Fans just got a premiere date for "Game of Thrones" Season 7, but the showrunners are already focused on the final Season 8. Sadly, they did confirm that it will be the shortest season yet, with just six episodes.
Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss joined GoT stars Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) at the SXSW Film Festival to talk episode counts, favorite kills, spoilers, a certain Season 7 cameo, and more.
Season 7 will only have seven episodes, as opposed to the previous 10 each year, and it has long been rumored that Season 8 will just have six. Now that's confirmed.
Benioff: "It's only going to be six episodes for the final season. From the beginning we've wanted to tell a 70-hour movie. It will turn out to be a 73-hour movie, but it's stayed relatively the same of having the beginning, middle and now we're coming to the end. It would have been really tough if we lost any core cast members along the way, I'm very happy we've kept everyone and we get to finish it the way we want to."
What do you mean you kept everyone? Sean Bean wasn't core cast? Anyway, if you care about this kind of thing, here's who will be writing each episode of Season 8:
The showrunners are taking on the bulk of the work. No episode written by author George R.R. Martin, which is sad, but not that surprising, since he stepped away from the show a while back to focus on his books, among other things. No word on directors yet. Let's hope Miguel Sapochnik finds his way in.
The panel also discussed the topic of spoilers -- usually it's people sneakily taking photos/videos on set and sharing them online, but this year, the whole Season 7 script was reportedly leaked many months in advance. According to Entertainment Weekly, the pair said they've resigned themselves to the idea that it's "virtually impossible" to prevent some secrets from getting out. Benioff quipped, "The CIA can't keep information private." Weiss teased, "Should we just tell everybody what the ending is? It's a lot of work to shoot this. We could just tell everyone."
Maisie Williams previously lashed out at whoever (allegedly) leaked the entire Season 7 rundown, calling it "such a childish, annoying thing to do."
"Game of Thrones" Season 7 premieres July 16, 2017. Season 8 and its six episodes are expected in 2018. And then ... c'est tout, until there's a GoT spinoff/prequel, which the current showrunners basically confirmed they're sitting out, saying HBO should get "new blood in."
Want more stuff like this? Like us on Facebook.