It might not sit well with fans of the show or of the epic-length books upon which it is based, but Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are apparently considering shortened episode runs for the show’s final seasons. While the upcoming sixth season, debuting April 24 on HBO, will have the usual 10 episodes, under consideration is a plan that would see season six followed with just 13 more episodes split between season seven and a concluding season eight.
Talk of a shortened episode run, made in an interview with Variety, is however still premature according to HBO; while a further two-season pickup has been among the possibilities for the series, no decision has been made as to how the show will end. “Any conversations about the end of Game of Thrones and the number of episodes of future seasons is purely speculative,” the network said in a statement. “As is customary, HBO will sit with Dan and David to discuss the details once a decision has been made to go forward with season 7.”
If it happens, a shortened episode run may be a result of the show having outpaced the novel series. The first five seasons were based on the first five books but author George R.R. Martin was unable to complete the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, before work started on season six and to date the book still has no release date. As a result the show is now charting its own course, based in part on notes from Martin.