After seven seasons, HBO has become pretty well-versed in keeping everything to do with Game of Thrones shrouded in secrecy. But that all changed with season seven, when a series of external factors—from cyber hacks to plain old human error—led to multiple episodes leaking online. With the final season of Game of Thrones on deck, HBO is being forced to adapt in the ever-evolving war on spoilers.
During a recent talk at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s Moravian College, HBO programming president revealed that the network will shoot multiple endings of the GoT’s series finale to use as red herrings for potential leakers.
“I know in Game of Thrones, the ending, they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that nobody really know what happens,” Bloys said. “You have to do that on a long show. Because when you’re shooting something, people know. So they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that there’s no real definitive answer until the end.”
Bloys didn’t specify whether the recent hacks had anything to do with the decision, but he didn’t have to. What should have been a triumphant season for HBO and GoT showrunners D.B Weiss and David Benioff, was often overshadowed by the narrative that HBO wasn’t running a tight enough ship.
Shooting multiple endings will be expensive, but also necessary. As the last vestige of the TV monoculture, the interest around GoT’s final season will be immense and its finale will be one of the most closely guarded Hollywood secrets of the last decade. In all likelihood, the cast won’t even know which ending is legitimate until after the final credits roll.
The approach is similar to the one HBO took for Sex and The City, where three versions of the series finale were shot, including one where Carrie Bradshaw ditched Mr. Big and resumed her relationship with her Russian lover, and another where she chooses her friends over both men.
Expect HBO to check all the boxes here, too. GoT fans probably want the show to end a number of ways, depending on who you ask. Shooting multiple endings will allow them the ability to totally embrace fan service, explore darker avenues, and even give George R. R. Martin a stab at it. Let the guessing games begin.