Settle in, folks. It’s gonna be a long ass wait until we get to see the final six episodes of Game of Thrones. Season 7 pushed the premiere date out of the HBO juggernaut’s traditional spring slot, dropping the truncated penultimate season in the summer instead, but it sounds like we’re going to have to wait even longer to see how it all ends.
The series is gearing up for production right now. As we reported over the summer, Game of Thrones is scheduled to resume production one last time beginning in October, and TVGuide confirms with a note that the cast will get back to work on Sunday for a table read in Belfast.
Actor Liam Cunningham, who plays ruggedly handsome fan favorite and resident voice of common sense Davos Seaworth, also told the outlet filming would go up to summer of next year and bolstered the theory that the final episodes will have extended runtimes.
“[The episodes are] definitely going to be bigger and what I hear is longer. We’re filming right up until the summer. When you think about it, up until last season we’d have six months to do ten episodes, so we’re [doing] way more than that for six episodes. So that obviously will translate into longer episodes.”
Why would it take longer to film six episodes than it used to take to do ten? Well, if Season 7 was any indication, you can expect a whole lot of climactic battles and epic action sequences, which take a whole lot longer to shoot than the walk and talk scheming and politicking that dominated Game of Thrones earlier seasons. But there’s also another, less obvious reason — the storylines used to be divided, allowing for multiple units to work at the same time, but the narratives for the key players finally coalesced at the end of Season 7, meaning they’re all filming together.
Castmember Iain Glen, who plays the other ruggedly handsome fan favorite and resident voice of common sense, Ser Jorah Mormont, explained at Stockholm Comic-Con (h/t: Watchers on the Wall who dug up this Q&A from September):
““We’re all starting to occupy the same territory, we’re all starting to be in the same storylines and so they can’t [have two filming units] anymore,” he explained. “I think this last season will take much longer to shoot because they can only use one unit because we’re all in the same sort of scenes.”
If production runs up to summer of next year, it seems unlikely that we’ll be getting new episodes until 2019. The Night King and his army of the dead are in Westeros, there’s an ice dragon (dragon battles!), and no doubt more wildfire, battles, and epic scenes are on the way. That means a whole lot of post-production.
For now, we enter the “try not to get spoiled” phase as set photos and leaks will invariably emerge from filming. Word is, HBO is planning to film multiple endings to prevent the full-scale leaks that happened last season so at least we won’t know everything this time around. That means months and months of waiting. How is Jon going to react to the incest boat sex?! (Is it weird that I think Dany won’t care?) Why is Tyrion really being a creeper? Will Bran ever do anything of value with his superpowers?! The people need to know!