Game of Thrones will rage on for at least eight seasons, says HBO programming president Michael Lombardo – despite claims from showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss that they were only interested in creating seven.
"'Seven seasons and out' has never been the conversation," Lombardo said Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, according to the L.A. Times. "The question is how much beyond seven are we going to do. [Benioff and Weiss] feel like there's two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds."
This eight-season minimum differs from Benioff and Weiss' previous statements on the subject. "If we're going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, Season Four is right down the middle, the pivot point," Benioff told Entertainment Weekly last year. "I would say it's the goal we've had from the beginning. It was our unstated goal, because to start on a show and say your goal is seven seasons is the height of lunacy. Once we got to the point where we felt like we're going to be able to tell this tale to its conclusion, that became [an even clearer] goal. Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven seasons. It feels right to us."
Lombardo also told critics that he's interested in a Thrones prequel. "I would be open to anything Dan and David want to do," he said. "It really would depend fully on what they want to do.... There's enormous storytelling to be mined in a prequel. We haven’t had any conversations."
The exec also discussed the fate of fan favorite Jon Snow (SPOILER ALERT). Snow appeared to be fatally stabbed in June's Season Five finale, but since the episode, there has been rampant speculation that the character either didn't die or will return from the dead. The HBO boss adamantly explained, "Dead is dead is dead is dead. He be dead. Yes. Everything I've seen and heard and read, Jon Snow is indeed dead."