Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have had to develop thick skins in the past seven seasons. They've stayed true to their plans for the series, through both praise and (sometimes heated) backlash, and despite HBO surely dangling plenty of carrots in front of them to keep the show going past Season 8. They know the story they want to tell. That doesn't meant they don't care what fans think. In fact, they just admitted they both care deeply and also worry about the response to the six-episode series finale. Weiss said he's crossing his fingers for a reaction similar to what Breaking Bad got when it ended:
We want people to love it. It matters a lot to us. We've spent 11 years doing this. We also know no matter what we do, even if it's the optimal version, that a certain number of people will hate the best of all possible versions. There is no version where everybody says, 'I have to admit, I agree with every other person on the planet that this is the perfect way to do this' -- that's an impossible reality that doesn't exist. I'm hoping for the Breaking Bad [finale] argument where it's like, 'Is that an A or an A+?'
So Dan Weiss doesn't want the finale to end with Jesse Pinkman driving off to his own movie spinoff, but he's hoping to copy Breaking Bad's finale on the reaction front. That's smart. AMC's Breaking Bad has become a modern standard for how to stick the landing. Game of Thrones would be fortunate to end up sparking an A or A+ debate from fans.
But at least the showrunners know what they want to do, and they're not reworking things on the fly. This is not a show about fan service, but Game of Thrones fans love the show for its characters and epic storytelling. Many of us started with George R.R. Martin's books. If the TV adaptation ends up disappointing fans, the showrunners aren't going to just shrug it off. As David Benioff noted:
From the beginning we've talked about how the show would end. A good story isn't a good story if you have a bad ending. Of course we worry.
David Benioff also shared his plans for watching the Game of Thrones series finale, which will air on May 19:
I plan to be very drunk, and very far from the internet.
He drinks and he knows things! Tyrion would approve. It's kind of surprising to hear D&D talk about worrying what fans think, since they have been so stoic and stalwart in the face of any fan backlash over the years. But this is it, and they want to secure a great legacy for this series.
Entertainment Weekly has a new cover story sharing tons of details on the final season, including a breakdown of the Battle of Winterfell, which put more than 20 cast members through 11 weeks of night shoots. It's reportedly the longest battle sequence in cinema history, and it's directed by "Hardhome" and "Battle of the Bastards" director Miguel Sapochnik. That's an episode everyone will be talking about. But there's more to come in the final season than that.
David Nutter directed three of the final six episodes, and he seems confident fans will be happy with the entire final season:
The fans will not be let down. There are a lot of firsts in these episodes. There's the funniest sequence I've ever shot on this show, the most emotional and compelling scene I've ever shot, and there's one scene where there's so many [major characters] together it feels like you're watching a superhero movie.
Fans are still on standby for the official Game of Thrones final season trailer, even though we only have just over a month left until the Season 8 premiere airs Sunday, April 14. Feels like that trailer should be coming soon. There are only six episodes, with the finale airing Sunday, May 19. That night, millions of fans will have their verdicts on the finale -- whether it's an A/A+ like Breaking Bad, or something more like what they did with Dexter. In the meantime, keep up with everything air on TV with our 2019 midseason TV guide.