It’s official: “Game of Thrones” fans have to wait at least a year for its eighth and final season to find out who will win the Iron Throne.
HBO announced Thursday that new episodes will not be ready until 2019 ― a prospect network brass hinted at when Season 7 concluded last summer. Sophie Turner, who plays the increasingly hardheaded Sansa Stark, let slip that she fully expected the series to return in 2019, but this is the first HBO has affirmed the timeline.
Season 8 will be the shortest yet, consisting of just six episodes, although some could be extra long. Season 7 saw the series’ shortest-ever and longest-ever episodes, at 50 minutes and 80 minutes, respectively.
Although fans waited a couple extra months for the most recent installment ― because the wintry setting required film crews to push production later in the year ― the show usually debuts in the spring. The network has not specified precisely when in 2019 to expect a finale, but there’s a good chance HBO will revert back to a springtime release date for Season 8.
By all accounts, the extended waiting period will be worth it, giving showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss more time to craft what might be the most anticipated series finale in television history. With its fiery battle scenes and a deadly ice dragon, Season 7 has already raised production expectations sky-high.
And our lingering questions are many: How will Jon and Dany find out they’re related? What will they do with that disturbing knowledge? Will Cersei seriously have another kid? When is Melisandre coming back? Has everyone died at the Wall??
Along with Benioff and Weiss, the season will be directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who helmed fan-favorite episodes “Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter,” and David Nutter, who headed up the infamous “Rains of Castamere,” among several other episodes. In short, it’s going to be good.