‘Game of Thrones’ creators: Film trilogy ending blocked; AT&T suggested vertical filming for phones

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In 2020, George R.R. Martin, the mastermind behind the epic saga of “Game of Thrones,” hinted at an alternate finale plan: a grand trilogy of films to cap off the HBO series, diverging from the traditional television format. This revelation resurfaced in a recent in-depth profile by WSJ Magazine, where showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss shed light on their original vision for the show’s conclusion. They had envisioned three cinematic installments to wrap up the sprawling narrative, rather than extending the story across additional TV seasons.

However, their cinematic aspirations were swiftly quashed by network executives who balked at the notion of taking “Thrones” to the silver screen. Benioff recounted being reminded that HBO, as the acronym implies, stands for “Home Box Office,” suggesting a resistance to venturing beyond the realm of television. This setback fueled the duo’s quest for creative freedom and flexibility in storytelling formats, ultimately leading them to Netflix following the conclusion of “Thrones.”

The allure of Netflix wasn’t solely rooted in creative liberty; it also offered a refuge from the tumultuous landscape of corporate ownership. Benioff and Weiss harbored reservations about HBO’s then-parent company, AT&T, whose executives once proposed shooting “Thrones” vertically to accommodate mobile viewing. Moreover, AT&T openly entertained the idea of producing bite-sized, snackable episodes, straying from the epic scale that defined “Game of Thrones.”

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Discussing their decision to depart HBO for Netflix, Benioff emphasized the importance of stability in their creative environment. The duo sought a smooth sailing amid the turbulent waters of the entertainment industry, preferring a steadfast partner over the uncertainty posed by corporate upheaval. Their journey to Netflix aligned with their pursuit of a conducive workspace, where they could focus on storytelling without external disruptions.

Transitioning to Netflix marked a fresh chapter for Benioff and Weiss, where they embarked on the ambitious adaptation of “3 Body Problem,” a beloved sci-fi novel set to captivate audiences anew. Despite the pressure accompanying such high-profile projects, Benioff recalled similar anxieties preceding the debut of “Thrones.” The anticipation and scrutiny surrounding their creative endeavors were constants, whether embarking on their inaugural venture or venturing into new territory post-“Thrones.”

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As the premiere of “3 Body Problem” approaches on March 21, anticipation mounts for Benioff and Weiss’s latest venture into the realm of streaming. Their decision to chart a course with Netflix underscores their commitment to innovative storytelling and their quest for a stable creative environment. For a deeper dive into their creative journey and the behind-the-scenes dynamics of their transition, readers can explore the comprehensive profile featured on WSJ Magazine’s website.

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