Game of Thrones' Season 8 ending is gearing up to start filming in only a couple of weeks. For those of us who keep our ears to the ground, that means it's the time of years where we start seeing completely out of order vignettes being filmed for afar, and we try to figure out what they mean. But this year, it seems like the plan is to outsmart us, as Game of Thrones is filming multiple finales in order to sew maximum confusion.
This is not just just to confuse those of us who hunt for photos taken by tourists who choose to spent their holidays visiting the small towns in Spain or parts of Northern Ireland where the show is currently filming, in order to get a glimpse of their favorite characters. That's something that has plagued the production for years. (One of my favorite behind the scenes moments in Season 4 is the director yelling at all the tourists to pipe down so they can film.)
No, this is due to last year, where something far more unprecedented happened: a person who was involved with the production, at a high enough level that they were able to read all seven scripts, then went on a certain reddit channel and divulged every last major plot point.
From Arya's opening scene of the Red Wedding Part II to Viserion's death and resurrection, to the final scene, which was then christened "El Boatsex," nearly every last detail of Season 7 was leaked, all the way back in October of last year. Those who read them didn't want to believe someone would actually be so shockingly unprofessional as to break the non-disclosure agreement and do this.
But then filming over the next four months slowly seemed to confirm every detail, until it was impossible to pretend those leaks weren't true. Hence the need for the show to go to these extreme lengths.
Thankfully, these spoilers seemed to mostly stay within the circle of internet people who get off of knowing every spoiler ahead of time. (My favorite proof of this was that of the multiple "death" pools I was involved in this season, not one thought to add any of the dragons. Clearly Viserion's demise was going to be a shock to the average viewer after all.) But with the production time far longer this year than ever before... the old gods and the new can only know what will happen.
Which is why this news broke today, from HBO president of programming Casey Bloys:
...they're going to shoot multiple versions so that nobody really know what happens. You have to do that on a long show. Because when you're shooting something, people know. So they're going to shoot multiple versions so that there's no real definitive answer until the end.
No one in the production is going to know what the real ending is. Every ending they film will be treated as if it could be the real one. This way, even if they have someone in the production who breaks ranks, risks their jobs (and their entire careers) just to tells a few hundred people on reddit whether or not Aegon and Daenerys find themselves with a baby....or if Aegon takes the black to let Dany rule....or any other crazy ending you can think of, they won't actually know if it's the real one.
This also explains why filming will take longer than originally planned, since the show will have to account for all these extra scenes and endings that they film. Personally I think it's the best guessing game ever... is what they're filming today real? Or is it totally bogus? Only George R.R. Martin knows for sure!
And seriously, if this is the *best* way to sell the DVDs so that we can watch all the fake endings as part of the extras, I don't know what is. Well played, HBO and Game of Thrones. Well played.