that ended Game of Thrones.

They might not have been any better. A change in format would have made a difference in at least some ways, sure, but those films likely would have been remarkably similar to seasons 7 and 8. HBO gave Benioff and Weiss the same type of time and budget for the show that movies would have required.

The only thing we can safely say is that those films probably couldn’t have been any worse.