You weren’t seriously expecting HBO to remake Game of Thrones season 8 with better writers than the ones who might get an Emmy for the season’s worst-rated episode ever, were you? That petition was never going to work, and most people knew that even as they went to sign it. But if you were somehow hoping that those 1.7 million signatures would save Game of Thrones, we’ll tell you right now that it’s never going to happen. HBO finally addressed the matter, and a remake is out of the question.
Several Game of Thrones actors already talked about the petition in the days and weeks that followed its creation. But HBO has only now addressed it with an official statement, which is probably something the network should have done from the get-go. It’s quite obvious that a remake isn’t an option for the company, nor should it be. Entertainment doesn’t work like that. Just because fans demand a remake, it doesn’t mean a studio has to listen to them.
At least HBO isn’t ignoring the elephant in the room anymore, and it’s equally crystal clear that it heard its customers. Here’s what HBO’s programming chief Casey Bloys said at the HBO’s TCA summer press tour event, via Variety:
There are very, very few downsides to having a hugely popular show, but one I can think of is when you try to end it, many people have big opinions on how it should end. The petition shows a lot of enthusiasm and passion for the show, but it wasn’t something that we seriously considered.
HBO’s explanation makes some sense, but Bloys isn’t actually addressing what fans are angry about. As we’ve said before, it’s not the Game of Thrones ending that hurts, it’s how we got there. It’s the storytelling in season 8 that hurts. We already expected a bittersweet end, but it could have been done beautifully. Avengers: Endgame is a great example of how to pull all of that off. You’ve got controversial character choices and lots of heartaches, but you love every minute of how that story is told.
Getting back to Bloys, he did make it clear that the blame for season 8 falls on showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The exec said the HBO input on the show was minimal:
When a show is in its sixth, seventh or eighth season, by that point there’s usually a rhythm between showrunners and the network as to what they expect.
While he did not explain why the showrunners/writers of the worst Game of Thrones episode got an Emmy nomination for it, Bloys did shed more light on the Game of Thrones stars who got nominations after submitting themselves for consideration — that’s Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), and Carice Van Houten (Melisandre). He said that HBO didn’t submit them due to concern that Game of Thrones actors could cancel each other out in the vote. But he added that HBO “helped them and their representatives do it,” when the stars decided to put themselves up for eligibility.