HBO has been dribbling its “Game of Thrones” news out over weeks and months to keep viewers keen, but at long last, the network has revealed when the final season of the epic series will premiere this year. In a brief promo airing before the debut of “True Detective” on Sunday, it was announced that “Game of Thrones” will return on April 14.
Previously, HBO had confirmed that the show would be returning that month without nailing down a specific date. That meant that the series was angling for awards contention because that would give it ample time to air its six feature-length final episodes in plenty of time to make the May 31 Emmys cutoff date. While some episodes could extend past that date, the majority of the episodes will have to air before then to qualify.
At last year’s Emmys, co-creator David Benioff explained the delay between the end of Season 7 in August 2017 and the return of the final eighth season:
“The final season is taking a long time because it’s the biggest thing we’ve ever done. Even though it’s six episodes, it took us how many more shooting days — it was nearly a full year in Belfast prepping and then actually shooting it.
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“I think it’s quite extraordinary what the crew and actors have created. I think when people actually see it, they’re going to understand why it took so long. No one’s taking a vacation, no one’s slacking off. It’s that last season is far beyond what we’ve ever attempted before, and it’s taking a really fucking long time. And I hope it will be worth it.”
Season 8 will reportedly feature the largest battle scene in the history of the show with a bodycount to match. In a recent promo teasing HBO’s upcoming slate, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) can be seen ceding Winterfell to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). The series will air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET, beginning April. 14.
Check out the premiere date announcement below, in which three of Ned Stark’s kids (Bran must be elsewhere saying cryptic Raven stuff) are feeling haunted in the crypts beneath Winterfell. What does it all mean? The creepy teaser was directed by Emmy-winning director David Nutter: