Now that HBO’s adaptation of Game of Thrones has caught up to George R.R. Martin’s books in terms of storylines, question loom for fans and producers alike about how long the fantasy series will run.
"I think 'seven seasons and out' has never been the conversation," said HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo at the 2015 Summer TCA press tour on Thursday. "The question is how much beyond the seventh season we're going to do. Obviously we're shooting six now and hopefully discussing seven."
Creative control over the series rests in the hands of executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Lombardo said.
"They're feeling like they're probably two more years after six," he revealed. "I've said before, I would always love for them to change their minds but that's what we're looking at right now."
Lombardo also addressed rumors of a prequel series, which would likely tell the story of the Targaryan reign over Westeros, specifically "Mad King" Aerys II Targaryen.
"I would be open to anything that Dan and David wanted to do about Game of Thrones or almost any subject matter," Lombardo said. "It would really depend fully for us on what they wanted to do. I think you're right, there's enormous storytelling to be mined in a prequel. But you'd have to have George and [D.B.] and David decide they want to tackle that. At this point, all the focus is on figuring out the next few years of this show. We haven't had any conversations about that at this point."
The HBO exec even answered the question on every fangirl’s mind: Is Jon Snow really dead? Despite Kit Harington’s hair and a recent sighting of the actor in Belfast, Ireland, where GoT is filming, Lombardo echoed what the show’s cast and crew told fans at Comic-Con.
"Dead is dead is dead is dead. He be dead," he said. "Yes. Everything I've seen, heard or read, Jon Snow is dead."