The Game of Thrones season 7 is still not over, but details about season 8 are already coming in from HBO side.
In June 2016, HBO programming president Casey Bloys made it clear that Season 8 would be Game of Thrones’ last season. He said during a press tour:
“The show-runners have a very specific plan about the number of seasons they want to do. If I could get them to do more I would take 10 more seasons. But we take their lead on what they need to make the best version of their show.”
It was confirmed by HBO programming head President Michael Lombardo that Game of Thrones will have season 7 & 8 during a Television Critics Association’s press tour.
When the reporter asked if season 7 is going to be the last as show-runners have repeatedly declared in the past to hit the ‘70 hour’ mark, he said “The question is: How much beyond seven are we going to do? David Benioff and Dan Weiss (D&D) now feel that there are two more years after six, but the number of episodes for both the seasons will be restricted to 13 (7 in S07, 6 in S08) as of now.
HBO will not be the first studio to have gone in this direction, USA Network also curtailed the number of episodes for its famous series White Collar while AMC did it for Breaking Bad.
David Benioff told The Variety magazine “I think we’re down to our final 13 episodes after this season. We’re heading into the final lap. That’s the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, that’s what we’re looking at.”
Another director of one of the episodes Jack Bender admitted to the shorter season, he said “They’re only doing seven episodes, and they’ve got their regulars who have done it forever. I know that I had a wonderful experience doing the show and I know that Dan and David are thrilled with the shows.”
While the number of episodes has been reduced, the run-time will remain the same. Traditionally, episodes have been 60 minutes long while in 8th season they are clocking 80 minutes plus, according to GOT sound designer Paula Fairfield.
HBO’s President Casey Bloys said: “Two hours per episode seems like it would be excessive, but it’s a great show, so who knows?” The eighth or last season will be pushed as they haven’t begun shooting yet although the script has already been written, confirmed by Bloys.
Basically, it means, they would have to resolve three important storylines and character arcs in the next season i.e Littlefinger in the North, Euron Greyjoy in the Iron Islands and Cersei Lannister in Kings landing.
Dany’s plot in the East has moved forward, she has captured almost the entire Slaver’s Bay (an area on the Southern coast of Essos) and now possess a horde of Dothraki warriors, the unsullied, three dragons and support from Martells and Tyrells. She has begun her campaign to conquer Westeros and sit on the Iron Throne. The show has validated R+L = J theory, Sansa knows how to play Game of Thrones, Arya Stark is a full-fledged assassin after clearing Walder Frey off her list.
Hence, season 7 will be about setting up Team Dany and Team Jon Snow against the Night’s King. I can visualize the final scene of season 7 to be an army of white walkers invading the Westeros and the Wall has been razed to the ground.