Everyone knows that it's not the size that counts, it's what you do with it that matters, and it looks like HBO's Game of Thrones is keeping this in mind for its final run. Fans were already left out in the cold when they found out that Season 7 had slashed its usual 10 episode run to just seven, but then the Valyrian dagger was twisted further as it was revealed that Season 8 would be an abridged finale of only six episodes. Now, in a strange change of fortune, the cast and crew are saying that the show's epic swansong will take even longer to film.
Patience Is A Virtue
We have already heard how Season 8 is raiding the Iron Bank to bring us the most expensive episodes ever, but now various reports are touting a filming schedule that is nearly as lengthy as the Long Night. Speaking to TV Guide, Liam Cunningham teased his return as Ser Davos "Onion Knight" Seaworth and a grueling filming schedule:
“[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.”
There is good news though, Cunningham's interview is already teasing longer episodes to make up for that all-too short trip back to the Seven Kingdoms. While it may be a bit grim in the colder climes of the North, it sounds like our stars had better get used to an extended cold snap. However, there may be another reason for a longer filming schedule, as Lord Friendzone Iain Glen told Comic Con Stockholm (via Winter is Coming) that the show is technically down-sizing in its final year. In the past, Thrones has used two (or even three) production units, but with most of the characters no longer with us, and everyone else heading in the same direction, it makes sense to only have the one:
"As we narrowed it down and we’re entering this kind of end-game…we’re all starting to occupy the same territory. We’re all starting to be in the same storylines. 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."
Filming for those still left alive in the realm starts later this month, yet while a usual Thrones shoot would only take until April, Cunningham's claims that they'll be shooting "right up until the summer," doesn't bode well for a timely release. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were already setting aside a year and a half to lovingly craft the end to their ice and fire saga, so all the pieces seem to fit for that rumored long wait until 2019.
Whatever happens, there is some serious talent on board for our final foray into the world of George R.R. Martin. Even if we have to wait until 2029, Game of Thrones Season 8 is sure to be flying its banners high for one hell of a fire-breathing farewell.
Check out where we left Game of Thrones in that shocking finale, and don't forget our poll below: