The long wait for “Game of Thrones” Season 8 just got even longer. HBO has not set an official premiere date for the final season, but it’s now looking increasingly likely that “Thrones” won’t be back on the air until 2019. The series has never been off the air for an entire year (the Season 7 premiere was delayed two months because of production but still debuted over the summer), but it’s now extremely doubtful the show will return at any point in summer 2018.
Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos Seaworth, revealed to TV Guide that production on the final season is expected to last from October until the start of the summer, which is around when the show would usually begin airing on HBO.
“[The episodes are] definitely going to be bigger and what I hear is longer,” he said. “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.”
Each episode of Season 8 is expected to be feature length, which is why production on the six-episode season will rival the length of shooting a traditional ten-episode season. Most “Game of Thrones” seasons have wrapped filming in December, giving the show around four to five months to pull off the lengthy post-production work. Season 7 finished filming in February, which is why the season didn’t debut until July. There’s a chance the final season could premiere in late fall or December if filming ends in May or June, but it’s more than likely that post-production will take longer than usual given all the White Walker-centric storylines and epic battles that are anticipated to be included in the episodes.
Creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss previously told Entertainment Weekly they were planning to spend a year and half making the final season, which makes the 2019 launch date all but certain given that production kicks off this month. HBO previously revealed that Miguel Sapochnik and David Nutter would be returning to the series to direct the final episodes along with Benioff and Weiss.