HBO has spoken: the final season of Game of Thrones will premiere next year in 2019. The premiere cable network made its official statement on the hit series’ final season premiere date this week.
Rumors have been swirling around the possibility of a delayed final season of Game of Thrones since before season 7’s premiere this summer. In June, HBO’s programming president teased the possibility of season 8 being pushed back to 2019 to allow creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss to write the new scripts and create a production schedule.
Last month, Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner confirmed the possibility of a delayed premiere date for the series’ final season when she laid out their shooting schedule. “We started [shooting] in October, so we’re maybe like a tenth of the way through,” the actress joked. “No, no, we’ve got six or seven months left. …[Season 7] comes out in 2019.”
Now, HBO has finally issued an official statement confirming the 2019 release date. Along with this confirmation, HBO also released information about season 8’s writers and directors. As per usual, David Benioff and Dan Weiss will be writing the season’s episodes with their writing team duo Bryan Cogman and David Hill.
While there is typically a new director for each episode in a Game of Thrones season, the show’s final season will be more limited. Directors David Nutter (responsible for some of the show’s most memorable episodes such as “Rains of Castamere” and “The Dance of Dragons”) and Miguel Sapochnik (who took on the explosive episodes “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards”) will be directors for the season as well as David Benioff and Dan Weiss themselves. Benioff and Weiss have not directed an episode since season 4’s first episode “Two Swords”.
According to actor John Bradley, HBO decided to employ only the best of the best directors for the final season. He also said that Benioff and Weiss will be directing the series finale. “It’s in the right hands there,” Bradley told The Huffington Post. “They know everything about the show. …[They] deserve the right to finish this show off in the way they see fit. I don’t think there’s anybody better qualified, so I can’t wait.”
HBO has not said when exactly in 2019 Game of Thrones season 8 will premiere.