Why ‘Game of Thrones’ fans might have to wait until 2019 for the final season

Daenerys Targaryen beach Game of Thrones season 7
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) on ‘Game of Thrones.’ HBO

The INSIDER Summary:

  • “Game of Thrones” season seven came to an end on August 28, 2017.
  • The eighth and final season won’t air on HBO until at least winter 2018.
  • But it might even be as late as 2019.
  • HBO confirmed the final season will only be six episodes long.
  • But each episode could be “feature film” length.

As the penultimate season of “Game of Thrones” comes to a close, fans are already looking ahead at the epic series’ true conclusion. But we still don’t know exactly when to expect the eighth and final season.

Entertainment Weekly’s James Hibberd spoke with HBO programming president Casey Bloys about the final season and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Hibberd asked about the timeline for the final “Game of Thrones” season.

Here’s that excerpt from the EW interview:

Hibberd: So as of now, the final season could air in 2018 and/or in 2019 depending on [Weiss and Benioff’s] needs? 
Bloys: Yeah. 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.

Jon Snow Beyond the Wall Game of Thrones
Kit Harington as Jon Snow on ‘Game of Thrones’ season seven. HBO

For its first six seasons, “Game of Thrones” consistently aired in the spring of each year. 2017 was the first year the show returned during the summer instead. This was due to production being pushed back in order to accommodate the “winter” needs for outdoor filming.

While we don’t know for certain, it’s safe to assume filming will once again be timed with the winter months. As of August 20, Watchers on the Wall reported pre-production for “Game of Thrones” was starting in Northern Ireland.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime Lannister, also said in an interview that he thinks filming for season eight will start in October 2017.

The silver lining is that the final season is sure to be epic. “Game of Thrones” sound designer Paula Fairfield broke important news at the first annual Con of Thrones. According to Fairfield, the final season might consist of six movie-length episodes.

The season seven finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” was 79 minutes and 43 seconds (HBO specified the exact length in a press release). The idea of having six finale-worthy episodes is exciting, but we should all be prepared for a long wait ahead. Night gathers, and now our watch begins.