An Upcoming Game of Thrones Battle Took 55 Nights to Film

When Game of Thrones first made its debut on HBO back in 2011, the network knew the book series already had a large, devoted fan base and hoped to build on that audience. What the HBO didn’t know, but were extremely pleased with, was just how quickly the series would become the network’s “biggest drama” and “most talked about show on television,” averaging more than 18 million viewers per episode by its third season. The series, based on the Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by George RR Martin, is a complex, gruesome, fantastical drama that takes place in the fictional countries of Westoros and Essex following three families in a fight for who is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne: the Starks, Lannisters, and Targaryens. Since its debut there have been weddings, battles, deaths (some more heartbreaking than others), dragons, and so much more.

The drama has been on hiatus since August 27, 2017, giving fans close to two years to form wild theories about how the show would end, who might be pregnant, and exactly who will ultimately be sitting on the Iron Throne when it’s over. Will it be fan favorite Jon Snow (Kit Harrington)? The girl with no name, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams)? Our favorite love-to-hate villain Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)? Her lover/twin brother and soldier, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster- Waldau)? Or The Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)? Here’s what we know about it so far.

Season 8 Will Premiere Almost Exactly on the 8th Anniversary of It’s Debut Date

After more than a year of speculation, Game of Thrones revealed its premiere date through an exciting teaser trailer that did what the show does best: shows you everything, but gives you nothing. In the teaser, we get glimpses of all our favorite characters and an apt hashtag: #ForTheThrone. The final season premiere date falls almost exactly eight years to the day of when the series first premiered on HBO, April 11, 2011, making this a just end for the international sensation.

Every battle.
Every betrayal.
Every risk.
Every fight.
Every sacrifice.
Every death.
All #ForTheThrone.

It Will Open With Callbacks to the Show’s Pilot Episode

According to EW, Season 8 will open at Winterfell where, “Instead of King Robert’s procession arriving, it’s Daenerys and her army. What follows is a thrilling and tense intermingling of characters—some of whom have never previously met, many who have messy histories—as they all prepare to face the inevitable invasion of the Army of the Dead.”

Each Episode is a Mini-Movie

In an interview with Variety, HBO CEO Richard Plepler said that after watching the final six episodes, he believes the GOT creators have “made six movies” and estimated that each episode runs “about 90 minutes.” Anyone who is a fan of the show knows that that’s pretty easy to imagine. However, according to the French entertainment site, Premiere, it might be more than just a “feeling” of a movie as they tweeted out this picture from the Orange Cinema Series, which, if Google Translate is accurate, states that the first two episodes will be approximately 60 minutes in length, and the remaining four episodes will be “XXL” at 80 minutes per episode. That’s not just a “feels like a movie” runtime—those are movie times. But the producers are keeping mum if the reported times are accurate.

Précision utile : @OCSTV a expliqué oralement que les deux premiers épisodes de la saison finale de #GameOfThrones allaient durer 60 minutes, et les quatre suivants 80 mn d’après les dernières infos de HBO

Directors of Seasons Past Are Back, and Who Directed The Last Episode…

Director Miguel Sapochnik, known for directing some of the most epic GoT episodes like “Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards,” and “The Winds of Winter,” is back, as is director David Nutter, who has directed several episodes, most notably “The Rains of Castamere.”

And the show will be directed off into that Iron Throne in the TV sky by its own showrunners, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, as confirmed to Huffington Post in an interview with actor Jon Bradley who plays Sam Tarly, the Starks’ beloved family friend.

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Back on Game of Thrones for prep of the final season and the team is back together. Good times even though winter is already here #gameofthrones #miguelsapochnik #carolinevalderson #joebauer #stevekullback #vfx #dop #setlife #battleofthebastards #cinematography #behindthescenes #emmyawards

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If You Thought The Battle of the Bastards was Intense, Buckle Up

Season Eight is really upping the ante on everything. EW reported that one of the big battles of the season involved 55 night shoots, only for the Winterfell scenes, and needed more shoots in a studio for weeks after that. Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, said of the shoot, “It makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park.” For contrast, the Battle of the Bastards was shot in 25 days, so whatever this battle is, it’s going to be HUGE. Though it hasn’t been confirmed if that battle sequence will be the epic fight against the Army of the Dead, that final battle is “the most sustained action sequence ever made for television or film.”

Several New Characters Were Cast

In late 2017, a casting notice was obtained advising that GoT was casting for the roles of a “Northern Sentry,” some guards, an attractive girl, a mercenary and a northern farmer. Also reported has been the casting of Marc Rissman as the leader of the Golden Company, Danielle Gilman as a character by the name of Sarra, and a role of a young “sad eyed girl.”

Ghost Returns

The connection between the Stark brood and their direwolves was a strong bond that was reflected heavily in the first couple of seasons. Almost all the wolves, save but two, met brutal endings. According to visual effects supervisor, Joe Bauer, at least one of the surviving direwolves will be back to bid adieu to the series: Ghost, Jon Snow’s companion wolf.

Photos, and more photos, and…is Cersei pregnant?

The latest release of portraits offer very little clues to really, anything, but for one: Cersei standing in silhouette, with what appears to be a medieval baby bump. If she is indeed with child, something she has been craving since all her children were murdered, then more than likely the father would be her brother, Jaime, like all the other kids. But Cersei of now is much crueler, harder, and angrier than the Cersei of before, so who knows if she even wants a baby now. Only time will tell.

Also included is a portrait of Jon Snow with his new lover, Daenerys. Unknown to them, however, is the reveal the audience got to experience through Bran Stark’s eyes, that Daenerys is Jon Snow’s real aunt. So whether those pictures are from before or after the big reveal happens, is another secret being kept under lock and key.

Each of the Cast Has Said Something About The End

Most of the cast has been interviewed for other projects, or appearances, and each have said a thing or two about the show’s ending. Most notable is Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, who stated in an interview with IGN, that she thinks “a lot of fans will be disappointed and a lot of fans will be over the moon.”

Meanwhile Coster-Waldau said in an interview with TheWrap that he’s “spent so many years working on this and been guessing and trying to figure out how this will end—and when I read it, some of the parts of it I’d get, and other parts of it were just completely shocking and surprising.”

Harrington said, “I cried at the end,” while speaking to BBC One. Adding that, “You have to remember that [after] eight years of it—no one really cares about it more than us.”

Both Maisie Williams and Emilia Clarke took to social media to say goodbye to the show and their characters.

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goodbye belfast. goodbye arya. goodbye game of thrones. what a joy i’ve had. here’s to the adventures to come #lastwomanstanding #barely #immasleepforthenextfouryears #justkiddingidontsleep

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Hopped on a boat to an island to say goodbye to the land that has been my home away from home for almost a decade. It’s been a trip @gameofthrones thank you for the life I never dreamed I’d be able to live and the family I’ll never stop missing #💔#lastseasonitis

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Spinoffs and a Reunion are Already in the Works

A pilot for a prequel that takes place thousands of years before the current GoT storyline is in the works, according to CNN, and Naomi Watts is already cast to star in the series. Nine additional cast members have been announced and director SJ Clarkson is set to direct the pilot. The show wouldn’t air until 2020, at the very least, and several other prequels are currently in discussion at HBO. Most will not have anything to do with the GoT characters we know and love, though.

However, HBO has confirmed that a reunion special will be hosted by Conan O’Brien and will be included in the a series box set.

Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres on April 14, 2019 on HBO.

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