George R.R. Martin is a notoriously slow writer. When it was first announced that his epic A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels would be transformed into the HBO series Game of Thrones, it was perhaps naively assumed that there would be plenty of time for him to finish up the final two manuscripts in his planned seven book series. But even Martin has admitted that the show is catching up to him at a frightening speed, as the years between his books have been getting longer and longer.
Time hasn't run out yet, but with the show moving at an alarming pace, producers need ideas for any number of scenarios. One of those contingency plans may in fact include feature films; apparently, the possibility of multiple Game of Thrones movies is being actively discussed.
At the season four premiere in New York, Martin told THR that there was a distinct possibility that Game of Thrones could conclude with one or more feature films.
"It all depends on how long the main series runs. Do we run for seven years? Do we run for eight? Do we run for 10? The books get bigger and bigger (in scope). It might need a feature to tie things up, something with a feature budget, like $100 million for two hours. Those dragons get real big you know."
THR also pointed out that Warner Bros. would be the most probable studio to embark upon the task, considering their experience with HBO content, having released both of the Sex and the City movies and the upcoming Entourage feature. Martin also discussed the possibility of a prequel film that would cover some of his smaller novellas, which take place 90 years before the events in A Song of Ice and Fire and feature ancestors of the now beloved characters.
Co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have already said that they hope to wrap the series up in season 7 or 8, but let's do some math here. Season 4 will cover the second half of book three, and even dip a bit into some elements from books four and five. Books four and five in the series, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, have story arcs that occur concurrently in the series' universe. A Dance with Dragons is roughly of a similar length to book three, A Storm of Swords.
That means that even if this upcoming season delves into story lines from books 4 and 5, those two novels alone could merit at least two, possibly three more seasons. That takes us up through season 6 or 7, but still leaves the upcoming The Winds of Winter and the final A Dream of Spring. That's two whole - most likely large - novels to fit into a final one or two seasons. Benioff and Weiss have said that they don't want to overstay their welcome, but with this potential timeline they're looking at closer to nine or ten seasons, putting the once 11-year-old Maisie Williams at 21 years old when the show finally concludes. Aging child actors is something that HBO definitely wants to avoid.
That's where the possibility of a final film comes in, though it's doubtful that a feature-length movie could cover the entirety of one of Martin's extensive novels. Fans of the show don't want an extended hiatus, and fans of the novels naturally want to read the story's conclusion before they watch it on TV or at the theater; yet the likelihood that he'll finish the books before the show is looking mighty grim. Thankfully, Martin has given Benioff and Weiss an idea of the direction in which the novels are headed, and how he'd like the story to end, in case they have to take matters into their own hands.
Honestly, a feature film with a gigantic budget might be the perfect way to end the grand fantasy. The show has always been able to pull off better than average CGI, but with those dragons growing ever larger, an effects house like ILM or Peter Jackson's WETA team - who created the titular dragon for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - could really give the series the finale it deserves.
Then again, that's assuming Martin stays on track, which suffice it to say, hasn't happened once in his writing career. He's not even positive that book 7 will be the last in the series. Looks like he might be buying Maisie Williams a drink before he finishes.
Season 4 of Game of Thrones premieres April 6 on HBO.
Follow Casey on Twitter @CaseyCip
Source: The Hollywood Reporter