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HBO 'going big' for ‘Game of Thrones’ prequels, executives say

HBO executives are talking about the final season of “Game of Thrones” and giving some hints about their plans for at least one prequel series.

Variety reports that the HBO brass were on a panel in Jerusalem at the INTV Conference where they assured the fantasy hit will have a satisfying finale when it returns in 2019. Francesca Orsi, HBO senior VP of drama, recalled attending a table read where the show’s principal cast read through the final six scripts.

“It was amazing,” Orsi said. “By the very end, everyone looked down and looked up and tears were in their eyes … None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started falling down to their deaths.”

Actually, the cast did receive their scripts prior to the table read, but some elected not to read them and instead went into the event not knowing their character’s fate.

Also, for some reason, that quote above is leading some publications to write headlines saying a bunch of characters die in the show’s finale, which is, obviously, not what she said … though, naturally, might still happen.

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Regarding the prequels, HBO has five scripts in contention for at least one potential series order. “It feels like corporate malfeasance to not continue it,” Orsi said of “GoT,” which has been the biggest moneymaker in the network’s history. “That’s why it spawned three, four, five spin-offs … We’re going big.”

Technically the new projects are prequels, not spin-offs, since they are set before the events in “GoT” and include none of the current cast.

Orsi also noted that it’s a bit of a debate behind the scenes how much to spend on a prequel. “Game of Thrones” started with a relatively modest budget that increased with each season (the final season has been estimated at around $15 million per episode). So for the prequels, you can’t do a season 1 budget (because that would look cheap in comparison to how “GoT” looks today) but since shows get more expensive as they continue, you wouldn’t want to start with $15 million per episode either.

“If we do take off on one of these ‘Game of Thrones’ spin-offs, where do we start?” Orsi said. “We can’t obviously start with the budget of season 8, but would it be a ‘Game of Thrones’ season 3 budget?”

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