Future seasons may be shorter—and that’s a good thing.
For five years, Game of Thrones has been a project of expansion: ever more characters, ever more lands, ever-bigger battles, and ever-bigger ratings. But now, the show creators might start pulling on the reigns of the behemoth that is Thrones, bringing it home while slowing it down.
“I think we’re down to our final 13 episodes after this season, ” David Benioff told Variety’s Debra Birnbaum. “We’re heading into the final lap. That’s the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, but that’s what we’re looking at.”
He added that the hypothetical finale run would be split into seasons of six and seven episodes in length—shorter than the standard annual Thrones serving of 10.
It’s a plan that recalls the profit-maximizing and often viewer-antagonizing strategy that this decade’s other major film and TV franchises have used when bringing their sagas to a close. The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight movies all divided their ultimate installments into two, and Breaking Bad and Mad Men ended their runs with two years of mini seasons. Generally, this maneuver is perceived to be driven less by the desire to tell a good story and more by the desire to give the financial stakeholders one more payday.