Sadly, Alan Taylor will be out of the mix for directing the upcoming season (which will be based on the first half of the third and potentially best book so far of the novel series, A Storm of Swords). Taylor, who directed some of the most memorable episodes of Thrones so far (including the final two episodes of the first season and a slew of great episodes this past season) will be busy shooting Thor 2 (bless him), which means that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will take the helm directing in his absence. For more on who is returning to Westeros next year, hit the jump.
Also directing episodes for the third season are Alex Graves, Michelle MacLaren, as well as veteran Thrones directors Dan Minahan, David Nutter and Alik Sakharov. Of the new guard, it appears MacLaren is well known to AMC, where she has directed a number of Breaking Bad episodes (which has me sold), as well as a few episodes of The Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels (the titles of which, it should be noted, could actually all describe various aspects Game of Thrones).
As for the writing staff, Benioff and Weiss will continue to be joined by Bryan Cogman and Vanessa Taylor, along with George R.R. Martin, who has said he will write the seventh of the rumored ten episodes, “Autumn Storms.” Martin-penned episodes are usually the best, but of course he really needs to be finishing up The Winds of Winter …
Westeros itself will still be represented by Belfast, Croatia and (beyond the Wall) Iceland, but a new locale – Morocco – has been added presumably as the backdrop for Dany’s (totally badass) exploits across the narrow sea.
Production on the third season, which will mostly likely cover the first half of A Storm of Swords (and likely end with one of two rouge-colored events. That’s not a spoiler, that’s a three-eyed raven), begins next month. The series will return in April of 2013.
[Production information via EW]