Game of Thrones Season 8 is coming, but not until 2019. After months of speculation, HBO finally confirmed the news in an official statement on Thursday.
“The epic fantasy series Game of Thrones will return for its six-episode, eighth and final season in 2019. David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik will be the directors for the new season. Writers for the new season are David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill. The executive producers of the series are David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger and Bernadette Caulfield. Co-executive producers are Bryan Cogman, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis and George R.R. Martin.”
It’s a short and curt press release, perhaps foreshadowing its final season. Game of Thrones will take its final bow with its shortest season ever, with just six episodes.
Season 8 may be short, but the wait for it is terribly long. The high-rating show will be taking more than a year off from television. The series will return–and end–in 2019, although HBO did not confirm the exact month and date. While this confirmation is bad news for most GoT fans, there’s a silver lining to the long wait. Here’s what to expect from the epic fantasy series once it returns on screen in 2019.
Shorter Season, Longer Episodes
Game of Thrones has consistently consisted of 10 episodes for its first six years. Last year’s Season 7 broke the mold and had only seven episodes. Despite being shorter, each episode was longer and more cinematic than usual. Fans could expect the same for Season 8.
According to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the one-and-a-half year delay would allow them to craft the show’s last episodes to be “spectacular and satisfying,” Entertainment Weekly reported. According to Thrillist, each episode is reported to have a budget of roughly $15 million.
Additionally, Benioff and D.B. Weiss will be more hands-on in the upcoming season. The two will be directing at least one episode of Game of Thrones Season 8. Fan-favorite directors will return as well. There’s Miguel Sapochnik, who crafted the famous “Battle of the Bastards” episode, and David Nutter, the one behind Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame scene.
Because Game of Thrones the series has now gone past the novels, no one knows how it will end. One thing is certain, though. It will be bittersweet. George R.R. Martin has previously teased an emotional ending to his masterpiece, and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) agreed. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actress confirmed that they have already started production for GoT Season 8, and everyone is emotional on set. She also hinted an epic finale.
“The first day of the actors coming in and that kind of production starting, the day where we had the final read-through for the final script, it was really bittersweet. It was hard. At the end of the very last script, they read aloud, ‘End of Game of Thrones.’ As soon as they read that out, pretty much everyone burst into tears,” Sophie Turner said.
“It’s definitely more epic this season, for sure. It grows and grows and grows. There are bigger and more fantastical elements, which have always been underlying throughout, but this time, it’s really emerging and there are very big roles this season.”
Jason Momoa, who played Khal Drogo back in Season 1, revealed that he recently visited the GoT Season 8 set and was blown away by what he saw.
“It’s going to be the greatest thing that’s ever aired on TV. It’s going to be unbelievable. It’s going to f*** up a lot of people,” the former Game of Thrones actor said.
More Time For Spoilers, Prequels, And Books
HBO has always dealt with spoilers and leaks for its biggest show for the past seven seasons. For Season 8, the network should plan for better security. Because of the long wait, fans are likely to come up with more ways to get their hands on scripts and possible leaks.
Fans are also expecting George R.R. Martin to release the remaining books in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. The author has previously teased that book number six, The Winds of Winter, might be published this year. The last book, A Dream of Spring, is expected to be released after the TV series.
HBO has also confirmed that there are several GoT prequels currently in development. Although there is no official plot yet, George R.R. Martin is said to be involved with the possible shows as well. Fans could hope that pushing back Game of Thrones Season 8 to 2019 will give the network and its creative team ample time to plan the prequels.