It looks like Maisie Williams was off by a bit with her claim that Game of Thrones will be back in April, made during her interview with Metro. The timeline made sense because in order for the show to qualify for the 2019 Emmy Awards, it would have to be on-air by May 31. While there was no official backing of her timeline, no one from HBO was saying anything against it. Then a few reports starting trickling that the show might not air until the end of April or early May. Then there were rumors it might be the last weekend in May before it appeared. Now, there is a definite delay beyond that of an unspecified time.
According to visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer, Game of Thrones is not going to be ready until sometime in the summer per Huffington Post. He said, “In two years we’ll be eligible for the Season 8 work, which we’re just beginning now.” That means he has already conceded the show will not be out in time for the 2019 awards, which means a June premiere at best. For fans of the show who have had their hopes pinned to seeing the show soon, its time to reassess.
“We’re going to be toiling away on Season 8 until May of 2019, so it’s eight or nine months away. But the prequel is starting to shoot in February, at least the pilot. So we’ll still have quite a lot to do on Season 8 when they’re beginning.”
— Game Of Thrones Art (@thronesartclub) August 24, 2018
With that statement, Bauer dashed the remaining hope fans were clinging to for a spring release. Early rumors had it that all of the episodes wouldn’t be eligible until the 2020 awards because it would not have aired six episodes prior to May 31. A small loophole in the rules stipulates if a show has aired six episodes prior to the cutoff date, all episodes in the season are award-eligible in that year. However, with Bauer saying visual effects won’t even be completed until May, post-production will be delayed another month, possibly more, and suddenly an August release looks like the most likely scenario.
The hole in that theory is that an August release is a bad time to release any show, and September and October premieres tend to fare better. Of course, Game of Thrones is not the average show and it can draw ratings anytime it airs, but the premiere date does have to work in regards to what HBO already has scheduled and what they hope to surround the show with to get a little ratings boost.
“We had seven years to build up to this moment where he finally says no to her. His whole life has been about trying to navigate around her and protect her and do whatever he could to do to be there for her." – @nikolajcw on #GameofThrones (via @etnow): https://t.co/iOwkX34TBv
— Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) August 20, 2018
There are still those who contend that the first episode could roll out at the end of May and that HBO could continue working on the remaining episodes as they become ready since they are mostly completed. For their part, HBO is not commenting on their plans. Also, given the amount of time between now and the spring, if Bauer and his team were to get ahead of schedule, everything could be accelerated. No one really knows what will happen between now and then to change the pace of the show’s production, but it seems safe that fans won’t be seeing any episodes until at least June.