As we count the days until Game of Thrones returns to our screens, we're also obsessing about another ticking clock: How long until the TV show overtakes George R.R. Martin's books? How can the show end when the story hasn't ended on the page? And now, Martin says they're seriously talking about ending it with a movie.
Talking to The Hollywood Reporter at the season four premiere, Martin says the idea of a big-screen Thrones movie is being "actively discussed," adding:
"It all depends on how long the main series runs... Do we run for seven years? Do we run for eight? Do we run for 10? The books get bigger and bigger (in scope). It might need a feature to tie things up, something with a feature budget, like $100 million for two hours. Those dragons get real big, you know."
He also said that the other possibility under discussion is a big-screen movie based on his "Dunk and Egg" stories, which take place years before the main book series and involve people who are related to the Game of Thrones characters in ways that he won't specify. "I have written these three stories, and I have about a dozen more."
The Hollywood Reporter adds that a natural partner for a Thrones film would be Warner Bros., which already did two Sex and the City movies and is putting out a film based on fellow HBO series Entourage.
Reading between the lines, it sounds as though Martin is having a bit of a debate with the HBO team — everyone at HBO, including the network's president, has recently expressed a preference for the show to last seven seasons, or eight at the most. Martin, meanwhile, seems to have believed that the HBO show would devote at least three seasons to the combined events of A Dance With Dragons and A Feast For Crows, before giving a couple seasons each to the final two books. The show has done a pretty brilliant job of streamlining Martin's storytelling up to this point, and you can see some storylines are already in position to move forward way more quickly on television than in the books.
For what it's worth, I don't know that I'd be that keen on seeing Thrones conclude as a two-hour movie — and if Martin is upset at the idea of A Dream of Spring being told in just ten hours on television, just imagine if that massive tome ends up being told in only two hours instead. A movie conclusion would necessarily focus more on big fight scenes and VFX shots, and less on characters getting the resolution they deserve.
I still believe that Martin can avoid having the show catch up to him, though — he just needs to publish Winds of Winter within a year from now, so it comes out before season five starts. And then he would have two years, give or take, to write the final book. Assuming the final book is just letting all the shoes he's been carefully suspending drop, that might not be impossible. One way or another, though, this is going to be fascinating — we've never seen a situation quite like this before. [Thanks for the heads up, DaveinVA!]