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Game of Thrones’ season 8 was originally supposed to be 3 movies instead

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Thankfully, we’re getting six episodes instead

Game of Thrones 706 - Daenerys and Tyrion walking among two dragons HBO

Game of Thrones season eight is set to debut sometime in 2019 and will consist of six episodes. But, according to the show’s creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, it wasn’t always going to be on TV.

In a recent Entertainment Weekly cover story all about the show’s final season, the magazine revealed that the co-creates originally planned to make the ending of Game of Thrones as three separate two-hour long movies released into theaters. The plan was originally pitched, according to the story, back in 2012 while the series’ third season was filming. The idea was that making the episodes into movies instead might help grant them the budget they needed to finish off the story on the grand scale that George R.R. Martin’s description of the events demanded.

As it turns out, that wouldn’t be necessary. In the intervening years, Game of Thrones has grown from major hit to one of the biggest franchises in the world. The popularity helped Benioff and Weiss convince HBO to fund the final six episodes with a massive — for TV — budget of more than $15 million an episode. With money like that, the creative team behind the show are basically setting out to make six smaller movies rather than the three large-scale films they had been planning.

As it turns out, scale isn’t the only lesson Benioff and Weiss are taking from movies for the final season of the show. The pair, whose next project will be a Star Wars film apparently got some helpful tips on how to keep secrets on set from their new co-workers. According to the EW story, Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi, and Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy both had helpful tips for how to keep secrets from leaking.

“They’ve given us a lot of hints about how to lock things down, things we never would have thought of or didn’t know were possible,” Weiss said.

As for just how big season eight’s episodes will be, or what secrets Benioff and Weiss are keeping, we’ll have to wait until Game of Thrones’ final season debuts on HBO sometime next year to find out.