With all of the internet abuzz with rumors and theories about the future of ‘Game of Thrones‘ and its prequel series‘, HBO programming president Casey Bloys was kind enough to take a moment to sit down with Entertainment Weekly recently to clarify some points about the end of ‘Game of Thrones’ itself, and what the future may hold with these prequels. He started off by clarifying some things about all the rumors swirling out there on the internet about the prequels:

“I want to put the prequels in context. It should go without saying I love having a show with this much intense interest around it. Even the smallest bit of information is a big deal and I appreciate that. But I wanted to make sure fans know this is a really embryonic process. I haven’t even seen outlines. In the press at large, everybody said, ‘there are four spinoffs’ and they assume that means each one is happening and we’re going to have a new Game of Thrones show per quarter. That’s not what’s going on. The idea is not to do four shows. The bar set by [Benioff and Weiss] is so high that my hope is to get one show that lives up to it. Also, this is a long-term plan. Our No. 1 goal is the seventh season this summer and getting the eighth season written and aired…

You couldn’t do this with a lot of shows. In talking with the drama group here, and the nice thing is George has created an entire universe. The fact that there’s enough material to even contemplate making different prequels is crazy when you think about it. George has all these histories he’s thought about and that’s one reason why the books are so good.

The other reason, frankly, as I said, is the bar is so high. If you only developed one, everything would rest on that one shot. It’s such a special show. I want to make sure that [any prequel] feels worthy. We have some amazing writers who want to take a shot at this. They’re also looking at different times in the universe and all will have different feels. This increases our odds of finding one that’s unique.”

Next, he wanted to curb expectations of people thinking a prequel series will air immediately after the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale airs, and also make sure everyone understands the end goal is to keep the high quality of both the original show and the prequel series, even if that means going in some unexpected directions like having a limited series in the future:

“Making Game of Thrones as good as possible is the No. 1 goal, and then we’ll see about these scripts. You’re not going to see a situation where the next show in the Thrones universe launches off the back of this one. The show that Dan and David have created will get its proper send off first. We wouldn’t want to take away from that in any way….At this point, everything is on the table. The idea is to find a series. It would be nice to find something that has the legs this one did. But if something works better as a limited series, sure…And circling back to what I said earlier, that’s why I want to temper the expectation on the prequels. We want to focus on seasons 7 and 8. If any of these scripts come to pass, you’re not going to see anything air anytime close to the season 8 finale.”

And of course he spoke on the fact that David Benioff and Dan Weiss do not want to be involved in the prequels, especially since the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ is poised to be a massive undertaking, one that might prove to be the most cinematic thing HBO has ever done, and may not be ready to air until 2019:

“Yep. I’m glad you asked that because that is one thing I want to clarify: By the time the final season airs, Dan and David will have been at this for 12 years. Which is an amazing fact. They didn’t go and do movies in between seasons, they didn’t set anything else up, they put everything — and are putting everything — into this show. They came into HBO with an idea for a show with a beginning, middle, and end, and they want to see it through. 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. 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…

[In regards to Season 8 coming out in 2019] Yeah. They have to write the episodes and figure out the production schedule. We’ll have a better sense of that once they get further into the writing…One of the hallmarks of the show has been how cinematic is it. The show has proven that TV is every bit as impressive and in many cases more so, than film. What they’re doing is monumental. When you see these battles in season 7, and what I imagine season 8 will be, it’s a big, big show. We’ve done a lot of great shows, but this one combines the complex characters we love with a huge cinematic scope. I think this is the first show to prove that can be done — and we’re the first people to pay for it.”

All in all, I rather like the way HBO is handling all of this, from giving Benioff and Weiss time and proper resources to end the show the right way and not pressuring them to make more episodes or participate in a prequel series, even to HBO taking their time with said prequel series and really trying to find the best show with the best writers. It’s a mark of why cable television has such a marked advantage from network programming where everything is so business oriented and rushed and focused solely on getting something out there in time for upfronts or the fall schedule.

What are your thoughts on the end of ‘Game of Thrones’ and the potential prequel series? Share your opinions in the comments below!

horizontal lineNick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.