As best we could tell, the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones would commence production in October, for the usual five-to-six months of filming until March 2018. Although the first part still holds true, if new reports are accurate, season eight will go through an extended filming schedule, which gives us clues to a possible air date.
In an interview with HBO programming president Casey Bloys and executives from other networks, The Hollywood Reporter cites unnamed sources who claim “the fantasy drama’s eighth season is slated to begin in October and run as late as August 2018.”
THR goes on to warn “HBO would neither confirm nor deny the rumors,” but it’s still worthy of note: it would mean the usual filming schedule would be almost doubled for season eight, going on for as long as 10 months. If this turns out to be accurate, the rumored 2019 air date becomes more understandable. There is also post-production to consider, which will undoubtedly be longer for the explosive final season, especially if the filming schedule proves to be as long as reported. Casey Bloys says as much:
“Our production people are trying to figure out a timeline for the shoot and how much time the special effects take,” Bloys tells THR. “The shooting is complicated enough — on different continents, with all the technical aspects — and the special effects are a whole other production period that we’re trying to figure out. That is a big factor in all of this.”
“As shows get bigger and more complicated, I have to follow the producers’ lead and let go of, ‘It’d be nice to have it every year,'” Bloys continues. “They have to do the best show they can do. With bigger shows like Westworld [whose schedule was also extended] or Game of Thrones, sometimes if you want the big show and the big scope, it takes longer.”
There you have it, folks. While it’s probably true Game of Thrones won’t return to our screens in 2018, there is good reason for it: an extended filming and post-production schedule to deliver us six extra-long episodes of climactic extravaganza.