Game of Thrones season 8 is on the horizon, and expectation for the HBO blockbuster is intensifying. Casey Bloys, HBO president of programming, has already confirmed that season 8 will be the final Game of Thrones production, as has previously been stated by show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
2019 release date
But the latest revelations suggest that this massive television season may not appear on our screens until 2019. Naturally there is huge expectation regarding the final episodes of probably the most popular television program in the world, and this could delay production quite significantly.
The rumors regarding the release date of Game of Thrones season 8 first emanated from a report in Entertainment Weekly. The aforementioned Bloys was interviewed by the publication, and indicated that writing the possible 12 hours of Game of Thrones material could take quite some time.
“They have to write the episodes and figure out the production schedule. We’ll have a better sense of that once they get further into the writing,” Bloys commented.
Image Source: GameOfThrones / HBO / YouTube video (screenshot)
Rumors ahead of Game of Thrones season 8 suggest that it may consist entirely of feature-length episodes. This is an interesting proposition, as the only previous show to run for this length was the final episode of season 7, and even this was only 80 minutes long.
Con of Thrones revelation
But the fan event Con of Thrones featured reports that feature-length episodes of the drama were likely for season 8. At this stage, the producers and writers involved in Game of Thrones certainly need to produce something outstanding and out of the ordinary in order to surprise and interest the audience, and this cinematic quality could be the ideal approach.
Whether fans will welcome the 18-months delay for Game of Thrones season 8 is highly doubtful, but at least it will be somewhat worthwhile if they ultimately receive six mini-movies.
Nonetheless, although the final release of Game of Thrones may be some distance away, pre-production is already ongoing. HBO have already decided to set some of the shoot in Belfast, Ireland once more, with the capital city of Northern Ireland having been the base of operations for Game of Thrones over the last few years.
Production teams from Game of Thrones have been located at some of the most famous castles in Ireland, while the Roman amphitheater in Spain was also used for the “Dragonpit” in the Game of Thrones season 7 finale.
But reports have also suggested that key personnel from HBO have been examining Sweden and Norway as possible settings for season 8. It seems that Norway has been identified as being particularly attractive, so it will be interesting to see which locations are utilized. It has been suggested on fan pages that Game of Thrones season 8 will particularly focus on wolves, which are resident in northern Europe.
Another issue regarding production of a Game of Thrones season 8 is the wintry weather required in order to convey atmosphere. This will delay shooting, and it is expected that the filming for this eighth season of Game of Thrones will not conclude until March 2018. Considering the vast post-production required for six feature length episodes of the drama, this means that it is almost inevitable that the production will miss the July 2018 start date that had been mooted at one time.
While fan favorites from season 7 are all expected to be retained for the forthcoming filming of Game of Thrones, some intriguing new background characters are also anticipated. For example, Mark Gattis indicated that his Iron Banker character, Tycho Nestoris, will reappear for two episodes in season 8, which could represent quite a significant amount of screen time considering the length of each episode.
Gattis previously appeared in Sherlock, and is expected to check into the Game of Thrones season 8 in order to acquaint himself with his investment in Cersei Lannister in her current war.
Fans have been excited by the return of Miguel Sapochnik to the series, associated with two of the most cinematographically stunning episodes in the history of the series. “The Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter” where both hugely acclaimed, so it will be intriguing to see what Sapochnik has in mind for the latest episodes.
Other directors will also be involved in season 8, but the finale will be particularly interesting, as runners Beinhoff and Weiss will be directing! This does seem like an appropriate way to end what has been a phenomenally successful series, and it will be interesting to see how the drama is brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
HBO has declined to provide any information on who will be directing which Game of Thrones season 8 episode, beyond the final one, but we do also know that David Nutter will be involved. Nutter has been responsible for directing six previous hours of Game of Thrones, including the highly regarded “The Rains of Castamere”, which was the penultimate episode of the season three.
While acting and directing are always hugely important, no drama series can ever be remotely credible without good writing. So the efforts of Benioff and Weiss to draft in quality writers for the final season of this stellar production will obviously be a major focus of preparation.
Unusually, speaking at the South by Southwest event this year, Benioff and Weiss revealed all of the writing team behind this final series of the fantasy drama, with the very first episode being penned by Dave Hill. This sounds like a very safe pair of hands for the introductory episode, as Hill has been an assistant and story editor to the main runners since the second season of Game of Thrones.
Episode two will be written by Bryan Cogman, while the final four episodes have all been written by Benioff and Weiss themselves. Clearly the runners want some hands-on involvement in this final Game of Thrones season.
Game of Thrones season 8 ending
No one is quite sure what to expect from the finale of Game of Thrones season 8, and this is particularly true as the producers will be keeping the ending under wraps. Bloys told The Morning Call that “I know in Game of Thrones, the ending, they’re going to shoot multiple versions so nobody really know what happens. You have to do that on a long show because when you’re shooting something, people know. So they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that there’s no definitive answer until the end”.
Certainly appetites will be whetted by this news, even if we may have to wait until well into 2019 to see this final instalment of the classic television series.