Season 8 May Not Air until Summer 2019 & Prequel Pilot Production Date Revealed!

Jon Snow meets Daenerys The Queen's Justice

Exactly one month ago HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys claimed the last season of Game of Thrones would premiere in the “first half” of 2019. Many of us hoped this would mean a return to a premiere date in April… yet, if visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer is to be believed, many of us were wrong! In happier news, Bloys had also said Jane Goldman’s Long Night prequel pilot would hopefully “go into production in early 2019”, and Bauer not only corroborates this statement but delivers a concrete month!

In a conversation with the Huffington Post about the show’s 22 Emmy nominations in 2018, Bauer segues into a much more revealing direction, claiming that “in two years” they’ll “be eligible for the Season 8 [VFX] work,” which they have just begun working on.

If Bauer is correct and the eighth season won’t be eligible at the Emmys until 2020, that means most of the season won’t have aired until after the 2019 deadline: May 31. Apparently, Bauer can’t swear this is the case, as “so much of it comes down to timing and all that stuff; the situation changes every week”, but he can confirm his VFX team have nothing but Game of Thrones scheduled until May. In his own words: “We’re going to be toiling away on Season 8 until May of 2019, so it’s eight or nine months away.”

In past years, VFX work was still being finished up while the season had already started airing, with only days to spare, so season eight could yet premiere sometime in May or early June and jibe with Bloys’s claim that the show would air during the “first half” of next year. However, if you were hoping for March or April, or even February as some suggested, Joe Bauer’s schedule for the VFX team appears to dash all hopes of that.

Do you need something to help this bitter medicine go down? Thankfully, Bauer offers this spoonful of sugar: Goldman’s spin-off pilot should begin production pretty much when we expected. “The prequel is starting to shoot in February, at least the pilot,” he tells Huffington Post. It may not feel like season eight is getting any closer, but we should have casting and production news for the Game of Thrones prequel soon enough!

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    1. If it means a better season then I’m all in! We’ve already waited a year so I doubt waiting another will be that difficult (especially for us book readers :p).

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    2. If that’s what they need to make it as awesome as possible – I can live with it. It will be the defining cultural event of summer ‘19!

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    3. Mmm… I’m still not going to believe they’ll start in June or after. Instead, I’ll believe they have vfx scheduled and available for editing on GoT through airing that will end in late May. They wouldn’t want them booked up and working on something else if they’re needed. Remember them saying they were working on the Wall breach, Viserion attack up to the episode aired last year….
      * plugs ears “la la la la” *

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    4. 8 to 9 months of VFX production? this is going to be epic. Might as well this is the final season and I’m willing to wait for the best possible version of the season. Don’t hold back cause I’m pretty sure, everyone’s hyped up and the news about the prequel’s production start date helps a little. Though if the finale airs in June then the prequel’s first episode(if it goes to series) would be pushed back as well since it will air more than a year from GoT’s series finale.

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    5. Clob,

      I still say they should stagger the final six episodes so they air every two weeks. Otherwise… S8 will be over in 5 weeks from start to finish – a blink of an eye.

      That would give them more time to concentrate on finalizing each episode, and quite possibly. enable them to air Episode 1 sooner.

      Even during ten-episode seasons there wasn’t enough time (for us) to dissect and discuss each episode. If S8 is really going to be “epic”, then I’d prefer two weeks to rewatch each episode and read everyone’s comments before the next episode airs.

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    6. “In happier news, Bloys had also said Jane Goldman’s Long Night prequel pilot would hopefully “go into production in early 2019”, and Bauer not only corroborates this statement but delivers a concrete month!”.
      ——–

      In bad news (for me), a “Long Night” prequel likely means the collapse of my Grand Tinfoil Theory that there was no “Long Night” – at least not the way it was portrayed in legend.

      Then again, if the prequel is just going to be a dramatization of: WW invade; people bum out, humans ally with CotF; and a last hero or Azor Ahai-type guy saves humanity from extinction – there wouldn’t be much mystery, would there?

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    7. Well bloys did say “first half” of 2019, so he was still accurate.

      Unfortunately, i think the year off from the Emmy’s is going to hurt them big this year and they will get swept by Handmaid’s Tale. So Season 8 not being eligible until 2020 is bad news.

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    8. This news is part of the hype and gets people talking and that’s what HBO wants.

      I’ll be surprised if Season 8 is not eligible for the 2019 Emmys!

      There is only 6 episodes and they aren’t extra long episodes.

      Filming with the stars has been finished for well over a month.

      And they need a whole year for special effects for only 6 episodes?

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    9. firstone:
      This news is part of the hype and gets people talking and that’s what HBO wants.

      I’ll be surprised if Season 8 is not eligible for the 2019 Emmys!

      There is only 6 episodes and they aren’t extra long episodes.

      Filming with the stars has been finished for well over a month.

      And they need a whole year for special effects for only 6 episodes?

      Couldn’t agree more….it’s about hype, they don’t really need the time

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    10. I’m actually pretty happy about this – the longer the wait, the longer until it’s over for good. Like waiting for something I’ve ordered in the mail, anticipation is the best. 😊

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    11. Jack Bauer 24,

      Well, it could be the year off, in conjunction with the shortened Season 7, and the fact that some of the audience felt there were only one or two standout episodes (S7e4 and e7), that might hurt them at this year’s Grammys. Plus, I’m not sure any of the GoT actors had enough screen time this past season to make an impression.

      Though I have not watched The Handmaid’s Tale or The Americans, I’ve heard and read lots of hype how they are relevant to current events. That can’t hurt their chances.

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    12. Pigeon:
      I’m actually pretty happy about this – the longer the wait, the longer until it’s over for good. Like waiting for something I’ve ordered in the mail, anticipation is the best. 😊

      Precisely! ✅

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    13. For the off season is long and full of teases.

      Ten Bears,

      I know you meant Emmys instead of grammys but now I’m imagining a scenario where the Hound and Tormund are nominated for their behind-the-scenes folk singing, or Peter Dinklage’s “Space Pants”

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    14. A projected February start date for shooting the pilot of the prequel series should mean that we’ll start hearing casting rumors pretty soon. Fancasting isn’t as much fun when we don’t have book characters on which to base our speculation, of course, but it should still give us something to talk about. I would love it if someone would leak a page or two of the pilot script!

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    15. Can soneone please help me out. How does VFX process works? ……..Does it starts after the music, editing, sound etc are finished ?

      They have finished filiming for awhile now. Thought the vfx team would have stated their work.

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    16. I think it’s still a possibility that it could start airing in April (March seems much less likely now) while VFX work is finishing up on the final episode or two for airing in May.

      In any case, extra waiting means we had better see some epic dire wolf action! 🙂 Having said that, I also hope season 8 won’t be wall-to-wall VFX. Character moments are the priority! Previously D&D have said that some of their favourite scenes to write have been just two people in a room talking, so I hope they make good on that in S8 (although with all the reunions it will be more like 3, 4 or 12 people in a room talking).

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    17. Pigeon:
      I’m actually pretty happy about this – the longer the wait, the longer until it’s over for good. Like waiting for something I’ve ordered in the mail, anticipation is the best. 😊

      That was my attitude when people would get impatient about Daenerys getting to Westeros. To me that was always going to be the start of the endgame so I didn’t mind her getting bogged down in Essos.

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    18. I knew February was probably wishful thinking, a sort of stretch goal, and even March might be a tad early to count on…but April seemed the most likely on all counts. If they don’t anticipate the majority of six episodes airing by the end of May…there could still be two or three in May. That HuffPo article also says that the Academy has an exception where, as long as the rest of the eps air by the voting date (June 25 last year?), the show can still be eligible. Which is weird; then why not just have THAT date as the deadline and not May 31? Anyway, perhaps Bauer wasn’t aware of this either? I just seriously can’t imagine it not starting by May, & finishing in June, at the latest… It was awful enough last year when it turned out to be July instead of April. Is it really possible they could need to move it from April again, when there was a full year between 7 & 8 with no new episodes? That seems so crazy, even if these final six are insanely epic and long. I hope this IS only about publicity and hype, scaring people and then relieving them. Of course I want it to be the greatest thing ever, and it’s obviously bound to be mind-blowing in the most extreme way…but, still. @_@
      How fitting for Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” to be on Spotify atm…! XD

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    19. Filming ended in July. If VFX is happening days prior to the air date, that means that some episodes would get a year for post-production work. I’m sorry, I don’t see that happening. Blockbuster superhero movies don’t need as much time. Yes, I realize there is more film for GOT, but still, this seems unlikely.

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    20. MeeraReed,

      1.5 years of VFX on 6 episodes isnt that long. It’s even a miracle that they’ve done it in less in previous seasons. Especially when you count in the fact that the VFX is doen by multiple studios. With some studios being responsible for landscapes and matte paintings, others for fire/ice/destruction/etc effects and another studio for the dragons/animals etc. Imagine managing all that and being responsible for bringing that togheter in 6 episodes!

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    21. No extra long episodes, only extra long wait. Sigh. I am still looking forward to the last season but my excitement has definitely cooled. A measly six (one hour) episode season is going to short shrift story and character interaction, it just is. And a next summer premiere is BS, purely business driven. Annoying. Big Time.

      Anyway, I’m not going to agonize over this. I’m going to erase GOT from my thoughts until that day in the distant future when I over hear or randomly read that GOT is back on.

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    22. lucy:
      A measly six (one hour) episode season is going to short shrift story and character interaction, it just is.

      No, it won’t. There will be plenty of character interactions, as there are every season.

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    23. mau:
      F*ck the king.

      Robert: “You ever make the eight, Barristan?”

      Ser Barristan: “I don’t believe so, Your Grace.”

      Robert: “How about you, Paulie. You ever make the eight?”

      Ser Paul: “Just did, Your Grace. Eight on the nose.”

      Ser Michael: “Me too!”

      Robert: “Back in our day, you weren’t a real man until you’d f*cked one girl from each of the Seven Kingdoms and the Riverlands. We used to call it ‘making the eight.’ Those were the days.”

      Ser Paul: “Wait, what? That’s what ‘making the eight’ means? But we thought…”

      Ser Michael: “We f*cked up, Paulie. We got the wrong Robert.”

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    24. I can wait a bit longer for them to deliver one great episode, one really good episode, one so-so episode, and three episodes that rush through every important character beat in order to get to someone huge action sequence devoid of any weight because they rushed through super important character beats.

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    25. BrambleGuns,

      I think you overestimate how much time they should need. As an example, season 6 with the very heavy vfx elements finished filming in December and began airing in April. I see no reason why they’d need a year and a half for six episodes no matter how big the elements are.

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    26. Clob,

      Yeah, they don’t need that much time:

      5 episodes for ASNAWP: Arya & Jon; Arya & Sandor; Arya & Melisandre; and Arya & Nymeria.

      1 episode for Jon, Dany, Bran, Dragons and WWs.

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    27. Ten Bears,

      “I still say they should stagger the final six episodes so they air every two weeks. Otherwise… S8 will be over in 5 weeks from start to finish – a blink of an eye.
      That would give them more time to concentrate on finalizing each episode, and quite possibly. enable them to air Episode 1 sooner.”

      That’s a novel approach and might work. It would also allow more time for analysis, discussion, finishing/polishing VFX or whatever at the end. It wouldn’t hurt the hype machine either. I think post-production is something you can throw more manpower at so you can meet deadlines.

      The idea of the show missing the 2019 Emmys sounds phony. In terms of Emmy strategy, HBO badly needs to reassert its superiority against the influx of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc. I believe that the 2019 Emmys are in a sweet spot for HBO as there may be no Westworld or GoT prequel competing that year. Also, there should also be considerable affection for GoT as a pioneering phenomenon. Historically, shows that were broadcast close to Emmy nomination and voting time tend to do much better. June 2019 would be as far off the 2020 Emmys as possible. Perhaps Joe Bauer just gave a worst-case scenario.

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    28. Basically, it will be done when its done.

      Don’t mind the wait, but would be sad not to see them make the 2019 Emmy deadline

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    29. HBO just put out their year end trailer. No new GoT footage. Just old footage saying Thrones final season returns 2019.

      James Hibberd just put out an article covering it and also stated that GoT will air in the first half of 2019 just like Bloys said and that they will not miss the 2019 Emmy’s.

      “GoT returns for its final six episodes that will air during the first half of 2019. There have been reports over the weekend claiming the show’s return has been “delayed” to mid-2019 making not eligible for Emmys until 2020. Rest assured, “first half of 2019” means exactly that, and HBO expects the show will air all its episodes in time for the 2019 Emmy eligibility cut off.”

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    30. Anyone considered that this is simply a calculated move by HBO to keep people having subscriptions longer and to have it play in closer to the spin off.

      Why do people think this is to make it better? I feel like HBO is being let off the hook.

      Was season 6 better having to wait longer? Seems to me the complaints were about the writing and how rushed it was. How are those things going to be fixed by better CGI.

      This isn’t the Avengers sequel. Most the shots are still practical. Why do they need this long. I call BS

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    31. Arliss:
      Anyone considered that this is simply a calculated move by HBO to keep people having subscriptions longer and to have it play in closer to the spin off.

      Why do people think this is to make it better?I feel like HBO is being let off the hook.

      Was season 6 better having to wait longer?Seems to me the complaints were about the writing and how rushed it was.How are those things going to be fixed by better CGI.

      This isn’t the Avengers sequel.Most the shots are still practical.Why do they need this long.I call BS

      You can cancel your sub at anytime and then just sub again when GoT premiered, so them stringing this out to get people to keep their subs doesn’t really work.

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    32. lucy:
      No extra long episodes, only extra long wait. Sigh. I am still looking forward to the last season but my excitement has definitely cooled.A measly six (one hour) episode season is going to short shrift story and character interaction, it just is. And a next summer premiere is BS, purely business driven.Annoying. Big Time.

      Anyway, I’m not going to agonize over this. I’m going to erase GOT from my thoughts until that day in the distant future when I over hear or randomly read that GOT is back on.

      Oh, I don’t think it would be possible to cover everything in six one-hour episodes. I know they said they won’t all be super-long, but I can’t imagine some not being extra-long…
      I don’t want or expect it to be rushed.
      Also, I think holding off until summer would be a horrid idea business-wise unless it became, for some reason, absolutely necessary.

      Stark Raven’ Rad:
      Ten Bears,

      Perhaps Joe Bauer just gave a worst-case scenario.

      Hoping so. Needing *that* much extra time, even considering all the vfx, just doesn’t sound right…and it only makes sense that they DEFINITELY want to be eligible for next year’s Emmys. So they’d have to start by sometime in May…
      With any luck, after that tweet today, the official date will be forthcoming…*fingers crossed*

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    33. Damn, why is it that its so hard for us to get a damn ending for Game of Thrones — the books are delayed, the show is delayed. And we know the reason the show getting delayed is not because it will have a quality story, but because it has too much CGI. Is it worth it to wait this long just to get a CGI filled show with mediocre story?

      I remember a guy sadly commenting on one of the posts that he will never see the ending of Game of Thrones in the book because of his terminal cancer. I consoled him saying that he will, at least, see an ending in the show — I hope he can still make it.

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    34. I saw this on twitter and I’m gutted we will likely have to wait until May for S8. On a personal note I’ve just booked my family vacation for the middle two weeks of May, not sure how I will cope missing two episodes and needing to avoid social media to avoid spoilers. I was genuinely hoping we’d get S8 finish by the time I leave too with a late March/early April being banded around by trusted sources. The only positive is I can now being my final rewatch in October with one season a month to see me through.

      My own feelings aside I wonder why they need so long, for post production, we know the Winterfall battle finished in April so that’s one full year, more than movies I believe. The rest of filming finish in June so again it’s eleven months there.

      Also with news like this coming out we must be close to a teaser trailer and confirmation of air date (at least month by now).

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    35. Onedon: 8 to 9 months of VFX production? this is going to be epic. Might as well this is the final season and I’m willing to wait for the best possible version of the season. Don’t hold back cause I’m pretty sure, everyone’s hyped up and the news about the prequel’s production start date helps a little. Though if the finale airs in June then the prequel’s first episode(if it goes to series) would b

      My understanding is they don’t wait for all filming to finish and there is no dependency upon the music either. They will have been working on VFX already for several months most likely especially for the battle(s) in the North as we know filming ended there in April.

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    36. Enharmony1625: In any case, extra waiting means we had better see some epic dire wolf action! Having said that, I also hope season 8 won’t be wall-to-wall VFX. Character moments are the priority! Previously D&D have said that some of their favourite scenes to write have been just two people in a room talking, so I hope they make good on that in S8 (although with all the reunions it will be more like 3, 4 or 12 people in a room talking).

      I really agree but to take this long in post production really suggests to me that S8 is going to be very heavy indeed with special effects. White Walkers, dragons are likely to get a lot of screen time I suspect.

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    37. Shelle:
      I knew February was probably wishful thinking, a sort of stretch goal, and even March might be a tad early to count on…but April seemed the most likely on all counts. If they don’t anticipate the majority of six episodes airing by the end of May…there could still be two or three in May. That HuffPo article also says that the Academy has an exception where, as long as the rest of the eps air by the voting date (June 25 last year?), the show can still be eligible. Which is weird; then why not just have THAT date as the deadline and not May 31? Anyway, perhaps Bauer wasn’t aware of this either? I just seriously can’t imagine it not starting by May, & finishing in June, at the latest… It was awful enough last year when it turned out to be July instead of April. Is it really possible they could need to move it from April again, when there was a full year between 7 & 8 with no new episodes? That seems so crazy, even if these final six are insanely epic and long. I hope this IS only about publicity and hype, scaring people and then relieving them. Of course I want it to be the greatest thing ever, and it’s obviously bound to be mind-blowing in the most extreme way…but, still. @_@
      How fitting for Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” to be on Spotify atm…! XD

      Also remember last year they said either the end of 2018 or start of 2019. We then got reliable indicators it would be April time now all signs point towards May, it’s almost GRRM like:)

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    38. Jack Bauer 24: The idea of the show missing the 2019 Emmys sounds phony. In terms of Emmy strategy, HBO badly needs to reassert its superiority against the influx of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc. I believe that the 2019 Emmys are in a sweet spot for HBO as there may be no Westworld or GoT prequel competing that year. Also, there should also be considerable affection for GoT as a pioneering phenomenon. Historically, shows that were broadcast close to Emmy nomination and voting time tend to do much better. June 2019 would be as far off the 2020 Emmys as possible. Perhaps Joe Bauer just gave a worst-case

      Thanks Jack, I saw James Hibberd wrote on twitter that “all I will say is first half of 2019 means first half of 2019”. This now means we are still looking at May air date but technically it could still start in April.

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    39. Enharmony1625:
      Ten Bears,

      Question: Is there an “ASNAWP Consultant” role on the show?
      If there isn’t, why isn’t there one? And why aren’t you that person? 🙂

      1. There was, but he or she went AWOL last season.
      2. They need to hire a new ASNAWP Consultant.
      3. I thought you already had the inside track for the position.

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    40. Hahaha…I can grudgingly accept that May may be a possibility, but am keeping my money & hopes pinned on April for now. x-p (Assuming March is out—though I suppose I could still pray just because?) That sure is one heckuva lotta vfx either way. :0 😮 :O

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    41. Jon Snowed,

      Of course season 8 will probably have the biggest special effects of the entire series. It’s the last season, the final goodbye and we have several wars in the list to happen. Especially Dany and Jon vs The Night King. Not to mention the death of several characters in the history. But I’m sure we will see a mix of those things. D & D will have time to work in the development of the main characters and the reunions we have left, like Arya and Jon, Jon and Bran, and the new meetings, like Dany and Arya.

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    42. Jack Bauer 24,

      James Hibberd is a reliable source. I still think April 2019 will be the date. HBO knows Game of Thrones is the biggest show on television and they will keep the hype around the mystery of the season 8 date going as much they can.

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    43. I think it is really dependent on HBO’s schedule at this point. The promo gave a few clues about what order the shows will premiere. The last three shows were True Detecrive, Pretty Little Liars, and Game of Thrones.

      True Detective premieres in January (actual date tbd), I’m betting third Sunday. It lasts 8 episodes, ends mid-March. PLL will probably be next so if it premieres the next weekend and lasts seven episodes plus Easter, it would end May 5th.

      That probably means GOT premieres May 12. If the last three episodes are longer than the first three, then the majority of the season would be after May 31 and make them eligible for the next years Emmys.

      Whatever date they announce for True Detective probably means earlier of later for GOT so hopefully we find that out soon!

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    44. I hope so Thi, I just fear there is a lot to cover in six episodes. I am expecting the first two episodes to cover drama and reunions, 3-4 the battle with the dead and last two to resolve the situation in the south however that may play out. That’s two hours for some pretty big plots if I am correct.

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    45. An article on Entertainment Weekly cleared up the date confusion, stating definitively that all episodes would indeed air by the Emmy-eligibility cutoff date…meaning it would have to start April 21 or earlier. Even if they were going to have the last few made eligible by the rule of “if you air most of the season by the end of voting it’ll all be included,” the latest possible premiere date would be May 5. But again I’d bet the most on April or prior.

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    46. Shelle:
      An article on Entertainment Weekly cleared up the date confusion, stating definitively that all episodes would indeed air by the Emmy-eligibility cutoff date…meaning it would have to start April 21 or earlier. Even if they were going to have the last few made eligible by the rule of “if you air most of the season by the end of voting it’ll all be included,” the latest possible premiere date would be May 5. But again I’d bet the most on April or prior.

      An April 21st premiere date would both allow for all episodes to be completed before the May 31st deadline for the 2019 Emmys and match up with what Joe Bauer said about the VFX team being contracted throughout May 2019. It would end GoT on the final Sunday in May 2019.

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    47. Alba Stark: An April 21st premiere date would both allow for all episodes to be completed before the May 31st deadline for the 2019 Emmys and match up with what Joe Bauer said about the VFX team being contracted throughout May 2019.It would end GoT on the final Sunday in May 2019.

      That’d make sense. I keep hearing educated guesses of April 14 or 21, so I’ve kinda gotten the sense that it may be one of those.

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    48. Ten Bears,

      Wondered if anyone else caught that. Although, it would interest a man to know what the debut album of “John Snow and the Wildlings” would do. As well as a stunning live performance by the newest metal band, “Dothraki Horde.” Sometimes I think a man has too much free time.

      Bringeth forth season 8!!!!!
      ASNAWP 4 life!!!

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