HBO’s hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones returns for its penultimate season this year. The Season 7 premiere will mark the beginning of the end for Game of Thrones, as its showrunners wrap up George R.R. Martin’s momentous story. But what do we know so far about Game of Thrones Season 7?
This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7.
When does Game of Thrones return to our screens?
Whilst HBO typically airs new seasons of Game of Thrones in early April, according to Digital Spy, this year it’ll premiere a little later, in the summer. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss confirmed the shift in scheduling, saying “We’re starting a bit later because at the end of this season, ‘Winter is here’ – and that means that sunny weather doesn’t really serve our purposes anymore.” A release date of June 25 previously appeared on IMDb, however, it was swiftly removed.
Filming for the new season is already believed to be complete. According to the Independent, actress Emilia Clarke shared an Instagram video earlier this month, confirming that they’ve wrapped the “mindblower” new season of the show. With that in mind, the new season is very likely to now be in the production stage.
Which cast members are returning?
Game of Thrones is well known for its large ensemble cast, however, that cast has drastically reduced in size over the past few years, given the show’s brutality. The show’s leading cast members Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Lena Headey (Cersei), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime) have all signed on for Season 7 and 8. The five leading actors will each be paid a reported $1.1 million per episode going forward, however, that doesn’t mean their characters will survive until the end.
Back in 2014, Natalie Dormer (Margaery) also signed on for the show’s seventh season, along with Sophie Turner (Sansa) and Maisie Williams (Arya). However, her character was killed off in the explosive Wildfire scene at the end of Season 7. With that in mind, current casting is no guarantee of a character’s survival in Game of Thrones.
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How many episodes will there be?
As aforementioned, Game of Thrones Season 7 will be the fantasy drama’s penultimate season, with only one season left in it following the conclusion of Season 7. When HBO renewed Game of Thrones for its seventh season back in 2016, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss confirmed how long the show has left in it, saying “From pretty close to the beginning, we talked about doing this in 70-75 hours, and that’s what we’ll end up with. Call it 73 for now.”
Given the show has already aired for a total of 60 hours, that leaves just 13 remaining. HBO has since confirmed that Game of Thrones will be just seven episodes long this year in order to accommodate for the larger production values of the show’s penultimate season. That will leave Season 8 with just six episodes.
There’s no doubt about it, Game of Thrones is coming to an end. The show’s seventh and penultimate season is set to air at some point this summer and will leave the show with its final cast of characters going into the eighth and final season. However, fans shouldn’t be too disappointed, as HBO has already expressed a good deal of interest in creating a Game of Thrones spin-off and with the hugely expansive world created by George R.R. Martin, that should be more than possible.
[Featured Image by HBO]