Our years-long journey through Westeros is almost over. Once the explosive Season 7 draws to a close, Season 8 will be all that's left in the hit medieval fantasy saga. Sadly, the release window for the show's final chapter has been quite a challenge to figure out. HBO president of programming Casey Bloys previously mentioned the frustrating possibility of Season 8 not seeing the light of day until 2019.
Fans were understandably worried by this. Game of Thrones leaves us with enough cliffhangers between episodes as it is, so how would we be able to wait two years to know what comes next? Luckily, I have some good news for you. We may have an idea of when Season 8 will be released, and all signs point to it being much sooner than we thought.
#NikolajCosterWaldau (a.k.a. Jaime Lannister), spoke to Collider while promoting his new film, Shot Caller. During the interview, he revealed that the GoT cast will go behind the cameras once again for Season 8 this October:
“I knew what was going to happen for the first three seasons. After that, it’s been a season at a time. You get the scripts a month before we start shooting, or six weeks, and then you know what’s going to happen that season. But, I don’t know what’s going to happen next season. We go back in October, so maybe in the next few weeks, we’ll get the scripts and I’ll find out. I’m very curious.”
Hmmm, so it seems that Jaime lives through Season 7—thanks for the spoiler! Jokes aside, a filming date may not sound too interesting at first but let's face it, this is Game of Thrones we're talking about. We dissect every possible detail to get interesting insight for what's going on. With that in mind, Coster-Waldau's comments may have given us a pretty important clue:
Do We Finally Know When Season 8 Will Be Released?
Let's take a look at the production schedule for the seven seasons so far:
- Season 1 (released on April 17, 2011): July 2010 – December 2010
- Season 2 (released on April 1, 2012): July 2011 – December 2011
- Season 3 (released on March 31, 2013) : July 2012 – November 2012
- Season 4 (released on April 6, 2014): July 2013 – November 2013
- Season 5 (released on April 12, 2015): July 2014 – December 2014
- Season 6 (released on April 24, 2016): July 2015 – December 2015
- Season 7 (released on July 16, 2017): August 2016 – February 2017
On average, a season takes five months to wrap production, and then another five to be released. Keep in mind I'm speculating, but taking those schedules into account, and seeing how we know Season 8 will start production in October, the show's final chapter will probably come around September of 2018.
Since Season 8 is only six episodes long, shouldn't that mean its production process will be shorter? Not necessarily. Season 7 was only comprised of seven episodes –– three episodes shorter than previous seasons –– but it took roughly the same time to film as its predecessors due to difficult weather conditions on set and its considerably larger scale (Season 7 raised its production budget from an average of $6 million per episode to $10 million).
Now that things are coming to an end, #HBO wants the show to go out with a bang, and it looks like Season 8 will be equally or even more complex and explosive. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly in June, Casey Bloys hinted that Season 8 will be the series' biggest chapter:
"One of the hallmarks of the show has been how cinematic is it. The show has proven that TV is every bit as impressive and in many cases more so, than film. What they’re doing is monumental. When you see these battles in season 7, and what I imagine season 8 will be, it’s a big, big show. We've done a lot of great shows, but this one combines the complex characters we love with a huge cinematic scope. I think this is the first show to prove that can be done — and we're the first people to pay for it."
Taking those aspects into account, it's highly likely that Season 8 will benefit from the same development process as its predecessors, which in turn makes it dropping in September of next year all the more plausible. It feels great to have a sense of when our final trip through Westeros will arrive, because HBO will probably takes its time with an announcement. With Season 7, for example, the premiere date was announced a mere four months before its release.
Do you think Season 8 of Game of Thrones is actually coming late in 2018? What do you think we'll get to see in the show's finale chapter? Let me know in the comments!