Game of Thrones is one of the most monumental TV shows of all time at this point, regardless of latter-day fan backlashes, and the franchise will likely stay afloat at HBO in various forms for as long as audiences keep faithfully turning up for it. Still, the overarching goal to create more Thrones projects hasn't been enough to convince HBO's execs to completely remake the final season, a concept that was first floated out there by a widespread fan petition.
While speaking at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour about the many different projects coming down the pipeline for HBO, the network's president of programming Casey Bloys was asked about the intense reactions and criticism laid against Game of Thrones and its contested showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for the final season. Referencing the fan petition, Bloys said this:
There are very few downsides to having a hugely popular show. One I can think of, when you try to end it, many people have opinions on how to end it. I think that comes with the territory. The petition shows a lot of enthusiasm and passion for the show, but it wasn’t something we seriously considered. I can’t imagine another network would.
Realistically, I can't imagine what would have had to happen in order to make Casey Bloys and everyone else at HBO agree to completely recreate the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones. The producers would need to actually find writers/showrunners willing to reconfigure the various plotlines and story threads that were left over from Season 7.
Then, they'd need to gather as many returning actors as possible, knowing that some likely would refuse to return to that well. (While others might be more than willing to give their characters a more satisfactory conclusion.) Add to that the near-endless list of other crew member needed – from set decorators to costume designers to stunt coordinators – and a whole new round of marketing.
All that, and HBO's execs would still be running the risk of inciting yet another fandom backlash with that revised final season. In an industry where guarantees are this few and far between, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for HBO to put that much extended effort into appeasing a minority group within the overall fanbase.
The petition was signed by around 1.7 million fans, which is impressive, to be sure. However, that isn't even close to the more-than-11 million viewers who tuned into the final season on average. So until there's a much bigger reason to rock the Game of Thrones Season 8 boat again in the near future, I think fans should now consider this a closed case.
Ten years ago, it might have seemed ridiculous that this conversation would need to happen, considering online fandoms didn't quite have the means and methods to inspire the kind of far-reaching chaos that social media has allowed. Times have changed, though, and the years to come will likely have more and more network execs explaining why they didn't choose to follow the whims of Twitter and Reddit users.
Even if at least 1.7 million fans were displeased with what Game of Thrones had to offer in Season 8, that opinion wasn't shared by the majority of the TV Academy members, seeing as how the HBO epic roped in the most Emmy nominations of its entire run. (Plus, I'm pretty sure everyone at Bill Hader's Barry appreciates Game of Thrones for the killer lead-in ratings.)
Currently, fans are somewhat patiently waiting to see what comes of HBO's upcoming Game of Thrones prequel pilot, with Naomi Watts as the lead. Not much is known about the project yet, beyond the fact that it exists many, many years before the Game of Thrones timeline, allowing for more historical storytelling about familiar elements, such as the white walkers. Stay tuned to learn more about that project, and about George R.R. Martin's final Song of Ice and Fire novels, assuming they ever get released.