Game of Thrones creators were hoping for a more proportional response to the ending

Everyone remember the firestorm of backlash to the ending of Game of Thrones, none moreso that creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss.
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen – Photo: Courtesy of HBO
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen – Photo: Courtesy of HBO /

Game of Thrones ended in 2019 after eight increasingly popular seasons. The show produced a huge number of iconic TV moments, introduced us to some memorable characters, and was among the most celebrated shows of the 2010s. And then its final season was so controversial and divisive that nearly two million people signed a petition trying to get it remade. If you were there, you remember the furorious backlash over the ending. If you weren't me, trust me that it was nuts.

Much of the vitriol was reserved for showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss; Reddit waged a campaign to get their pictures to show up first in Google Images whenever you search "bad writers," a campaign that looks successful as of this writing. Again, it was nuts. Looking back on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Benioff remembered their initial reactions to the hate. “I think we knew it would be controversial; we hoped that it would be a little more 50/50 [even],” he said. “You hope for a better proportion of— we definitely didn’t want it to be quite so much hate— we were prepared for some of it, but..."

Generally speaking, the two of them unplugged during this period, which is probably the only option if they didn't want to go mad. “I guess I hadn’t taken into account the net worth effects that can help the show when they’re working in your favor as a positive feedback loop,” Weiss mused. “Its hypocritical to love it when it’s blowing in your direction and to decide it’s the end of the world when it’s going the other way, but I think that, yeah, that was the part of it that we hadn’t really accounted for in knowing that some people were going to like it and some people weren’t.”

It's impossible to unplug from the discourse entirely, because while you can log off Twitter/X, you can't always know what people will say to you in person. Happily, people are far less willing to be hateful face-to-face, and Benioff remembers at least one positive encounter he had at the airport not long ago: “The only positive moment I’ve ever had with Homeland Security was going through LAX a few months ago. The guy saw my driver’s license and he said, he’s like, ‘Are you Dave and Dan?’ I was like ‘I’m one of Dave and Dan.’ ‘I love the final season, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!”

Game of Thrones creators got "relatively far story-wise" with their Star Wars movie before Lucasfilm pulled the plug

After Game of Thrones ended, Benioff and Weiss signed on to make a trilogy of Star Wars movies for Lucasfilm. They recently revealed that they wanted to do "The First Jedi,” so something set really early in the timeline. “Basically how the Jedi Order came to be, why it came to be, the first lightsaber …” Benioff recalled.

That trilogy ended up getting shelved along with several other Star Wars projects like Patty Jenkins' Rogue Squadron movie and Kevin Feige's Star Wars movie. Lucasfilm was flailing for a while there. "I think we got relatively far story-wise with the first one," Weiss said of the movie. "We had a basic roadmap for the other two. It was a shame. The truth is, our batting average on things conceived to things actually finished has never been tremendously high and there will always be ones that get away for various reasons. The ones that just aren't meant to be. "It was sad that was one of them for us, but as time goes on, you need to let go of those things because if you don't, you'll drive yourself completely crazy."

Since then, things at Lucasfilm have leveled out a bit and they're moving forward with a number of Star Wars movies they hopefully won't cancel. That includes a "First Jedi" type movie to be helmed by Logan director James Mangold. Weiss wishes him all the best. "I love Jim. He's a great dude," he said. "All the best of luck to him."

Benioff and Weiss stuck with sci-fi for their new project, 3 Body Problem, which is a heady series streaming on Netflix right now. The show is really good, so this could be a new frontier for them:

Next. 3bp 1. 3 Body Problem is a digestible remix of the sci-fi books, and that's a good thing. dark

h/t The Playlist, FandomWire, ComicBookMovie,

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