Can You Blame Game of Thrones EP’s for Skipping Comic Con?

Just two days before Friday evening’s “Game of Throne” panel event at San Diego’s Comic Con , several panel members canceled their appearance. This includes the show’s executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. While Comic Con panels often have last minute changes, many speculate that the producers did not want to receive backlash from “Game of Thrones” fans disappointed with the show’s final season. Several of the show’s stars did appear on Friday’s panel. Although the hour long panel did reveal some thoughts on the show and what could have happened next, the panel was run by a moderator who asked a lot of “what if” questions. There was no audience Q and A. Despite fan backlash over the series’ final season, “Game of Thrones” just received a record 32 Emmy nominations including Best Drama (it’s won 4 times in the past) and several Best Lead Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress nominations.

Who Canceled? and Why

“Game of Thrones” was one of HBO’s most popular series when it aired eight seasons between 2011 and this past spring. Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire”, the HBO series got ahead of the books so the producers and writers had to come up with their own ending. Many fans of the show were disappointed in the eighth and final season and felt it was too rushed. One disappointed fan even started a “Change.org” petition to have the series re-written. Comments against the final season include the Battle of Winterfell’s lighting was poor, the Night King’s death was anti-climactic, and the season felt too rushed, and Daenarys’ fall into madness was too fast. While there were many upset fans, there are still many who were pleased with the series’ ending. The actors were upset by the backlash and felt that they were happy with how their roles ended. At Comic Con, the panelists didn’t discuss the fan backlash much but did feel the backlash was exaggerated by the media.

Not surprisingly, “Game of Thrones” executive producers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss canceled their appearance at Comic Con. Much of the fans anger about the final season was directed at Benioff and Weiss. Surely, they feared being heckled by the fans at Comic Con. There was even an online movement to promote heckling the panel. Director and producer Miguel Sapochnik also canceled. Cast members Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont) and Nathalie Sapochnik (Missandei) canceled plans to be on the panel, but this may have just been a scheduling conflict as fans of the show love the characters.

The “Game of Thrones” panel was still filled. Several actors appeared to answer questions and discuss the show’s ending. Maisie Williams (Arya), Nikolaj Coster-Waldeu (Jamie), Conleth Hill (Varys), John Bradley (Sam),Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran), Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) and Liam Cunningham (Davos) all attended the panel. The panelists said that they were pleased to be present at this year’s Comic Con and excited to talk about the show. In past appearances, they were not able to talk much about the show or speculate on it because the plot was kept secret. At this Comic Con they were free to discuss anything.

How the Panel Was Run

Comic Con’s programming director, Eddie Ibrahim, was cautious of the “Game of Thrones” event and made sure that heckling of the guests did not occur. He even made an opening statement asking for “civility”. The event was moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s James Hibberd. He asked the panel a series of questions including what was their favorite line and what do they think Westeros was like after the ending under its new regime led by King Brandon Stark. The panel was just an hour long and ended without the usual audience Q and A session. There was a humorous nod to the shows crew and editing error in one memorable scene of Season 8. The stars even laughed when the sat down on the dais to find “to go” coffee cups waiting at their seats in a joking nod to the mysterious Starbucks cup was accidently left in a “Game of Thrones” banquet scene in front of Daenarys Targaryan. One creative Comic Con fan was dressed as a Starbucks coffee cup.

What Would or Wouldn’t Happen Next

Questions and comments by the “Game of Thrones” Comic Con regarding the final season backlash were limited. Moderator James Hibberd admitted that his interview with Conleth Hill being disappointed in the death of his character was exaggerated. Hill said that he felt the hate that came in during the final season was exaggerated in the media. Coster-Waldau said that he was satisfied of his characters fate, dying in his sister’s arms and a heckler booed him. It was pointed out that there were 8,000 attendees to the “Game of Thrones” panel so there must be many fans who were as pleased with the ending of the series as the cast and crew.

The “Game of Thrones” panel debunked some fan theories about the show. Some have claimed that Arya did not and could not have killed the Night King alone, but Maisie Williams said that she certainly did. Cunningham admitted the truth of one fan theory, Varys was trying to poison Daenarys toward the end. When asked why his character didn’t kill Jon Snow for murdering Daenarys, Jacob Anderson pulled a Spiderman mask over his face so he didn’t have to answer. He did speculate that Grey Worm was just tired of all of the violence. When Cunningham was asked if Davos would have killed Melisandre his response was that he wouldn’t have been able to but may have hired someone to do it. Maisie Williams was asked if Arya would, have returned to Westeros if she’d be with Gendry. Williams said no, Arya would never have a partner and preferred to be a “lone wolf”. The panelists were asked what their favorite line from the show was. Hill loves Peter Dinklage’s line: “I drink and I know things”. Coster-Waldau said: “Hold the door”. Wiliams loves Arya’s line: “Not today”.

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