[Note: The original story has been updated with all new information about the Game of Thrones Season 8 production schedule and release date.]
While we’re all wrapped up in the seventh and penultimate season of Game of Thrones, HBO is hard at work prepping the final season. In fact, the final six scripts have already been written. But when will we see them? That’s a little less certain.
Earlier this year, we learned that Benioff and Weiss are penning the scripts for the final four episodes, with Dave Hill writing the season premiere and Bryan Cogman writing Episode 2. During HBO’s panel at the Television Critics Association press tour, network programming president Casey Bloys revealed that the final season of Game of Thrones has already been written and showrunner D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are in the process of storyboarding the episodes to determine how long the Season 8 shoot will need to be. “It’s a big season,” said Bloys. “They’re trying to get a sense of how long it’s going to take them to shoot this.”
That means Bloys doesn’t yet know if Game of Thrones will conclude in 2018 or if the final season will have to be pushed back to 2019. Season 7 was pushed back from the series traditional spring debut to a mid-summer premiere in order to accommodate filming. This season’s episodes are already running longer than usual and sound designer Paula Fairfield recently told fans at Con of Thrones that the final six could end up with feature-length runtimes, so if that proves to be true, that could also factor into the equation.Bloys said the episode length is also still TBD. “We haven’t had that discussion yet because I don’t know how long the episodes are gonna be,” he said. “Two hours per episode seems like it would be excessive, but it’s a great show, so who knows?”
While we may not know how long the final season will take to shoot, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau recently told us that production on the final season begins in October.
“I knew what was going to happen for the first three seasons. After that, it’s been a season at a time. You get the scripts a month before we start shooting, or six weeks, and then you know what’s going to happen that season. But, I don’t know what’s going to happen next season. We go back in October, so maybe in the next few weeks, we’ll get the scripts and I’ll find out. I’m very curious.”
Game of Thrones has traditionally taken about six months to film each season, and even though Season 7 was three episodes shorter than the standard ten-episode run, it also took a full six months to film due to its epic scope. So it stands to reason that even though Season 8 is only six episodes long, it will likely take just as long to shoot, especially if the creators are eyeing longer episodes.
Bloys also addressed the four spinoff series HBO currently has in development, confirming that no characters from the current show would turn up on any of the spinoffs. Bloys also made it clear that the spinoffs are a secondary focus to the final season of the mothership and fans shouldn’t expect any of the potential follow-up series to air any sooner than a year out from the Game of Thrones finale.
“The number one priority in all of this is the final season of Game of Thrones,” he said. “I don’t want any spinoff or anything that detracts or distracts from that,” Bloys explained. “That season will happen, my guess is it would be at least a year before you saw anything else. What I don’t want is the attention to be drawn from the final season, which I think is going to be epic and amazing, and somehow have the distraction of a new Game of Thrones airing right after it. I think it’s best to separate it, and that’s what we’ll do.”