'Game of Thrones' Season 5 will be the 'strongest yet,' say showrunners

game-of-thrones-season-5-hbo.jpg "Game of Thrones" Season 4 might have just finished airing on HBO, but showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are already hard at work on Season 5. They're currently drafting the scripts for the season, adding new cast members and locations and prepping for an expected July production start date. Fortunately, they believe that Season 5 will be better than anything that's come before it.

"After finishing Season 3, we were nervous about Season 4 -- we'd been looking forward to the Red Wedding for so long that once we shot it, we feared everything beyond that would seem like an anti-climax," Benioff and Weiss tell Entertainment Weekly." We grew less nervous when we outlined Season 4, less nervous still when we wrote the episodes, and all nervousness evaporated when we saw the directors' cuts and knew we had a great season in hand."

They continue, "For Season 5, again, the fear started to dissipate when we outlined it and realized how much story we had to tell. Now that we're nearly finished with the first drafts of each episode, we see no reason why the coming season shouldn't be the strongest yet."

Some concern about Season 5 being "boring" is that it is a combination of two books that tell parallel but geographically separated stories: "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons." But many of those plotlines have already started being paid off in Season 4, and the showrunners will continue to streamline them going forward.

"It almost feels like [Season 4] is the midpoint for us," Weiss says. "If we're going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, Season 4 is right town the middle. It's the pivot point, as you say. It's been an expanding universe and will now start to contract. Which doesn't mean we won't meet any new characters in Season 5, because we will. But it's going to start to shrink for sure."

The good news for fans is that Benioff and Weiss took notes from the "Breaking Bad" finale when they started planning their own. Just like Vince Gilligan knew where he wanted that show to end early on, Weiss and Benioff now know how George R.R. Martin plans to end "A Song of Ice and Fire" so they can move towards that ending in "Game of Thrones."

"We have talked to George extensively about where he's going with the books, and will continue to do so. His books are the blueprint for the world we're building. Ultimately the show needs to work on its own terms, and keep on moving. Our job is to square that necessity with George's work to the best of our ability," the showrunners say.

Benioff adds, "I feel we have so many conversations about later seasons. And this year we've started talking about the very end."

As for what comes next in Season 5, Benioff and Weiss promise plenty of the new territory Dorne, and a resolution to "Now what?" for Varys. In terms of the fantasy in the show, the showrunners tease, "The White Walkers aren't going away. The dragons aren't getting any smaller. Melisandre's still sorceressing, the giants are more pissed than ever, and Jaime's almost done building his jetpack. So ... yeah, the fantasy's not going away. It is a fantasy show."

"Game of Thrones" is already renewed for Season 5 and Season 6. Benioff and Weiss reaffirm their desire for a seven-season series in the EW interview.
Photo/Video credit: HBO