The rumors have swirled for a while now. Various people who have worked on the show have dropped hints. But now David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones’ showrunners, have officially, irrevocably confirmed that we only have 15 episodes of the show left... at most. Probably less.
Here’s Benioff during an interview with Deadline about Sunday’s season six finale:
It’s two more seasons we’re talking about. From pretty close to the beginning, we talked about doing this in 70-75 hours, and that’s what we’ll end up with. Call it 73 for now.
While it’s a bummer to know for certain that the show is that close to being over, Benioff makes a compelling case for ending it sooner rather than later:
We’re trying to tell one cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end. As Dan said, we’ve known the end for quite some time and we’re hurtling towards it. Those last images from the show that aired last night showed that. Daenerys is finally coming back to Westeros; Jon Snow is king of the North and Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne. And we know the Night King is up there, waiting for all of them. The pieces are on the board now. Some of the pieces have been removed from the board and we are heading toward the end game.
The thing that has excited us from the beginning, back to the way we pitched it to HBO is, it’s not supposed to be an ongoing show, where every season it’s trying to figure out new story lines. We wanted it to be one giant story, without padding it out to add an extra 10 hours, or because people are still watching it. We wanted to something where, if people watched it end to end, it would make sense as one continuous story. We’re definitely heading into the end game now.
I suppose HBO, using the traditional dump trucks full of cash, could still convince Benioff and Weiss to extend the show to two full seasons, but here’s the thing: If they were going to do that, I feel like they would have succeeded at it by now. Or if they were still negotiating, Benioff and Weiss wouldn’t be unequivocally announcing that the final seasons would be shortened—they’d be cagey about it.
So that’s it—only 13 episodes left. Maybe 15 if we’re lucky.