Game of Thrones season 8 and prequel timetable detailed —they may take a while!

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When HBO announced four Game of Thrones spin-offs were being developed, we all went mad with our speculation. George R.R. Martin later crossed a few possibilities off our list, and confirmed all were prequels. There were, however, a few questions still: is the plan to produce them all? Merely the ones deemed good enough? Or is it a talent war with only one winner in mind? And what is the timetable for any of this, anyway?

Now we have the answers, but they may not be the ones you were hoping for, especially in regards to the likely late premiere of this prequel… and of season 8, too!

In an interview with EW, HBO programming president Casey Bloys was quite frank about the early stages of development in which these spin-offs actually are:

“I want to put the prequels in context. It should go without saying I love having a show with this much intense interest around it. Even the smallest bit of information is a big deal and I appreciate that. But I wanted to make sure fans know this is a really embryonic process. I haven’t even seen outlines.” In other words: calm down.

Also, we should probably temper our expectations in terms of quantity: “In the press at large, everybody said, ‘there are four spinoffs’ and they assume that means each one is happening and we’re going to have a new Game of Thrones show per quarter. That’s not what’s going on,” Bloys clarified. “The idea is not to do four shows. The bar set by [David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] is so high that my hope is to get one show that lives up to it.”

Why develop multiple projects at once then, if most of them will not see the light of day? Apparently, this is as unusual as it sounds, and Game of Thrones is unique in this respect: “You couldn’t do this with a lot of shows. In talking with the drama group here, and the nice thing is George has created an entire universe … The other reason, frankly, as I said, is the bar is so high. If you only developed one, everything would rest on that one shot … I want to make sure that [any prequel] feels worthy. We have some amazing writers who want to take a shot at this. They’re also looking at different times in the universe and all will have different feels. This increases our odds of finding one that’s unique.”

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in Season 7. Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in Season 7. Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

To learn about D&D’s involvement or the possibility of an anthology, read the interview. They key points are that it’s going to be a single prequel, and it’s going to take its time being developed, as it should. They have other priorities in mind right now: “Our No. 1 goal is the seventh season this summer and getting the eighth season written and aired.”

“The show has proven that TV is every bit as impressive and in many cases moreso 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. I think this is the first show to prove that can be done — and we’re the first people to pay for it.”

There is no doubt about Bloys’ pride concerning season seven: “I don’t want to oversell, but I can’t imagine anybody being disappointed in this season. It’s amazing.”

As for that last season, here it is when the news perhaps take a sour turn. EW‘s Hibberd and Bloys more than imply that season eight may take longer to arrive than expected. When the season seven filming schedule was delayed to film during winter, the assumption was next season would follow a similar path, which would mean waiting for less than a year this time around. Sadly, that may not be the case: Hibberd claims the showrunners told him they’re working on season eight “for the next year and and a half,” which by his calculation could mean “the final season could air in 2018 and/or in 2019.” Bloys doesn’t specifically confirm the claim, but he certainly doesn’t deny it either:

“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.”

Could it really be we’ll have to wait until 2019 for the resolution to Game of Thrones? This is by no means a confirmation —HBO doesn’t even seem sure about the timetable here. But if Hibberd is correct about what the showrunners told him, this winter in Westeros promises to be a long one. Hopefully we’ll not freeze to death as we wait.

102 responses

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    1. Season 8 in 2019 possibly? I’m thinking Winter 2018. It’s only fitting that Thrones ends in Winter.

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    2. Noooo-dor! (for the possibility that Season 8 might be delayed until 2019). Good grief. They know the ending, have the actors and locations (for the most part), so why a year and a half? Guess I should be used to GoT torture by now.

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    3. Dan and David will have been at this for 12 years. Which is an amazing fact. They didn’t go and do movies in between seasons, they didn’t set anything else up, they put everything — and are putting everything — into this show. They came into HBO with an idea for a show with a beginning, middle, and end, and they want to see it through.

      I liked this part of the article, those two have done a lot for this show, and they’ve been there since the beginning. writing, producing, and sometimes directing in earlier seasons. I can only speak for myself, but I’m sad they won’t be involved in the prequels. D&D deserve a good rest after this series is over, and I can’t wait to see this show conclude ^^ it’s really sad how much hate and disrespect they get from some of the fans.

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    4. Jack Bauer 24,

      yea, I was pretty sad when I read that they won’t be involved.
      But I’m sure they want to rest after all the work they’ve done for the main show.

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    5. I hope it will be 2018. We had 10 episodes every year for years. But now it is not even sure that we will get any episode next year.

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    6. they’re working on season eight “for the next year and and a half,” which by his calculation could mean “the final season could air in 2018 and/or in 2019.”

      That’s very interesting to hear, I know its the last season of thrones, but what can they be doing that would take longer then a year ? very interesting indeed ^^

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    7. Matthew The Dragon knight,

      I’m glad that they won’t be involved, because there is no way that the new show will be on same level as GoT.

      GoT should be their legacy. One of the best show ever created. They shouldn’t ruin their legacy with a new show.

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    8. This is only good news imo

      keltia,

      Have you ever considered that filming what could be the most cinematic experience in television thus far takes time.
      a single battle sequence can take 1 or more months..: and I expect we will have hours of battle sequences

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    9. Season 8 pushed to 2019? What is George contagious? Everyone’s missing deadlines now? Can anyone actually just finish this story?

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    10. Thank god we will have winds of winter and also probably a dream of spring to keep us busy before the final season airs…. right? right everyone? *sobs*

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    11. I don’t care if it is more “cinematic”. Hire more crew then, spend some more money. Sopranos was never the same after their time off and it will ruin Thrones even more than Dorne already has.

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    12. It’s highly, highly, HIGHLY unlikely, but a 2019 airing might give GRRM the chance to publish his ending before the show gives it away. Again, ridiculously unlikely, but there’s always the possibility that the unexpected extra time gives him the nudge to get 6 & 7 out. No one wants rushed books, so it’s even less likely that this happens, but hey. Silver lining?

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    13. Waiting 2 years for 6 episodes? Ugh… And we thought the wait for season 7 was tough!
      It sounds like they haven’t begun writing for season 8 yet?

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    14. No save me from this fresh hell lol.

      No but honestly it will probably be winter 2017.If there is one thing that we can all agree with is that D&D want to get it out in the world as soon as possible and they must be pretty tired by now so the fact that it’s taking so long means the last episodes need time to shoot.That or HBO wants to milk this for as long as possible lol.Anyway we can wait a bit more.I don’t want to watch Jon die anyway.

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    15. Interviewer: “When will season 8 air?”

      EW’s Hibberd and Bloys: “When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, when the seas go dry and and mountains blow in the wind like leaves…”

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    16. Jenny,

      We can’t all agree that D&D want the show to end as soon as possible.

      What I think is clear is that they want these last 13 episodes to be the best they can create.

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    17. I’m perfectly fine with them taking their time, for season 8 and for the prequel. Better that than just a slapped together ‘this happened, that happened, the end’ product. The show deserves a proper conclusion, and the prequel needs to be worthy to step into GOT’s shoes. You can’t rush that. Well, you can, but the result would not be good.

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    18. HelloThere,

      Have you ever considered that filming what could be the most cinematic experience in television thus far takes time.
      a single battle sequence can take 1 or more months..: and I expect we will have hours of battle sequences

      Wonder Woman (which I saw last night — amazing!) took less than a year and a half to film. GoT Season 8 already has the cast, locations, storyline, production staff, and technical/special effects team in place going into its filming. (You can tell how eager I am for more GoT!)

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    19. On the one hand, these will be the final six Game of Thrones episodes that we will ever have, so I want the writers and producers to take as much time as they require to make the epic conclusion to this story as breathtakingly epic, deeply emotional, and superlatively great as we all imagine it will be.

      On the other hand, if we actually have to wait until freaking 2019 for the final season, I’ll go stir-crazy. The extended wait for this season was hard enough, and with the end so close …

      Hopefully they’ll only need a production schedule comparable for the one they had for Season 7. The scripts should be done (or close to it) by now, and they won’t have to wait for winter weather this time. I’m sure that the filming schedule will be grueling and insane, and the post-production work will be intense. But it’s still six hours instead of seven or ten. If the Old Gods and the New smile on us, they should still be able to air the final season in 2018, even if it winds up airing in the fall instead of the summer.

      If the Old Gods and the New fail us, however, then it’s time for different gods, and someone’s getting sacrificed to R’hllor to melt the snows and jolt this thing to life. Say what you will about that entity, he knows how to get things done.

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    20. NedsHead,

      That is not how it works. Some things in movie making can’t be rushed and can’t be speed up by hiring more crew. I would imagine they’ll have bigger set pieces to plan out and execute and those take considerable time. The BoB took about a month to shoot and a final battle involving walkers and their wights may require multiple months. Shooting a scene doesn’t just involved getting everyone on set so that the camera starts rolling. There’s blocking between shots and those take a while. More crew would not speed that process up.

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    21. keltia,

      And can’t you tell how excited I am that the last 6 episodes of GOT might be so epic that are requesting more time to craft them, than 10 episodes of previous seasons…
      That excitement drowns out any impatience I have…I’d wait for 2020 if needed…

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    22. If it’s to be so long delayed, I hope that the resolution of the last season will be leaked. Also, not watching any prequels. As you can see, my interest is at this point – as always, actually – in knowing how the story ends, not even in seeing it on screen.

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    23. Take your time guys, I want these last six episodes to be the most memorable of the shows history.

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    24. piotr111:

      They’re giving Martin time to finish the Winds of Winter before the last season airs

      mau:

      But it is possible to have TWOW before the end of the show. But even that is not likely.

      Here’s hoping. I’ve gotten quite happily used to new seasons & goodies 🙂

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    25. You can’t rush things and expect good results, says the mature me. But the nerdy me feels like dying slowly while waiting for season 8. I know it’s easy to complain when one does nothing, but I really didn’t expect 2018 to be a GOT-less year.
      And another bad piece of news: only one prequel and the gods know when. I didn’t expect four new fresh shows, but I sort of hoped that maybe we would get two 🙁

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    26. piotr111,

      While it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that D&D are having close consultations with Martin as they finish up the writing for Season 8, I seriously doubt the showrunners are delaying in order to give Martin a chance to finish Winds of Winter.

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    27. mau,

      No I didn’t mean that they just can’t wait to be done no matter what.It’s clear that the thirteen episodes left is how they envisioned the story and that they think it’s enough to bring it to a satisfying conclusion.But as the article states they have spent 12 years in this project working intensely,not doing other things,sometimes away from their families as they have said in interviews.It must take a toll so I can’t think of a reason why they would prolong the process in vain.I agree that they want to make it as impressive as they can so the extra time must be necessary.

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    28. Shy Lady Dragon:

      And another bad piece of news: only one prequel and the gods know when. I didn’t expect four new fresh shows, but I sort of hoped that maybe we would get two 🙁

      Who knows? They may like two so much they order both to production. And if they can only make one at a time, then the second can follow when the first is done. It’s ASOIAF – HBO is going to want to keep it going for as long as possible. They know we’re watching!

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    29. mau,

      I take this as frustrating but ultimately good news.

      They aren’t rushing to finish it within a year. As George says, it’ll be done when it’s done. I’m glad they’ve taken this attitude.

      Plus Season 8 will likely be extremely heavy on visual effects, and we know how long it took them just to do Hardhome and the WW sequences with Bran in Seasons 4 and 6.

      Big WW battles will need A LOT of planning and post-production.

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    30. Markus Stark:
      mau,

      I take this as frustrating but ultimately good news.

      They aren’t rushing to finish it within a year. As George says, it’ll be done when it’s done. I’m glad they’ve taken this attitude.

      Plus Season 8 will likely be extremely heavy on visual effects, and we know how long it took them just to do Hardhome and the WW sequences with Bran in Seasons 4 and 6.

      Big WW battles will need A LOT of planning and post-production.

      Season 7 spoikers…

      they did the Wight Hunt this year and that didn’t seem to take too long

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    31. I think a couple things are going on with the possible delay. First, because there is no more source material, the writers have to spend more time writing the ending to the story. Much easier to write if there’s source material to work with. But my guess is that the bulk of the additional time is needed purely for production. At the end of the day, Game of Thrones is a great story but it is still Fantasy. Martin’s vision for the story is so grand that I have to imagine that each of these final episodes is like producing a full scale high quality fantasy rivaling anything that you could expect to see in a blockbuster film at a theater. Filming a six hour blockbuster movie (season 8) takes a long time to complete from beginning to end.

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    32. Jack Bauer 24,

      I mean, they HAVE taken longer than usual for Season 7 and I’m sure post-production on that won’t be finished until right before it airs. I recall Alex Graves talking about how the VFX people were still working on the Wight scene in Season 4 Episode 10 right up until the saturday before it aired (or something like that).

      Plus what you’re referring to isn’t on the level of the battles we’re expecting for the final season. And there will be more than just one scene.

      So your comparison isn’t really apt.

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    33. mau,

      Nah 6 weeks is to much, BoB was like 32 days, it was like 3 weeks and half, like 24 days, and is really much to do a espetacular scène.

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    34. ramses:
      keltia,

      “Wonder Woman (which I saw last night — Amazing!)”

      Me too! It exceeded my already high expectations.

      Same here! It was so so great!

      Jenny,

      Maybe season 8 will leak like 7 did lol. So we’ll be prepared for everything or know when to quit 😛

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    35. I just have to question if they would want to delay filming and production very long past this Fall, or roughly a year from S7’s time table. That’s a lot of people to keep ‘on the line’ and obligated if they were to sit on it longer… Hopefully this Bloy character is just saying things to get worst case scenarios out there.

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    36. Clob:
      McScuse me but all I can do is continue to wonder why that dang picture of Sansa is in this article as well.

      Clob,

      I think at this point she’s just haunting you 🙂

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    37. Flayed Potatoes,

      Oh I’m sure it will leak I just hope we can know for sure it is legit like it was this year so I don’t have to wonder lol.As for quitting we are in way too deep to quit now but I will have so many tissues that final episode and never watch it ever again.But anyway he might still live I have used enough prayers on it lol.

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    38. If previous seasons are any indication, the leaks for Season 8 will most likely be out of control. Whomever finds out about the ending will not be able to hold it in for very long. Once 1 person finds out, it’ll be EVERYWHERE.

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    39. Luka Nieto:
      This is starting to feel like being a Doctor Who fan. Feel our paiiiin! 😛

      I’ve had to wait 12 years for more Star Trek episodes. 😛

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    40. Matthew The Dragon knight:
      they’re working on season eight “for the next year and and a half,” which by his calculation could mean “the final season could air in 2018 and/or in 2019.”

      That’s very interesting to hear, I know its the last season of thrones, but what can they be doing that would take longer then a year ? very interesting indeed ^^

      D&D have said for years now that the ending for GOT will be the most expensive and complex production ever for television. The fact that they think it’s going to take them perhaps until 2019 to finish it just reinforces those previous statements. Whatever ending they’ve planned, it ain’t gonna be cheap.

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    41. I sincerely hope Season 8 doesn’t leak. And not just because I don’t want to be spoiled, but because it’s wrong. I love speculating based on filming locations and actor sightings, but hoping confidential information is illegally leaked should not be what we resort to in our curiosity.

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    42. ghost of winterfell:
      Waiting 2 years for 6 episodes? Ugh… And we thought the wait for season 7 was tough!
      It sounds like they haven’t begun writing for season 8 yet?

      According to their statements on March, there is a 140-page treatment for the final season in paragraph form; Brian Cogman and Dave Hill will write episodes 1&2 and D&D will write the final 4…

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    43. I can see it going Winter 2018-2019. Given the gap between seasons 6 and 7, the time between 7 and 8 could be that long. Just do it right and I am good. I hate endings even more than I hate waiting. 😉

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    44. This like waiting for Daenerys to cross Narrow sea. I suppose, it would make sense to master the 6 episodes but damn 2019 presumably? At least winter 2018 would be nice.

      mau,

      You sadistic individual. 😫

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    45. I’m cool with waiting. In addition to having a job, I find the world full of more interesting things to do than can conceivably be done (not to mention books begging to be read) in a lifetime. The finale of GoT is just another incentive to keep myself healthy enough to live another however-many years.

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    46. I don’t think we’ll necessarily have to wait to 2019, I think HBO have simply removed the time constraint from D&D and basically said take as much time as you need, just make it bloody epic so they aren’t going to rush D&D at all, they’ll tell them when it’s finished.

      From what I gathered from the interview, it almost sounds like each of the six episodes will be at least a hour long.

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    47. Sandi:
      hey ! I’m an old lady ! I don’t know if I’ll be here in 2019 ! Get it done !

      My thoughts exactly! (Except I’m an old man.)

      It would be ironic if George had a rush of productivity and ended up getting to his ending before D&D get to theirs.

      Or perhaps it’s time for the Brandon Sanderson That Was Promised?

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    48. One more thing: I feel this delay may be bad news for the young actors who have come to prominence in the show – they will need to manage the transition from GoT into the rest of their careers, and this delays that process – especially if they are looking to take on new roles that take up a lot of the year, such as lead roles in TV series.

      On the other hand, I guess it delays the scary moment of having to say a final goodbye to the show that has brought them to prominence!

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    49. Thanks for the heads up HBO, I can now cancel my subscription for one whole year! I don’t care how involved the battles are, I think this long wait is driven by HBO’s scheduling and subscription agenda. In my small way, I am going to protest.

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    50. Luka Nieto: This is starting to feel like being a Doctor Who fan. Feel our paiiiin!

      heh! My thoughts (or feelings!) exactly!

      Seriously, I’ve been wanting to know how this thing ends since Clinton was president And now I have to wait until Hatch is president?!?!? 😉

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    51. Bored waiting for season 7. Decided to watch Westworld. What a fucking terribly stupid and disappointing show. As much as I love Jeffery Wright and Ed Harris, even they can’t save all the terrible writing and acting.

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    52. Bufferzone: It would be ironic if George had a rush of productivity and ended up getting to his ending before D&D get to theirs.

      That’s not irony, it’s coincidental!

      Actually, it would really be evidence of a time machine, given that GRRM still has to finis Winter, and then write another entire novel!

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    53. The epic battles to come in season 8 will account for much of the delay. Also, D&D will once again want to shoot in winter to have a more authentic winter feel. But I think the big reason for the possible delay to early 2019 will be the NFL Football season…

      Why release it in the winter of 2018 and have your epic finale of quite possibly the greatest show of all time, and most definitely the show with the grandest scale competing with football every Sunday night? They would lose a lot of audience.

      They’ll push it back to late February or early March of 2019 where there will be no competition. And the last 6 episodes will shatter viewing records.

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    54. I’m REALLY liking the approach Bloys is taking to the spin offs. As opposed to say, Kathleen Kennedy with Star Wars: “we’re going to do 1 Star Wars movie every year!”. This is why HBO is HBO, it’s about quality.

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    55. Maybe, but as a shownly it really does break up momentum to the point one’s interest is waned, therefor the finale/conclusion just won’t have the same impact, at least not the one imagined/anticipated for upon watching initial seasons.
      Isabelle,

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    56. Pigeon,
      I hate endings even more than I hate waiting

      When you phrase it that way, I look at it differently and not really upset at this possible timeline 🙂

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    57. Personally don’t mind waiting for season 8, if it means two years budget, a longer filiming timespan so as to allow for 10 episodes of cinematic battle quality plus we get Miguel Sapochnik to do 9/10 episodes lol

      For mine it is the same as the books, I’d like to be able to look back on it all when it is finished and regard it as a masterpiece, and I don’t mind waiting a little bit (excruciating though it is!)

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    58. I understand the delay. Theyre improvising the conclusion to the story based off notes and ideas from an unfinished work. They only have key points and the ending. I just hipe they can wrap it up so its ready for Fall/Winter 2018. 2019 is just so far away. 2019 would also probably delay the spin off series, since they want some breathing room between. My hope is that they can air season 8 by the end of 2018 and bring in the spin off in mid to late 2019. It is unlikely, but it would be awesome if they chose 2 of the prequil spinoffs and could have one for Fall/Winter and one for Spring/Summer. They have so much material to choose from, I cant really see any of them failing.

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    59. When I read the article from my interpretation was that we are a year to eighteen months away from the final six episodes appearing on TV at this moment in time. So most likely it will be later than the July release in 2017 and could be as late as January 2019 as an extreme.

      I must admit given there were less episodes again I was hoping we would see this back to April/May but now anticipate August/September 2018 timescale.

      Interesting also that they haven’t finished writing the scripts yet filming is supposed to start in September, surely we cannot be too far away now?

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    60. While of course it sucks we would have to wait longer for season 8.

      But on the other hand, I don’t mind because it means they have more time to write, more time to shoot and more time to edit and do the VFX. Which in my opinion is only for the better.

      I am no writer, but I imagine finishing a story (especially a story of this magnitude) is the hardest part. And I think the only way to do it well is time.

      GoT is one of the biggest shows of all time in television history. D&D and HBO would want the final six episodes (IMO the final season will still be 7 hours) to be the best and do the entire show justice. But that takes time.

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    61. Thankfully season 8 is the last. With the lengthening production times, I couldn’t handle waiting until 2022 for a season 9

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    62. The Wolves of Winter: I am no writer, but I imagine finishing a story (especially a story of this magnitude) is the hardest part. And I think the only way to do it well is time.

      If anything, then the opposite usually is true. For one thing, the longer one spends writing something, the worse the clarity and quality of the writing tends to be. The old saying is that anything you wrote more than 6 months ago was written by a different person. (I, myself, find that it’s more like 3 weeks: but this is something that varies from person to person.) So, working slowly and surely is basically like having multiple people with different thoughts in their heads write something: and sometimes it turns out that they didn’t agree about the point of the whole thing. This makes time an enemy when writing: you probably will do a better job by “cramming” and going straight through with a burst of effort than you will by going through it slowly because in the first scenario, the whole thing is in the same version of your mind the entire time.

      And if you are forced to take breaks in the middle of a chapter, a paper or an episode, then it probably will be best to regroup with your current take on the “point” (story or thesis), and rewrite everything in one fluid effort, and hopefully get to where you were before and beyond. This actually can be a lot faster, too: the time spent rewriting often is much less that then time spent re-reading and trying to wrap your head around what you were thinking when you wrote the first draft.

      When it comes down to a grand finale like this, ultimately, it will not be much better or worse than whatever it was that “lightbulbed” in Martin’s brain 25 years ago. That is the cake. The effort that will be made now is like the decorations and presentation of the cake. Do those matter? Yes: any food critic will give or take some points for how a dessert is presented. But: the best presentation cannot turn bad cake into a good one, and a bad presentation cannot turn a good cake into a bad one. The quality of the cake itself is (to badly mix metaphors!) pretty much carved into stone at this point.

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    63. LOL! Poor fool, I! Here I was thinking that they had already written and maybe even filmed parts of Season 8 already. You know. Get ahead of the game. I actually thought they were dealing with all these scheduling issues for their cast and wanted to wrap up shooting and get everything “in the can” or at least in the special effects or editing stage ASAP. Now we learn that they have yet to write Season 8? I’m mystified. Baffled. I actually find this hard to wrap my head around.

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    64. I can see why Dan and David wouldn’t be involved in future projects, as much as I love what they’ve done. It reminds me of how some directors who did blockbuster movies would have follow up projects that didn’t do well. Not that I think theirs wouldn’t be great, but it would be a lot of pressure having your name on something and having it be nearly as successful as your previous project. I’d leave on a high note too and not jinx myself! And darn! I needed something to look forward to in 2018! This show is always a welcomed distraction.

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    65. Ryan Neuner,

      I agree! Maybe this was mentioned before by someone else but I always thought it would be great if HBO intentionally had “leakers” leak incorrect things on reddit just to throw everyone off when the new season starts. They sort of did something like that with the Shae sighting in the past. But it would be great if the post even got removed and everything making it look even more credible. I’ve been fortunate to avoid all leaks up to now. I love how this site approaches it but am so paranoid to tread anywhere else. Even youtube recommendations can get out of hand (Look youtube, I only wanted to watch wildlings storming castle black, no where did I ever type leaks or spoilers in my search…)

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