‘Game Of Thrones’ SDCC Panel Spells The End Of Spoilers And Exclusives?

The annual Game of Thrones panel is usually the most highly anticipated event at San Diego Comic-Con. Fans often wait 24-48 hours to cram into Hall H and be the first to hear exclusive details about the blockbuster HBO drama.

The 2015 Game of Thrones panel was undeniably fun. Maisie Williams, Natalie Dormer, Alfie Allen, and Sophie Turner, collectively referred to by HBO as the “B tier cast,” rewarded fans with jokes and anecdotes. As the Huffington Post reports, Sophie Turner revealed that Theon Greyjon wore the same costume for the wedding of Sansa Stark and Ramsey Bolton that Robb Stark wore for the infamous Red Wedding. The costume showed no sign of repair from the numerous holes and bloodstains caused by the attack on Robb Stark, so this is likely an Easter egg treat for fans, rather than actually significant to the plot. The Game of Thrones B tier cast were joined by Conleth Hill, John Bradley, Hannah Murray, Gwendoline Christie, Liam Cunningham, and Carice Van Houten.

But the panel, while entertaining, was light on the kind of exclusive details and first looks that fans have come to expect from Comic-Con in general. Which begs the question, why was this year different?

For starters, none of the Game of Thrones A tier cast attended the panel or the San Diego Comic-Con. Kit Harrington presumably made his final appearance at San Diego Comic-Con last year, at least if the showrunner and director are telling the truth. Lena Headey gave birth to her second child over the weekend, a daughter rumored to be fathered by Game of Thrones co-star Pedro Pascal. Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau were nowhere to be seen.

The creative forces behind Game of Thrones didn’t attend Comic-Con either. George R.R. Martin announce months ago that he would not attend Comic-Con so that he could devote that time to finish the next book in the series, The Winds of Winter. D.B. Weiss and David Benioff did not attend Comic-Con and gave no reason for their absence, but could they be trying desperately to avoid accidentally dropping spoilers?

Vanity Fair thinks so. During the Comic-Con panel, Natalie Dormer revealed that the cast hasn’t seen many of the scripts for Season 6 of Game of Thrones. The level of secrecy surrounding Season 6 has already surpassed previous seasons, but that didn’t stop audition clips from leaking in late June and potentially spoiling part of the Mereen plot line.

Game of Thrones Season 6 marks the first time the series has moved ahead of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels. For the first time in series history, nobody knows what’s going to happen aside from the production team. That opens a world of swerves and anticipation to Weiss and Benioff, and if Comic-Con is any indication, they intend to fully capitalize on it. So expect fewer spoilers for Game of Thrones, for better or worse.

[Image by Kevin Winter / Getty Images Entertainment]