When HBO announced the premiere date for Game of Thrones Season 7, they invited fans to watch a live-stream of melting ice. It took two failed videos, a team of fire throwers, and over an hour for the date to ultimately be unveiled—and still, 3.2 million people tuned in to watch. For the eighth and final season of the series, the PR-peeps behind the GoT premiere reveal took a scaled-down approach.
A new campaign #hashtag! A confirmed premiere date!! A 30 second sizzle clip featuring no new footage!!! Okay, so it’s not much—but we’ll take it. With this new information, we can start plotting our personal plans of attack: there are approximately 71 hours of existing Game of Thrones television, and approximately 20 weeks until the season eight premiere. In order to rewatch the entire series start-to-finish before the new season—a prepping practice I strongly recommend—you’ll have to watch 3.5 hours of GoT each week. Make space in your calendar, move some stuff around if you have to, and start your re-binge-watch. Winter’s already here, but you still need to be ready.
Now that you have a date, here’s everything else you need to know about Game of Thrones Season 8.
There will only be six episodes
Back in 2016, before the premiere of season 7, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss revealed to Variety that the final two seasons would include 13 episodes, seven in season 7 and six in season 8. But there’s a Valyrian Steel lining. As we saw in the previous season—with the final episode clocking in at 82 minutes—the series’ last six episode will likely have a longer run time than the standard 50 minutes. Just think of it at six GoT mini movies.
It’s a very expensive season
Bring on the dragons and the 800+ extras! Variety has reported that each episode in the final season will cost at least $15 million apiece—and probably more. For reference, the early GoT seasons cost an estimated $2 million to $6 million per episode.
There are going to be a handful of new characters
German actor Marc Rissmann will play Golden Company commander Harry Strickland; Alice Nokes has been cast as a character named Willa; Danielle Galligan will play a character known only as Sarra; and Emer McDaid has been cast in an unspecified role. There’s also a long list of guards, sailors, villagers, and vague unnamed characters that do not yet have a actor’s name publicly attached.
The season will open in Winterfell
Entertainment Weekly‘s exclusive Game of Thrones cover story gave fans access to all kinds of delicious details, including writer James Hibberd painting a picture of the opening scene of the season. “Season 8 opens at Winterfell with an episode that contains plenty of callbacks to the show’s pilot,” he wrote. “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.”
There’s going to be a massive battle
Imagine this: 55 nights to film a single outdoor battle scene, followed by weeks in the studio to wrap it up. That’s how long it took for GoT to shoot the final fight with the Army of the Dead, which EW revealed will likely be the biggest battle scene ever made for television or film. An entire episode will be dedicated to the action, and will be directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the man behind the “Battle Of The Bastards.”
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