Game of Thrones’s sixth season is coming for us all like a dragon swooping from the sky on April 24, but in contrast to previous speculation, this might not be our penultimate trip to Westeros. Though showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have previously said they want to end the show after seven seasons, it seems that the network is gunning for just a little bit more. At the Television Critics Association, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo revealed that the network is in “active talks” to bring back Thrones for a seventh and eighth season. Lombardo told Mashable, “I think [Benioff and Weiss] are feeling there’s probably 2 more years after [season] 6. As I’ve said before, I’d always love for them to change their minds, but I think that’s their plan right now.”
Though it might sound, as many suspected, like HBO is imitating AMC’s model for Breaking Bad and Mad Man and making a final season out of two half-seasons, the last two seasons of Thrones (if they happen) will in fact be the genuine article, at least according to Lombardo. This, as EW points out, means that HBO will also have to renegotiate contracts with its cast, as the talent is currently only optioned for seven seasons. Though now that Game of Thrones has sped past the limits of George R.R. Martin’s novels, Benioff and Weiss don’t have any real obligation to keep characters alive. If your agent starts asking for too much, expect a gruesome death. And if no one major stays on, we’ll just have to spend the last ten episodes with Rickon Stark and Gendry’s rowboat.