HBO Responds To 'Game Of Thrones' Fan Petition, Offers Update On Prequel Pilot [TCA 2019]

HBO is between Game of Thrones this Television Critics Association press tour. After many years of answering questions about the upcoming season of Game of Thrones, or the ending, this summer finds HBO taking a breather after their landmark series has wrapped, although they are developing a prequel.The final season of Game of Thrones and its ultimate finale also proved controversial, as some fans felt characters behaved in uncharacteristic ways. Some fans have even gone so far as to start a petition demanding HBO re-film the entire final season of Game of Thrones to make it more consistent with the rest of the show as they see it. During his executive session for the Television Critics Association, HBO Programming President Casey Bloys answered questions about the aftermath of Game of Thrones, and the status of its prequel. 

HBO Was Prepared For Your Pushback

/Film asked Bloys his reaction to the petition to reshoot the season, and how he feels networks and creators should respond to such fan pushback. Not surprisingly, even the most toxic fandom seemed to roll off his back."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 and show they should see the characters stories end," Bloys said. "I think that just comes with the territory."Needless to say, HBO is not remaking the final season. Hypothetically, should a network ever acquiesce to such a demanding petition, it could set a precedent for fans deciding what creators have to do. Bloys doesn't foresee that possibility."The petition I think shows a lot of enthusiasm and passion for the show but it wasn't something that we seriously considered," Bloys said. "I can't imagine another network would, but who knows?"

Game of Thrones Ended How Game of Thrones Wanted

Should there be any remaining disagreement about how Game of Thrones ended, there is no dispute about who decided on that ending. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss weren't getting any network notes or pressure to do things HBO's way."When a show is in the six, seventh, eighth season of a highly successful run, by that point there's usually a rhythm between the network and show runners," Bloys said. "Minimal back and forth here and there. That's not just Game Of Thrones. Silicon Valley's doing their final season right now. They have a really good handle on what the show is. It's not like we're noting them to death."I think it was pretty clear that Benioff and Weiss were the deciders on all things Game of Thrones. Once they overtook the books, they weren't even answering to George R.R. Martin, but it's good to confirm that HBO didn't interfere and they stand by what they delivered.

The Prequel is Coming

Bloys also confirmed that the backlash against the final season has not impacted development on the Game of Thrones prequel. "It has not at all," Bloys said. Right now, all Bloys has to share is that they've shot the pilot. Naomi Watts, Naomie Ackie and Denise Gough are among the stars."Shooting has wrapped," Bloys said. "It looks really good. The cast was amazing. Jane [Goldman] and S.J. [Clarkson] are busy in the edit bay so I haven't seen anything yet but we're looking forward to it."That's not surprising. HBO was always cagey about upcoming Game of Thrones news. That would be no different on the prequel."The only status I have is we finished shooting the prequel in Belfast," Bloys said. "I was very excited by the footage we saw and the cast. They're editing now." 

The Emmy Nominations Were a Nice Victory Lap

If Bloys was actually more upset about the backlash to the final season than he let on, he'll certainly be crying into all the Emmy nominations Game of Thrones received."Look, 32 Emmy nominations is certainly nice validation," Bloys said. "I didn't dance but I did enjoy it."This season also saw Game of Thrones actors submit themselves for consideration, independent of HBO. While Bloys wouldn't make a habit of this practice, he was happy it bore fruit for the cast. "Game Of Thrones is unique because I think it has 26, 28 series regulars which is unusual," Bloys said. "We have someone whose work at HBO for many years has been awards. She will work with showrunners to figure out what's the best chance of success. I think the challenge for a series that big is if everybody submitted themselves, everybody could cancel out the entire show. There is some strategic thinking in terms of how to submit and who to submit. Ultimately if somebody decides to submit on their own, we'll help them and their reps do it. I think this is the first time anybody who submitted themselves was nominated which I think is great."