With the second-to-last season of Game of Thrones set to premiere in July, HBO has shared some more details about the prequel spin-off that will follow the series' Season 8 conclusion.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, HBO president of programming Casey Bloys said, "Making Game of Thrones as good as possible is the Number One goal, and then we'll see about these [spin-off] scripts. You're not going to see a situation where the next show in the Thrones universe launches off the back of this one."
In early May, HBO revealed plans to develop four spin-off series for continuing George R. R. Martin's saga, with Oscar-winning screenwriter Brian Hegleland among those leading the writing staff that is in collaboration with Martin.
However, while initial reports stated that HBO planned as many as four Game of Thrones spin-offs, Bloys clarified the network is weighing now-five possible ideas as the foundation for the prequel, but more than likely only one spin-off series would make it to air.
"The bar set… is so high that my hope is to get one show that lives up to it," Bloys said, adding that the series would be a prequel and not something that follows the Season 8 storyline.
As HBO previously announced, Game of Thrones' longtime show-runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff would step back into an executive producer role on the spin-off, but now it's unlikely that duo will contribute at all to the upcoming series.
"In conversations with them, they feel if their name is on the prequels — even in a passive way — it conveys some sort of expectation or responsibility," Bloys said. "They want to enjoy the show as fans and don’t want to worry about the scripts or production issues. We were hoping to have their names on it out of respect for them, but we understand why they don't want that."
Game of Thrones' Season 7 premieres July 16th, but Bloys warned the final season of the series might not debut until late 2018 at the earliest, or possibly even 2019.