EXCLUSIVE: While millions will be tuning in to watch the Game of Thrones finale Sunday night that they wrote and directed which decides once and for all who sits on the Iron Throne and rules Westeros, Deadline hears David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have six studios waiting on a cliffhanger over what they do next. Those companies are vying to be the place where the duo next creates, writes, directs and produces film and television projects going forward.
Deadline hears that Benioff and Weiss have met with six big media companies that want the duo to sign an overall global deal with them for film, TV and streaming projects. They’ve met with HBO/WarnerMedia, Disney, Comcast, as well as the streaming companies Netflix, Amazon and Apple.
They have ties to several of these companies, and won’t rush into a decision, I’m told. After all, when they created Game of Thrones based on the George RR Martin novels, the show took off so quickly that the duo has focused solely on it for the past decade. They plowed past the plot blueprint established by Martin’s early novels and in later seasons have taken the story beyond the author’s narrative.
While they are aligned to create, write and produce one of the next Star Wars trilogies (Rian Johnson is doing his own, with others in the works), they want to be more prolific but they don’t want to be a factory like some of the producers with huge TV-centric deals. I’m sure finding another big TV followup to Game of Thrones will be a major priority; but being able to take advantage of this new multi-platform landscape is also a priority.
No one can fault their strategy of having concentrated solely on GoT: they’ve won the Prime Time Emmy for Best Drama the last three years the show was eligible, for a drama that went against the binge-ing release strategy of streaming rivals, and remained the strongest water cooler chatter zeitgeist show through its run, with a finale that will shatter ratings that have been sky high for this final season.
They’ve met with the principals across all the platforms at all six major companies. They have relationships at many of these places. The Star Wars films are at Disney and LucasFilm, while Benioff wrote for Universal and Donna Langley a Kurt Cobain project, and they are poised to adapt the prison break tale Dirty White Boys for Emma Watts at Fox. They both have movies ties pre-GoT at Warner Bros, where Benioff scripted Troy and Weiss did script work on Poseidon. The longstanding relationship at HBO is also a very strong one.
Those meetings were set up before the WGA order for writers to fire their agents. I’m told that Benioff & Weiss adhered to the WGA’s Working Rule 23 and terminated CAA in connection with all Guild covered services and that they will be represented by their longtime lawyer Gretchen Rush on the deal. CAA continues to represent them as directors.