“Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will not appear at the show’s Comic-Con panel this Friday as previously scheduled. The creators were set to make their first public appearance since “Thrones” ended its eight-season run on HBO in May. Along with Benioff and Weiss, director Miguel Sapochnik and actors Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei of Naath) have also dropped out of Comic-Con. The official “Thrones” Twitter account revealed the news and cited no reasons for the exits.
The “Thrones” Comic-Con panel will now feature Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), and Conleth Hill (Varys).
Benioff and Weiss came under intense critical and fan scrutiny during “Game of Thrones” Season 8. Many fans were outraged by some of the storytelling decisions made during the HBO fantasy series’ final run, with one notorious online fan petition urging HBO to remake Season 8 going viral with over 1.5 million signatures. Benioff and Weiss were the main targets of the final season backlash. One of IndieWire’s burning questions going into Comic-Con was how the two showrunners would be received given the fan outrage around the final season. Now any potential questions about Season 8 criticisms will have to be answered by the cast members in attendance.
Coster-Waldau made headlines earlier this week for standing up for the show in the face of backlash. Speaking at a “Thrones” fan event (via Huffington Post), the actor said, “For anyone to imagine or to think that the two creators of the show are not the most passionate, the greatest, the most invested of all, and to for a second think that they didn’t spend the last 10 years thinking about how they were going to end it is kind of silly. And also know that they too read the comments. … We worked our asses off to make the best show we could for the ending.”
The “Game of Thrones” panel was also set to be the first event for the show following its domination of the Emmy nominations. The series’ final season picked up 32 nominations, a new record for the most nominations earned by a drama series in one year.
The “Thrones” Comic-Con panel is scheduled for Friday, July 19 at 5pm PT in Hall H.