But we’re looking forward to Game of Thrones Season 8 already, so here’s absolutely everything we know about the show’s final episodes, including release date, casting news and trailers.
Jaime Lannister will appear in all episodes of the final season despite earlier reports suggesting otherwise
Executive producer Bryan Cogman has teased what fans can expect to see in the final six episodes
When is Game of Thrones Season 8 returning?
Game of Thrones Season 8 was originally slated to return in late 2018 or early 2019. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, previously suggested that the show would return in 2019 during an interview with Variety, and HBO officially confirmed that news on January 4.
The new teaser trailer for Season 8, released on November 13, confirms that the series will air in April, but no specific day has been announced.
How Will Season 8 start?
Although details remain pretty scant on the ground as a whole, we’ve been provided with a few telling glimpses of how Season 8 will start.
As revealed by EntertainmentWeekly, things will get rather cyclical.
It’s said to hark back to the first ever episode, and we’ll see the Starks awaiting the arrival of a royal visitor in Westerfell. But instead of King Robert, the episode will see the arrival of Daenerys Targaryen.
It is also told that we should expect some pretty terse showdowns between major characters – Sansa is expected to become angry at Jon Snow for bending the knee.
We are told that the confrontations between characters, some of whom have never met before, will be tense. One example is that Sansa expresses her displeasure over Jon Snow bending the knee.
Producer Bryan Cogman also believes that the show will flip the vision of George RR Martin on its head.
“[Season 8] is about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death,” Cogman said.
“It’s an incredibly emotional, haunting, bittersweet final season, and I think it honours very much what George set out to do – which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”
How will season 8 end?
While we don’t know the details of the plotline yet, some of the show’s stars have hinted at how the final episode might leave fans feeling. Sophie Turner is the latest, suggesting it could be a divisive finale.
“To be able to act out the way that it all ends, it was really satisfying for us,” she told IGN. “Who knows if it will be satisfying for the fans? I think a lot of fans will be disappointed and a lot of fans will be over the moon, I think.”
She continued: “It will be really interesting to see people’s reactions, but for me reading the script, it was just heartbreaking to read. At the very final page of the script, it just says, ‘End of Game of Thrones‘ [and] that was really emotional.”
Speaking to EntertainmentWeekly, Turner also discussed the emotional toll of concluding filming on the show.
“I still don’t accept that it’s done,” she said. “It’s basically been the majority of my life. I’m still very much processing it.”
Turner also says she was joined by fellow cast members on her final day, while showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss provided a handwritten note for her alongside a storyboard of their favourite Sansa Stark moment.
Unsurprisingly, filming proved a very secretive process.
Every battle.— Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) November 13, 2018
All #ForTheThrone. pic.twitter.com/WReVt473SH
“We have a whole different name for it when we’re shooting it. I think this season it was like The Tree of Life or something”, she explained to Vulture.
They also use a specialised device that kills any drones flying over the set.
“I don’t know how it does it. It creates like this field around and the drones just drop,” she said. “Also, we shoot fake scenes. We got into costume in Croatia because we know the paparazzi lurk around there, so we would spend like half a day doing nothing.”
Executive producer Bryan Cogman has teased what will happen in the final episodes of Game of Thrones, saying that they will honour George R.R Martin’s original intentions.
He said: “[Season 8] is all about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death.”
He added: “It’s an incredibly emotional, haunting, bittersweet final season, and I think it honours very much what George set out to do – which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”
Who’s going to die in season 8?
As Entertainment Weekly reports, a data scientist has done loads of maths with 2,000 characters from GoT and figured out the likelihood of various character deaths. You can see them below – with Daenerys at the most risk:
Daenerys Targaryen – 83.77%
Jaime Lannister – 72.91%
Tyrion Lannister – 70.76%
Bran Stark – 66.02%
Cersei Lannister – 60.39%
Jon Snow – 58.99%
Euron Greyjoy – 54.95%
Sansa Stark – 50.28%
Arya Stark – 49.04%
Gendry – 39.87%
Sean Bean, meanwhile, believes that only one from House Stark will be standing at the end of the show.
After meeting recently with the entire cast, Sean suggested that only one will survive.
“Who’s left?” Sean told Mashable.
“Jon Snow is left, isn’t he? But Arya would have to be it. Yeah Arya will last—maybe she’ll be on the throne.”
What have HBO said about season 8?
The full statement reads:
“The epic fantasy series Game of Thrones will return for its six-episode, eighth and final season in 2019.
David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik will be the directors for the new season. Writers for the new season are David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill.
The executive producers of the series are David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger and Bernadette Caulfield. Co-executive producers are Bryan Cogman, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis and George R.R. Martin.”
Why will season 8 take so long?
In January 2018, HBO boss Casey Bloys spoke to Entertainment Weekly to explain the long wait.
“Here’s what I’ll tell you,” he said. “They take the time they need to do the show at its highest level of quality. As the show has gone on, it’s gotten bigger — big battle scenes, big special effects.”
He continued: “These things take time. Here’s the one thing I can assure you: Dan and Dave were not sitting around on a beach waiting to go back to work. They’re perfectionists and this is the soonest it can come back at a level of quality that they are comfortable with.”
How many episodes will there be in Game of Thrones Season 8?
As confirmed by show runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, Game of Thrones Season 8 will feature just six episodes. Though it is likely that each episode will be a feature-length, so anything from 60 mins to 120 minutes.
Speaking about the end of the show, Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark) has said: “It won’t go the way some people want. It will be too happy for some people, or too sad, or too whatever. That’s the nature of an ending… Nothing more is coming, and the certainty of it being over will definitely bother people.”
Talking about shooting the final season, Maisie Williams told NME: “It’s the end of an era. Everyone’s playing it cool, at the moment I’m focused on absolutely nailing it – I have an expectation in my head of how I want it to be, how I want this to go. I just really hope I achieve that. Because sometimes, looking back you can tell ‘yeah, I wasn’t concentrating enough’. I just want to live and breathe every minute of this season because once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Addressing concerns that six episodes were not enough to complete the show’s storyline, Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei) told Metro: “It definitely will not be a rushed conclusion. They’ve taken the exact number of hours to tell the story they want to tell and it will be brilliant. [Show bosses] will never leave the fans unsatisfied, they won’t leave the fans left short, it will go over and above the fans expectations as they do every season.”
Director David Nutter has also seemingly confirmed that each episode will be longer than 60 minutes.
“Season eight episodes will all I think be longer than 60 minutes”, he admitted during a Reddit AMA.
“They’ll be dancing around the bigger numbers, I know that for sure.”
When asked why fans had to wait almost two years for new episodes, he replied: Things take time my friends — they take a lot of time to create and GoT is the last place you’re going to find half baked work so it’s all about making sure they fill the frame with as much capacity as possible and making it as real and right as possible.
“Small price to pay for the amazing quality that comes out of that show.”
Will there be any new characters in Game of Thrones Season 8?
The gigantic cast list for the show has been expanding season-on-season since its inception – and yet more are being added for season 8. According to fansite Watchers on the Wall, the first major casting for season 8 has been made for a character called Harry Strickland – who, in the books, is the leader of a mercenary group called The Golden Company.
You may remember in season 7 we learned that Cersei had sent Euron to fetch the Golden Company from over the sea in the eastern land of Essos, to help her conquer Westeros. Fans initially theorised that Daenerys’ old friend Daario Naharis might be leading this group, which might have challenged his allegiances to Cersei – but it looks as though this theory has been scuppered, and Strickland will be a brand-new villain. Strickland is reported to be played by Marc Rissmann (The Last Kingdom, Into The Badlands) after his Thrones character’s name was added to (then deleted from) his CV and his agent’s website. He is expected to appear in two episodes.
Another actor has also been cast, according to Lisa Richards Agency. Seamus O’Hara will play Fergus, according to his Spotlight page. Fergus is not a name from the books, so there’s no knowing what his character will do yet.
According to Watchers, more castings are due soon: they are for characters currently referred to as ‘Northern farmer, 25-35’, ‘Sassy and attractive girl, 18-25’, ‘Northern sentry, 18-25’, ‘Sailor, 35-50’ and a couple of guards, in their 20s and 30s. See the full descriptions here.
Watchers has also reported that a new character from the Frey clan may appear. Danielle Galligan has been cast as character named Sarra, and Watchers have noted that the only Sarra to appear in the A Song Of Ice and Fire book series is Sarra Frey – one of Walder Frey’s granddaughters. Game of Thrones has been known to recycle common names for small characters – but this one seems to close to just be a coincidence.
Also joining the cast is EastEnders star Alice Nokes, who Watchers report will be playing a non-book character called Willa. Though the credit now appears to be deleted from her agency CV, ‘Willa’ is thought to be appearing in episode one, two or four of Game of Thrones season 8.
Is Game of Thrones Season 8 the last series?
Alas, yes. The showrunners have opted to split the final seasons into a smaller runs, but will make lengthier episodes. But basically, it’s endgame for these characters and maybe Westeros.
In an interview with Metro Williams has explained the difficulties of shooting the final season. On seeing the script she said she thought it would be “an impossible challenge” to shoot. “For the final season as a whole it was just so impressive,” she said. “My first real thought was, ‘Oh god, we have to shoot this now. And it is kind of an impossible challenge. It will be really difficult’. I am currently on my way to a night shoot, which is week four of 12 weeks of night shoots. It’s just huge. The task is huge. But, there’s no better way to leave the show, to be honest.”
Sophie Turner recently revealed what each cast member was presented with once they finished filming. “I wrapped shooting in Spain – like, the whole of Game of Thrones,” Turner told Digital Spy. “But I remember the first time, when I wrapped in Belfast with the crew that we worked with so often, it was in the Winterfell courtyard.)
“I wasn’t even shooting there, but the director, David Nutter, called me into the courtyard, because he knew it was my last day on set. He said to the whole crew, ‘Sansa Stark is leaving Winterfell for the last time.’
“As you can imagine, I bawled my eyes out,” she added. “Then David and Dan presented each actor with their favourite scene of their character in a storyboard, with a little note on the back. That set me off as well. As soon as they brought that out… And the documentary crew saw me. It was just a nightmare, to be honest – I was just bawling.”
Is there a Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer?
A teaser trailer was released in November, titled ‘For The Throne’.
HBO have also released a few seconds of footage as part of their upcoming new TV preview. The video begins with Daenerys asking, “Shall we begin?” Later, Jon Snow is seen asking her: “So what happens now?” She replies: “Something extraordinary.
Further along in the montage, Snow tells Cersei Lannister: “There’s only one war that matters.” The Queen of the Seven Kingdoms responds: “We’ll face it together.” Then, Daenerys is seen commanding her dragon as he unleashes fire on people below.
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