After a Season 7 finale that earned series-high ratings, fans of the hit HBO drama Game of Thrones were left wondering just how long it would be until the network released the show's eighth and final season. Now, thanks to Sansa Stark actress Sophie Turner, we at least know what year the series will return, though it's probably not what fans were hoping for.
When asked by Variety if she was looking forward to her busy 2018 slate, including the eighth season of Game of Thrones, Turner responded in the affirmative. However, she was quick to confirm that the series would actually be returning to HBO in 2019.
"Yeah, I’m really excited," Turner said. "Game of Thrones comes out in 2019. Dark Phoenix is in November. Then I have a couple indie movies coming out. I’m a producer on my next movie [Girl Who Fell From the Sky]. So I’m really excited about the future."
For eager Game of Thrones fans, the revelation that they'll have to wait until 2019 before the final season airs is disheartening, but it hardly comes as a surprise. In June, HBO programming president Casey Bloys alluded to a possible delay, stating that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss "have to write the episodes and figure out the production schedule." He followed that up by saying they'd have a better sense of when fans could expect to see Season 8 "once they get further into the writing."
Nevertheless, we do know that HBO has elected to pull out the big guns for the show’s swan songs, with series veterans such as David Nutter, Miguel Sapochnik, and the aforementioned creator/showrunner duo of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss taking turns on directorial duties of the final six episodes, with the latter two helming the series finale.
Although typically just in charge of overseeing the writer’s room and scripting the bulk of the show’s more significant episodes, Benioff and Weiss have directed one episode each since Game of Throne’s inception. Benioff directed “Walk of Punishment” during the series’ third season, and Weiss helmed the Season Four premiere, “Two Swords.”
Game of Thrones’ final season has yet to be given a release date, but the penultimate season is now available in its entirety 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.