It’s weird to be talking about an impending new season of Game of Thrones in June, but here we are. For the penultimate season of HBO’s most successful series, proper winter conditions were needed and thus production for Season 7 didn’t begin until last fall instead of the standard July start-date. Which is why Game of Thrones Season 7 isn’t premiering until next month. But the wait will hopefully be worth it, as creators/showrunners/writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently sat down for an interview with EW in which they teased some tantalizing details about what fans can expect from the second to last season of the series.
For one, Weiss says we can expect some exciting reunions for characters that haven’t shared the screen together in a very long time:
“To me what’s most exciting is being able to play interactions between various characters that for years we haven’t been able to play. There’s a whole bunch of reunions and first time meetings that people have been waiting for for a long time and when you put it on paper you just want to do justice to the work that these guys have done building these characters over so many years. You want to give them as much as you can.”
Weiss also confirmed that the pace for Season 7 is faster:
“The scope of the story naturally has increased season to season. That also probably feeds in a little bit into the pacing, that things are coming to a head and the war is here. It’s this urgency from within the story that drives the pace rather than any external decision. Things are moving faster because in the world of these characters the war that they’ve been waiting for is upon them, the conflicts that have been building the past six years are upon them and those facts give them a sense of urgency that makes them move faster.”
It wasn’t necessarily planned out that way, however, as Benioff says when they sat down to write the penultimate season, they realized the scope was massive:
“When we thought about this penultimate season we thought it would be ramp into the final season with less action and more conversations. And I think we told [executive producer Bernie Caulfield] that and then we started planning the actual season and started realizing all the conflicts that were about to occur.”
Case in point: They shot two battles at the same time this year:
“It’s the first time we shot two battles at the same time in different countries [Spain and Northern Ireland]. It was really hard in terms of a strain on resources and manpower. That was a difficult month but we managed to get through it.”
We already know that Game of Thrones Season 7 will feature one of the longest episodes of the series, but Weiss reveals that there are two episodes that are over an hour in length this year while Benioff adds that the season will also feature one of the shortest episodes thus far:
“One will be our longest episode ever; the current cut is significantly longer. It always amazed me when I watched Breaking Bad and they could get every episode so perfect and they would all be like 42 minutes and 40 seconds or something. Which is its own separate skill amongst everything else that went into making a show that [creator] Vince Gilligan and his team were able to do. One of the things we’re lucky about is we don’t have the same pressure. We have one episode that’s coming in around 90 minutes and another that’s going to be our shortest episode at 50 minutes. Those episodes are better those lengths but I’m glad we didn’t have the additional pressure Vince had.”
That length will come as good news to fans given that Season 7 only consists of seven episodes in total, while Season 8 will only have six. Benioff and Weiss are currently in the midst of writing the final season, but Benioff says it hasn’t yet been decided if Game of Thrones will return in 2018 or if that final season might be delayed until 2019:
“We honestly don’t know yet. There’s been a lot of back and forth about air dates. That’s a long way off from being settled.”
We do know that anticipation is at a fever pitch for Season 7, and these teases from Benioff and Weiss only make the wait that much more difficult. Luckily Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres on July 16th.