Winter is here, but there’s a price to be paid. We’ve been promised since the pilot of Game of Thrones that “Winter is coming,” and now that it’s finally arrived, it comes with a caveat: you’re gonna have to wait. We heard rumblings recently that production on Game of Thrones Season 7 would begin later than usual as showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss need their locations to be more wintery, and now HBO has confirmed as such, not only revealed that filming won’t begin at the end of July like past seasons, but the Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere date has been pushed back from its normal March/April debut to Summer 2017. That means Game of Thrones will not be eligible for the 2017 Emmy Awards, and thus will have to sit next year’s ceremony out before returning in 2018.
But that’s not all! Sorry folks, there’s one more piece of bad news: Game of Thrones Season 7 will consist of just seven episodes, not 10 like past seasons. We knew that this penultimate season might be shorter given that Benioff and Weiss had previously said they only had about 13 episodes of story left to tell and that it’d be spread across two seasons, so this means Game of Thrones Season 8—the final season—will likely only be six episodes long, although I’d be surprised if the series finale wasn’t a supersized two-hour episode.
So yeah, this may not be great news for Game of Thrones fans, but it is the result of the most popular show on television winding down. And you know what? They’re going out on their own terms. While fans would no doubt have eagerly consumed three or four more seasons of Game of Thrones before getting tired, Benioff and Weiss are confident that they only have a handful of episodes’ worth of story left to tell, thus Game of Thrones will avoid the risk of wearing out its welcome like some other wildly popular series (*cough* The Walking Dead *cough*). Good on them.
Production on Game of Thrones Season 7 will be based in Northern Ireland, with additional filming taking place in Spain and Iceland. Hmm, I wonder what could possibly be shooting in the snow-covered landscapes of Iceland?
As previously announced, Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World), Jeremy Podeswa (“Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”), Mark Mylod (“High Sparrow”), and Matt Shakman (Fargo Season 1) will be directing Season 7’s episodes. Look for potentially more Game of Thrones news during the show’s Comic-Con panel this Friday.