Sophie Turner has confirmed our worst fear: “Game of Thrones” Season 8 won’t premiere until 2019. The actress behind Sansa Stark revealed to Variety that HBO’s Emmy-winning fantasy epic will skip 2018 and debut its six-episode final season sometime in 2019. HBO has not confirmed a release date for Season 8, but the show was widely expected to return in either 2019 or late 2018 considering production on the show will last through summer 2018.
“Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss previously told Entertainment Weekly they were planning to spend at least a year and a half making the final season, which made the 2019 launch date all but certain given that production kicked off in October of this year. HBO has already revealed that Miguel Sapochnik and David Nutter will be returning to the series to direct the final episodes along with Benioff and Weiss. Each episode is rumored to be feature-length.
The 2019 premiere date actually works to HBO’s advantage when it comes to awards. Season 7 missed the Emmys deadline this year, which means the latest batch of episodes will be contending for awards at the 2018 Emmys next fall. With the final season reportedly set for a 2019 debut, HBO will have two more years to conquer the Emmys with “Game of Thrones.”