If we know something about Game of Thrones season eight, it’s that it will be six episodes long. We do know some other tidbits, but it’s not much. There has been much speculation about the length of these episodes, based on many factors, but nothing has been made clear yet. Thankfully, Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth, was happy to provide another piece of the puzzle. Read below the cut as we try to solve it!
Speaking to TV Guide, Cunningham commented on why he believes the average season eight episode will indeed be longer, as it’s been previously reported:
“[The episodes are] definitely going to be bigger and what I hear is longer. We’re filming right up until the summer. When you think about it, up until last season we’d have six months to do ten episodes, so we’re [doing] way more than that for six episodes. So that obviously will translate into longer episodes,” said Cunningham, before pointing out the running times are not “set in stone” until the episodes are filmed and edited.
Of course, there are other factors that may explain this new filming schedule. As we just reported, Iain Glen had an alternative explanation: since most characters occupy the same storyline now, they can only have one unit filming at once instead of two or three.
Cunningham’s interpretation doesn’t mean Glen’s is wrong, and vice versa. In fact, they may compliment each other. A jump from six to ten months of shooting is astounding, almost unthinkable, especially considering they are only producing six episodes. With only one filming unit, one would think HBO would be able to produce about half the amount of footage, yet season eight will have four fewer episodes than usual. While season seven had a more traditional filming schedule and only seven episodes, the average episode jumped from 55 to 62 minutes — so the proportionally longer filming schedule allowed both for larger set pieces and a slightly padded running time.
If I’m piecing this puzzle together correctly, I’d say for next season we can expect a similar jump to the one we experienced in season seven: episodes that are not only more “monumental”, as John Bradley put it, but also longer than we are used to.
Incidentally, Cunningham told TV Guide that the script read-through with all the cast in Belfast will take place this Sunday, October 8, a day earlier than the date Iain Glen gave at a convention a few weeks ago. Since this information is newer, it may be safe to assume Cunningham is correct and the read-through has been bumped up a day.