"Game of Thrones" Season 7 filming, and the eventual 2017 air date, are being pushed back for the most "Game of Thrones" of reasons.

The 2017 season should be starting production right around now, getting ready for filming in Northern Ireland and the other locations, for the usual April premiere date. That has been the MO for the past few 10-episode seasons, but Season 7 is not only reportedly shorter, it's starting later. Why?

Winter is coming.

Yes, Ned Stark just can't let it go. The Season 6 finale, "The Winds of Winter," noted that "Winter is here," but winter is NOT here as of July 2016 so they're waiting a bit.

GoT showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are apparently massive UFC fans -- they said they spend more time talking to the GoT cast about UFC than the HBO show -- and they just had a fantastic interview on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. However, during the talk they mentioned that production on the new season will be delayed, and that will probably in turn delay the premiere date from April 2017 to ... Not Sure Yet.

After being asked about the status of Gendry, the showrunners were asked if the new season would come back on the air in April.

Benioff said, "No," and Weiss continued:

"We don't have an air date yet. But this year will probably be a little bit later, because we're starting a little bit later, because at the end of this season, winter is here, and that means that sunny weather doesn't really serve our purposes anymore. So we kind of pushed everything down the line so we could get some grim, gray weather, even in the sunnier places that we shoot."

OK, so that's a shame, but they don't necessarily need actual December winter for that, maybe just a good old-fashioned early fall rain. And since the season will have a shorter length, maybe the final product won't be delayed too much?

The showrunners once again confirmed that only two more seasons are ahead. Is it a 15-episode maximum? They're not sure. "The two seasons will be a bit shorter," Benioff said. "We don't have a definite episode count but each season will be a little bit shorter just 'cause each season takes longer and longer to shoot."

They also further confirmed they know how the show ends. "We can write the final episode right now." But they're too busy watching and talking about fighting. Listen to the whole podcast for more.

So that sucks. Maybe May of next year for the premiere then, depending on when they get started and how much the shortened season affects editing/effects/etc.?

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George R.R. Martin's best-selling book series "A Song of Ice and Fire" is brought to the screen as HBO sinks its considerable storytelling teeth into the medieval fantasy... Read More

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