Game of Thrones Season 7 is winding down for 2017, with only a single episode left to air. But in the world of the production, Game of Thrones is a year round affair. The moment a season is in the can and handed to HBO, the publicity machine starts hyping the premiere date. Meanwhile, the showrunners are already moving onto plotting out the next season's scripts and getting down to the business of writing. So where are we in the Game Of Thrones Season 8 calendar, and how much do we know about the next season already?
While the rest of us are just starting to ask these questions, the actual Game of Thrones production team is already deep in the world of Season 8. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss were already talking about the process of writing the new season before Season 7 even premiered. And they must have been, because while you were trying not to get spoiled when Season 7 episode 4 leaked, HBO was crowing that the scripts for the next season were completely written at the Television Critics Association press tour.
So what else do we know? How long will it be? When will it air? Is anyone confirmed to return? And what about those prequels?
Is There A Premiere Date?
Heck, there's not even a premiere *year* yet. Fans are hoping and praying for Season 8 to come in 2018, but HBO has hedged it could be as late as early 2019. (It would help enormously with the Emmy chances for the final season, to have it air in the Spring of 2019.)
At the TCAs, HBO confirmed that the length of the final season was not going to change: Six episodes.
Sound designer Paula Fairfield let slip in a Season 7 interview that the scripts are going to be "supersized," 80 minutes each, or longer. This has not been officially confirmed, but no one has denied it either. The potential supersized length of the episodes is one reason the premiere might be pushed back to Spring 2019.
Pre-Production Has Begun
This news broke earlier this week, that the crews have started showing up in regular filming locations, like the Northern Ireland location of Moneyglass where the set of Winterfell stands.
Filming Starts In October
That comes straight from the mouth of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who said he hadn't gotten scripts yet, but was hoping to see them around the six week before filming mark, and that filming started in October. So he's hoping to see them "soon."
How Long Will Filming Go On For?
Filming goes for roughly six months, or at least it has every season so far. (Post production went longer in Season 7 than in previous years.) With only six episodes, supersized or not, we assume this will probably still close to that length, which means filming will probably run through March.
Where Are They Filming?
So far, the show is confirmed to be in Northern Ireland (see Winterfell, above) and has been seen scouting locations in Spain, including Seville, which stood in for King's Landing this past year and Andalusia, which was where the big Lannister-Targaryen Battle was filmed. They're also looking at brand new castle spaces, like the one in the above tweet, suggesting that even as the show ends, we'll still be getting new locations on the Westerosi map.
Who Is Coming Back?
We're not sure yet! Depends who survives on Sunday, doesn't it?
In all seriousness, Lena Headey all but said outright she might survive, so Cersei will probably make an appearance in Season 8, as has the actor who plays Jaime, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. We assume Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke are back next year as well. We certainly hope Tyrion and Sansa survive, as well as Arya, Bran, Sam, Varys, Tormund, Beric, The Hound, Brienne, Bronn....I could go on.
What About Those Prequels?
Those are still under construction. A few details have emerged. Jane Goldman (Kick Ass) is writing one of them with George R.R. Martin's input, and she said that her show, at least, would be a part of Westerosi history that's "recognizable" to fans.
Still, Martin has sworn up and down that none of the five shows currently competing for that coveted prequel pole position will focus on Robert's Rebellion or the Tales of Dunk and Egg, which means that no prequel will be set within the last 100 years before the events of the current series. Could she be writing the Dance of Dragons Civil War maybe?
Either way, no prequel will be arriving until Season 8 is well and truly over, so we shouldn't expect to see anything until late 2019 at the earliest.