Pablo Puig, Staff Writer
Much like the undead once in its spotlight, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” seems unable or unwilling to stay down. The end of October brought about several developments for the franchise, though these are limited to the screen; aside from vague comments by George R. R. Martin, author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels that inspired “Game of Thrones,” there is no certainty on the next book’s release date.
But the lack of clear direction didn’t seem to deter showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss from bringing a much-criticized conclusion to the series. Speaking candidly at the Austin Film Festival on Oct. 26, their remarks were promptly wildly misrepresented by “Game of Thrones” fans apparently determined to believe the worst of them. Nevertheless, the discussion’s transcript and recording are not especially reassuring, either. The duo acknowledged that their inexperience writing television and adapting literature led to production complications; an unaired pilot is said to have been mostly reshot and critical missteps were only noticed mid-production, among other wrinkles. Between these and issues specifically related to adaptation, such as genre-subverting content and ongoing source material, hindsight suggests the remarkable quality and success of “Game of Thrones” was borderline miraculous.
Considering the show’s shoddy foundations and controversial finale, it is no surprise that both franchise and showrunners now face setbacks. News broke in late October that a prequel series, set millennia before the original and starring Naomi Watts, had been cancelled. Only a day prior, it was announced that Benioff and Weiss would no longer be involved with an upcoming “Star Wars” film trilogy. Still, prospects are not wholly bleak. Of the many prequels reportedly considered by HBO, one series, set three centuries before the original, was confirmed for ten episodes alongside news of the cancellation, whereas Benioff and Weiss have signed an exclusive deal with Netflix for a currently unknown project.
Whatever the future brings franchise and showrunners, one can only hope that lessons learned from “Game of Thrones” on success and competence are not forgotten. Certainly, the show’s lingering negativity has yet to fade in any appreciable sense, instead given new kindling with these developments.