Game of Thrones Season 8 Trailer, Release Date, Spoilers, Cast, Story Details, and News
Winter, and the Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer, is here, along with its release date! Here’s everything to know on the final season.
All men must die. This gruesometruth is just as unavoidable for celebrated television shows, like sweet wintry Game of Thrones as it is for members of House Stark and Lannister. But that is still hard to accept, especially if you’ve already swon fealty to HBO’s biggest hit and what’s possibly television’s last water cooler series.
Nevertheless, there are good tidings as well out there in the snow since Game of Thrones Season 8 is only just around the corner and will feature multiple episodes that could be feature length. For context, the only Game of Thrones episode to run that long previously was the season 7 finale, which barely made the cut at 80 minutes flat. So if our watch must come to an end, let it be an utterly spectacular one, worthy of songs and wine.
As we wait though, here’s everything you need to know…
Game of Thrones Season 8 Trailer
The first Game of Thrones trailer does not include any actual footage, however it does feature all of your favorite Starks (sorry, Bran) reminiscing about what they’ve lost as the True Enemy of the North arrives. Winter, and the death that comes with it. Also, you might be able to just eye that April 14 release date!
We haven’t had an official trailer yet with actual footage, but we have had a meager spattering of glorious new footage. In the below video advertising HBO’s 2019 slate, we get a brief glimpse of Daenerys Targaryen arriving at Winterfell and getting an icy reception from Sansa Stark. It occurs at 0:40.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Release Date
Game of Thrones Season 8 begins its final movement on April 14. Brace thyself.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Spoilers
A good place to start is with the technical spoilers that HBO has already allowed to be unspooled. As revealed in Entertainment Weekly‘s exclusive set visit, Game of Thrones Season 8 will begin by echoing the series premiere all the way back in 2011. During those happier days, King Robert Baratheon’s procession arrived at a cheerful Winterfell; in April 2019, Queen Daenerys’ army will begin the season by getting a cold welcome from Sansa Stark, who will begrudingly bend the knee to the Dragon Queen after her “brother” Jon Snow already surrendered the North’s autonomy to the Targaryen. However, EW‘s James Hibberd hints that Sansa might be soon won over by Dany, as well as stating the obvious: Team Dany meeting Team Stark will cause a lot of overdue reunions in the premiere: the Hound and Arya, the Hound and Sansa, Sansa and Tyrion, Jon and Bran, and (best of all), Jon and Arya.
“It’s about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death,” co-executive producer Bryan Cogman says. “It’s an incredibly emotional, haunting, bittersweet final season, and I think it honors very much what George set out to do — which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”
Hibberd also teased he was on the set for the Game of Thrones series finale, and it was in a Westerosi location never previously seen, and one that included characters whose appearance surprised him. Make of that what you will. However, he helped confirm a few more intriguing things, such as the fact that the third episode of season 8 will exclusively be the battle of Winterfell. We already assumed this given that Miguel Sapochnik is directing the third and fifth episodes of season 8 after previously helming “The Battle of the Bastards” in season 6. He’s been long spotted on the Winterfell sets in Belfast, filming a battle sequence that took 55 days to shoot (more than double the 25 days spent on “The Battle of the Bastards”). However, this is apparently just exterior shots and that it took even longer to film the interiors and closeups.
Yet all of this means the decisive battle that the series has been building toward since the beginning, the living versus the dead, will occur in the third episode of the season, meaning there are three more chapters of potential cinematic length. If we had to guess the real finale will be a confrontation between the two true unstoppable forces of Starks and Lannisters in episode 5. (That is speculation. It is possible the Army of the Dead will march on King’s Landing, where a battle will occur in the fifth episode.)
Of course the final season filmed in Belfast, Ireland, which is its base of operations, albeit some scouts have been spotted at familiar castles in Ireland, as well as the Roman amphitheater in Spain that stands as the “Dragonpit” in the Game of Thrones season 7 finale. It has since been confirmed almost all of the major cast (with notable exception Emilia Clarke) traveled to Spain to film in the Dragonpit for a major sequence that is allegedly occurring in the Game of Thrones series finale. Whether that scene is a wedding, funeral, or trial depends on your own personal theory/favorite rumor (there’s a cottage industry of YouTubers who claim to have inside information if you’re so inclined/gullible).
Our friends at Watchers on the Wall caught that Game of Thrones did some filming in Sweden and Norway for the first time ever. So Benioff and Weiss presumably want to finally show snow falling on King’s Landing and other locations, and are using Northern Europe, accordingly. This is good news for Starks, because winter is a time for wolves.
Similarly, new sets for Winterfell and King’s Landing were built in Belfast. The former includes new battlements and walls to showcase the fortification of the Stark ancestral home of Winterfell… as well as a new moat being constructed. This is due to the aforementioned “Battle for the Dawn,” which is again expected to be in the third episode of Season 8.
The fact that they built King’s Landing neighborhood sets in Belfast is intriguing, however, since this has never been done considering the show often just uses real locations in Croatia for King’s Landing… But if perhaps a battle (or riot?) is to break out in the capital, it might be better to have sets to, ahem, burn… (Episode 5)
Game of Thrones Season 8 Cast
Presumably all fan favorites who survived the end of season 7 will be returning for the Game of Thrones‘ endgame in its final year. That means yes, we will see more of Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gwendoline Christie, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Conleth Hill, Iain Glen, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jacob Anderson, Jerome Flynn, Rory McCann, Joe Dempsie, Anton Lesser, and Daniel Portman.
Previously Mark Gattis was expected to return as Iron Banker Tycho Nestoris in Season 8, but he’s since confirmed he’s not in the final season.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episodes
Episode one is being written by Dave Hill, who has been an assistant and story editor to Benioff and Weiss since season 2. Hill has previously penned three episodes of Game of Thrones, including season 7’s fifth episode, “Eastwatch,” as well as “Home” in 2016, and “Sons of the Harpy” in 2015.
Episode two will be written by Game of Thrones heavy-hitter Bryan Cogman, who has been a producer on the series since 2014 and has writing credits on it going back all the way to the first season in 2011 when he wrote “Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things.” Other notable episodes he penned are “Oathkeeper,” “The Laws of Gods and Men,” and the infamous “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.”
The final four episodes have all been written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. It’s good to be the king.
Like the sight of a dragon flying above a battlefield, the directors list is a beautiful sight since Miguel Sapochnik has returned to the series. Aye, the helmer of what may still be the two most cinematic hours of Game of Thrones, season 6’s final “The Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter” hours, is returning to the helm of multiple episodes. He’s directing the third and fifth episodes to be exact, so know when to expect them to bring the (wild)fire. Yet the most intriguing thing might be that the final episode will be directed by neither Sapochnik or other fan favorite series mainstays like Alan Taylor, David Nutter, or Neill Marshall. Nope… showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will be directing it themselves! David Nutter, helmer of the now legendary “The Rains of Catamere” episode, is meanwhile directing the first, second, and fourth episodes.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Story
We went into detail about what we expect from Game of Thrones Season 8. Here’s an excerpt:
This struggle will undoubtedly be what most of the final six episodes deals with. However, I am already happy to report that it’s now apparent this isn’t the true end of the series. Jon Snow has called the Army of the Dead the only enemy that matters, and he is correct to fear zombies over mere humans. Yet George R.R. Martin’s world has never been Middle-earth. Hence why it could never truly be about just the forces of good overcoming the forces of evil in an epic battle on the border of Mordor. While J.R.R. Tolkien included the “Scouring of the Shire” as one of his many epilogues in Lord of the Rings (which is perhaps the only thing of substance Peter Jackson cut from his movie adaptations), it is now obvious that Martin, and Benioff and Weiss, are making the post-war skirmishes and power vacuums a critical part of the main story.
One thing that has been confirmed is that the season will feature a massive battle scene. It spent 55 days of principal photography on a major battle, which filmed at the Moneyglass Base in Northern Ireland. For context that is longer than any major battle filmed for the premium cable epic. Not “Battle of the Bastards,” nor “Blackwater,” or “Watchers on the Wall” compare. So expect something truly epic, especially as we know Moneybase has long been where sets for Winterfell have been built. Oh, and as we discussed above in the spoilers section, that is only the exteriors. It took even longer to film the interiors, which will have apparently a horror-ement.
The first official image from Game of Thrones Season 8 comes from EW. The image showcases Westeros’s favorite (unwitting) aunt/nephew power couple, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, who, at this point, seem to have made it to their snowy destination of Winterfell.
In a preview of the cover story, co-executive producer Bryan Cogman offers a bit of insight about the theme of the final season, explaining:
“It’s about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death.” Adding, “It’s an incredibly emotional haunting bittersweet final season and I think it honors very much what [author George R.R. Martin] set out to do — which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”
Game of Thrones Season 8 Finale
While Game of Thrones season 7 proved to be the biggest year yet for HBO’s flagship, at least in terms of ratings, it’s fair to say that it was also one of the more frustrating entries. Plot outlines for the entire season leaked almost a full year early, and paparazzi images spoiled months in advance that Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow would meet on the cliffs of Dragonstone (never mind scripts getting hacked and episodes accidentally leaked days early during the actual season).
Thus it’s not too surprising that HBO and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss took extra measures to keep the final season of Game of Thrones as spoiler-free as possible. This includes, according to Casey Bloys, HBO president of programming, shooting multiple endings to the epic saga.
While speaking to Moravian College (via The Morning Call), Bloys said, “I know in Game of Thrones, the ending, they’re going to shoot multiple versions so 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 definitive answer until the end.”
With that said, Maisie Williams dismissed the idea of filming multiple endings given the series’ sizeable budget while chatting on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show.
Williams makes a strong point. However, there are set photos out there that would make a lot more sense if they were done for the most rabid part of the fanbase to draw the wrong conclusions.
Right now, we know the production of Game of Thrones Season 8 spent some time in Seville, Spain, which previously served as the backdrop for King’s Landing in the seventh season. And all accounts point to major characters returning to the Dragonpit location in Itálica, which appeared in the season 7 finale, for also the season 8 finale (aka the series finale).
What that ending is has many people guessing. Why would major characters return to the Dragonpit unless there is some final negotiation between the remaining houses about what Westeros will look like come spring? Whatever decision is made, Sophie Turner has already attempted to hedge fan expectation, revealing that while she loved the ending, it will not satisfy all fans.
“Who knows if it will be satisfying for the fans,” Turner told IGN. “I think a lot of fans will be disappointed and a lot of fans will be over the moon, I think. I think it will be really interesting to see people’s reactions, but for me reading the script it was just like heartbreaking to read at the very final page of the script it just says, ‘End of Game of Thrones’. That was really emotional.”