If there’s one thing that fans of Game of Thrones have been calling out for more than anything else (apart, of course, from another A Song of Ice and Fire novel), it’s a full, big budget movie.
The show is set to wrap up after eight seasons, but many loyal fans have been calling out for months for a film to cap things off – a really big, huge, climactic experience to leave the series with a bang.
It’s easy to see the appeal – after all, plenty of TV shows eventually get their own movie, and it’s fun to see a larger budget story told with familiar characters over a longer runtime.
Except, of course, that we don’t really need a Game of Thrones movie – the show’s budget, scope, and even the runtime of its episodes already far outstrip what could be achieved in a single theatrical release.
We’ve known for a while now that Game of Thrones season seven is going to finish with an 82 minute-long episode. That’s a lot of Westeros fun in a single episode – it’s pretty much a movie in its own right, and while HBO has avoided the temptation of stretching the finale to a full ninety minutes, this is for the best, in order to make sure that the episode will be as well paced as possible.
Now, though, speakers at the recent Con of Thrones fan event have suggested that the six episodes of the show’s eighth season will be approximately eighty minutes long each as well. This certainly explains why the season will be shorter than others that have gone before – effort is going into making these episodes a big, lengthy, Sherlock style adventure, with each feeling like a miniature movie in and of itself.
The thing is, this format suits a big show with a sprawling cast like Game of Thrones far better than a movie ever could – trying to cram all the characters, locations, and settings into a single movie, even a Peter Jackson-esque three hour spectacular, simply wouldn’t give everyone enough time to shine.
If a movie were to work, it would need to focus on just a few characters in order to make things as well-balanced as possible. This kind of move would obviously upset longtime fans of the series who would be disappointed that their favorite character was left out of the spotlight.
With regards to the issue of budget, it’s hard to imagine how a Game of Thrones movie would benefit from more money than the show manages with as a whole. A series with dragons, magic, exotic filming locations, and world class actors already has more than enough to tell a good story, and throwing additional funds at Game of Thrones just for the sake of bigger action setpieces doesn’t seem necessary, considering just how amazing the footage of season seven looks thus far.
While the prospect of a Game of Thrones movie may seem promising, it’s far better for the show to stay on television, where it can raise the bar for longform, episodic adventures, while bringing many cinematic elements in terms of scope and practical effects.
After all, if modern television has taught us anything, it’s that movies aren’t always the best art form available. There’s plenty of stuff that Game of Thrones can do as a TV show that simply wouldn’t be possible on the big screen.