HBO and Sky Atlantic have confirmed that Game of Thrones Season will have a release date of April 2019.
The fantasy epic, based on George RR Martin’s novels, has grown over its first seven seasons to become the biggest show on TV, and with the saga officially coming to end next year, anticipation is at fever pitch levels. Previously, we knew that HBO was planning to drop the show’s shorter eighth season in the first half of 2019, with an early summer date expected. The good news is that fans won’t have to wait that long: a new promotional video released today confirms that the final ever season of Game of Thrones will land in April.
While there’s no exact date yet, the news will come as some relief, after Season 7 premiered in July last year, bringing the series back to its typical timeframe of an April or March release. Sky Atlantic will once again be the exclusive UK TV home of Game of Thrones, with episodes arriving on Sky hot on the heels of their US broadcast – and also available on NOW TV, for those who don’t have Sky. The only question now is who will make it out of the season alive, as the battle is joined between all of the forces vying for control over Westeros – and the chance to stay alive.
“Every battle. Every betrayal. Every risk. Every fight. Every sacrifice. Every death. All #ForTheThrone,” is how HBO announced the release date on social media, with a montage of previously seen footage teasing the bittersweet climax to come. What exactly is in store? The showrunners have dropped some details already, with one episode featuring “wall to wall action” and directed by Battle of the Bastards helmer Miguel Sapochnik. Indeed, last April, it emerged that Game of Thrones had spent 55 night shoots on a single battle sequence – longer, even, than the 25-day shoot for Season 6’s infamous skirmish. But that was only for the outdoor part of a confrontation, with several weeks of in-studio shooting then taking place after that.
“It’s brutal,” Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) told EW in a recent interview. “It makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park.”
The release date arrives as HBO prepares for the future, with a spin-off series already in development. Kick-Ass and The Woman in Black writer Jane Goldman has been commissioned to pen a pilot for one show, which will be set thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones and chronicle the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. Naomi Watts will star in the pilot, playing “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret”.
Before we start looking forward to a post-Thrones world, though, there is still ample time to look back.
HBO confirms 2019 release for Game of Thrones Season 8
4th January 2018
Game of Thrones will not return this year, HBO has confirmed, with Season 8 set to premiere in 2019.
The epic fantasy series, based on George RR Martin’s novels, has grown into HBO’s biggest series ever – not to mention one of the most popular shows of all time. Excitement for what will be its eighth, and final, season is therefore at fever pitch levels. Speculation about the closing episodes of the programme have been rife ever since it was confirmed that the show would conclude with Season 8, and while most of it has been focused on how the plot will resolve, a large amount of debate has centred on when, exactly, we can expect to see them.
It has been expected for some time that the show might not air in 2018 at all, with a recent Sophie Turner interview also hinting at that possibility. Now, HBO has confirmed officially that the show is taking a year off to get its final season prepared.
What we do know is that Season 8 will span six episodes, with David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik at the helm and Benioff & Weiss being joined by Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill in the writers’ room. George R.R. Martin is a co-exec producer on the show, alongside Cogman, Guymon Casady and Vince Gerardis, while the EPs are Benioff, Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger and Bernadette Caulfield.
Martin, of course, has his own story to finish too, with a hefty delay to his next book meaning that the series has overtaken its source material, although changes to the story have been made. A delay to Season 8 could give Martin a window to finish his latest novel, with one more planned – although remains very unlikely to be published before the TV’s final outing airs.
For HBO, the delay also has the benefit of letting the cable giant focus on promoting the show’s Emmy chances, not to mention the second season of Westworld, which also returns this year after a two-year gap in the hope of replacing Game of Thrones as HBO’s must-see flagship title. HBO, meanwhile, is also looking to develop multiple prequels to Thrones, although none have been given the official green light yet.
As for those haven’t caught up yet, the break gives them more of an opportunity to binge their way through the first seven seasons, with Season 1 to 6 currently available until 28th January 2018 on Sky Box Sets – or, for non-Sky Customers, on NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription, no contract.
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