‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 8 Premiere May Not Air Until 2019

Cersei sits on the Iron Throne in 'Game of Thrones' Season 7. Helen Sloan/HBO

On Friday, HBO’s President of Programming Casey Bloys sketched out the future of what’s quickly becoming a Marvel-esque Game of Thrones universe, giving fans a sense of when they can expect to see Season 8 and the recently announced prequels. But don’t expect to see how it all ends by next summer.

In a conversation with Entertainment Weekly, Bloys suggested showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss were in the early stages of writing Season 8, and the final episodes of Game of Thrones may not air until 2019. “They have to write the episodes and figure out the production schedule. We’ll have a better sense of that once they get further into the writing,” he explained.

Though Season 8 is slated to have only six episodes, making it markedly shorter than previous installments, large-scale battle sequences take more time and money to film. “One of the hallmarks of the show has been how cinematic is it. The show has proven that TV is every bit as impressive and in many cases more so, than film. What they’re doing is monumental. When you see these battles in Season 7, and what I imagine Season 8 will be, it’s a big, big show. We’ve done a lot of great shows, but this one combines the complex characters we love with a huge cinematic scope,” said Bloys.

Though fans might have to wait more than a year to see the conclusion of Game of Thrones after Season 7 airs this summer, the HBO exec cautioned against expecting the prequel series to fill the void. “I want to temper the expectation on the prequels,” he told EW. “We want to focus on Seasons 7 and 8. If any of these scripts come to pass, you’re not going to see anything air anytime close to the Season 8 finale.”

Bloys also confirmed there is no anticipated role for any of the current main cast in any of the four possible prequel shows at this time, and that author George RR Martin is involved (to a varying degree) on every project: “Some like to collaborate, some look at the source material and do their own thing. There’s no one way, but in all cases, George will be reading the scripts and weighing in."

READ : 'Game Of Thrones' Prequels: HBO Passed On Half Of George R.R. Martin's Pitches

So what will Game of Thrones fans do in the meantime? Well, there’s always the chance that Martin will finally finish The Winds of Winter, the sixth in a planned series of seven A Song of Ice and Fire novels upon which the HBO series is based. Since the show has now outpaced the novels, there will be plenty of intriguing distinctions and divergences to explore and theorize about. Back in January, GRRM told fans via his personal blog that he’s cautiously optimistic the book will be out this year. Then again, as the author himself admits, he’s been wrong before.

READ: ‘Winds Of Winter’ Release Date: GRRM Offers Update On 2017 Completion

Game of Thrones Season 7 begins July 16 and wraps up Aug. 27.

Are you excited about the prospect of further adventures in Westeros, feeling salty about having to wait for so long, or a bit of both? What would you like to see the prequel series (or multiple series!) focus on? Let us know your thoughts on all things GOT and ASOIAF in the comments!


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