Secrecy wasn't exactly HBO's strong suit this summer, as the cable network grappled with Game of Thrones leaks stemming from both a breach by hackers and lax security by international partners. But with the eighth and final season expected to arrive in 2019, HBO is taking extra precautions to ensure details about the ending of the hit fantasy drama aren't released prematurely.
"I know in Game of Thrones, the ending, they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that nobody really know what happens," President of Programming Casey Bloys told The Morning Call. "You have to do that on a long show. Because when you’re shooting something, people know. So they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that there’s no real definitive answer until the end."
That tactic is hardly unheard of in television. AMC's flagship series The Walking Dead employed similar measures to keep the reveal of its Season 6 cliffhanger a secret by filming Negan killing multiple characters.
Last month, HBO spokesperson Jeff Cusson said the network's data leak wasn’t entirely unexpected following the system breach, and that its “forensic review is ongoing.” This wasn't the first significant Game of Thrones leak, either. The first four episodes of Season 5 were released online before the season premiere, leading HBO to stop providing advance copies for review by journalists. An HBO subsidiary also released a Season 6 episode a day early.
Game of Thrones’ final season doesn’t yet have a release date, but the penultimate season is now available in full on HBO Go and HBO Now. Based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, the hit drama stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.