'Game Of Thrones' Spin-Off Being Explored, Final Season Episode Count To Be Determined

Update: Casely Bloys spoke with Entertainment Weekly, where he said that a theoretical Game of Thrones spin-off would probably be a prequel:

A prequel feels like it has less pressure on it [than a spin-off]. [Author George R.R. Martin's history of Westeros] gives you areas in which to say to a writer, "If you were going to do this, then go flesh it out," and we'll see what comes back. But I don't feel any pressure that we have to have something.

The original article runs below.

If you put HBO's original programming president Casey Bloys in the same room as a bunch of entertainment journalists, two questions are bound to come up: how many episodes will be in the final season of Game of Thrones and will there be a spin-off series, possibly set in a different era of Westerosi history? Bloys addressed both questions during the Television Critics Association press tour.

While Bloys did talk about other shows, including the possibility of more The Night Of and the Deadwood movie David Milch is supposedly writing, let's focus in on this quote (via Variety), where he says that a Game of Thrones spin-off is far from set in stone, but yes, they are talking about it:

All I can say is that we're exploring it. We don't have any scripts, we're not even close to saying "Oh let's do this." But it's a big enough property that we would be foolish not to explore it. It's a really rich world. We'd be foolish not to look at it.

Every time I write about possible Game of Thrones spin-offs, I tend to bring up George R.R. Martin's Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas, which take place 90 years before the events of the novels/series and follow a wandering hedge knight and his young squire who leave behind...let's just say unlikely legacies. And I bring them up for good reason: they're excellent as standalone stories but remarkable when viewed in context of the larger timeline, when the long shadows these characters leave can be fully examined. If there's a spin-off series, I imagine this would be HBO's go-to source for more stories, although I certainly wouldn't be opposed to another series set during Robert's Rebellion, where younger version of Ned Stark, Tywin Lannister, and Robert Baratheon could have key roles.

Meanwhile, Bloys was unable to shed any light ("We are talking about it") on how many episodes will be in the show's eighth and final season. We do know that the seventh, which is expected to premiere this summer, will consist of only seven episodes, three less than usual. It's been suggested that the final season will be only six episodes long, but with other people involved in the production suggesting that we have 15 hours of show left, we have to wonder if we'll be getting shorter seasons but longer episodes or even some kind of super-sized series finale.

In any case, we can expect the final hours to kill off just about everybody, which is the Game of Thrones way.