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House of Cards fans got a quick, early look at the third season of Netflix’s hit series this past week when the entire upcoming slate of episodes briefly appeared on the streaming service two weeks before its official debut.
Netflix took down the 13 new episodes roughly 20 minutes after they appeared but not before fans started watching them, with journalists and bloggers eagerly writing down everything they gleaned from what they saw (the hour-long episode kept playing for those who hit play before the third season was taken down).
But House of Cards showrunner Beau Willimon wasn’t upset by the sneak peek and was encouraged by how it stoked the anticipation for the third season, which will officially hit Netflix on Feb. 27.
“I thought it was great,” he told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet for the Writers Guild Awards’ East Coast ceremony, where House of Cards was nominated for best drama series. “I was actually very amused by the whole thing and then delighted to see what a huge response we got from the fans. So many people are excited about what’s going to happen two weeks from now.”
Furthermore, he doesn’t think fans were able to learn everything that happens in season three, and even some of what people are speculating based on the sneak peek isn’t necessarily right, he said.
“No harm done,” he added. “We take great care, obviously, to keep as much of the story secret as possible and there a little bit of the story was let out but there are plenty of surprises ahead. Twenty minutes is not enough for people to have figured everything out.”
“There’s plenty of speculation on the Web in terms of what people gathered from watching those first 20 minutes or people who scrubbed ahead to subsequent episodes. And all I will say is some of that speculation is right and some of it is wrong,” he told THR, laughing. “But I won’t tell you which is which.”
Willimon added that he still loves being able to work on the political drama.
“We set out knowing that we had two seasons guaranteed but no expectations that we’d necessarily go beyond that. It’s very difficult to make a show that connects with a lot of people that has a long life,” he said. “We’re so overwhelmed with responses in season one and then again in season two that this all feels like icing on the cake. Every new scene, new episode that we get to film, we’re getting to live our dream. We’re getting to tell the story we want to tell, collaborate with a lot of people we want to collaborate with, and a lot of people seem to care about it. I don’t know what more we could ask for.”
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