One of the strange aspects of Game of Thrones' final season was it being just six episodes long, shorter than the 10-episode runs of the first six seasons. What was originally planned for the polarizing season, George R.R. Martin told German publication Welt, is even stranger.
"David Benioff and Dan Weiss," the HBO hit's showrunners, "wanted to finish the saga with three movies after season 7," Martin said to the publication in an interview, translated by Reddit user mellycafe. "Game of Thrones was supposed to end in cinema. It was seriously discussed four to five years ago."
Martin explained that HBO put the kibosh on that idea, reasoning that it's in the TV business -- not the movie business. Even HBO-produced films like Deadwood: The Movie, Martin noted, are made to be shown on TV, not in theaters.
Benioff actually talked about this possibility in 2012, telling Entertainment Weekly during the filming of season 3 that "we have a very generous budget from HBO, but we know what's coming down the line and, ultimately, it's not generous enough."
In other words, the idea behind concluding the show in the theaters was to secure a Hollywood blockbuster budget that would allow Benioff and Weiss to end Thrones in a sufficiently spectacular fashion. It turns out the show didn't need to hit cinemas: Plenty of criticism has been aimed at the season 8, but it certainly wasn't short on big-budget spectacle.
As for Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, the two remaining books to be released in the Song of Fire and Ice saga, Martin again said the books would diverge from the show. "People know an ending," Martin said to the Welt, "Not the ending."
These comments are. "How will it all end?" Martin wrote, "the same ending as the show? Different? Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes."