HBO has big news about critical darling and fan favorite Game of Thrones’ seventh season, including some major changes that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss hinted at in an interview last month. As promised, the seventh season will be a truncated seven episodes, compared to its predecessors’ usual ten, and is slated to premiere in summer 2017, also a departure from prior seasons, which normally debut in early spring.
Game of Thrones was recently nominated for a whopping 23 Primetime Emmys, which led all shows in total nominations, an unparalleled feat that the show has achieved three years in a row now. Viewership has been rising with each season, with several episodes from season six coming in at more than 23 million viewers, and anticipation is high for the forthcoming season, especially since the beloved show will soon be coming to an end.
HBO revealed that primary shooting locations for the seventh season include Northern Ireland, Spain and Iceland, hinting a little at potential plotlines for the season: Iceland was previously used as a significant shooting location for scenes north of The Wall, such as Jon Snow’s stay in the wildlings’ encampment.
“Now that winter has arrived on Game of Thrones, executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt that the storylines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys said in a statement. “Instead of the show’s traditional spring debut, we’re moving the debut to summer to accommodate the shooting schedule.”
Benioff and Weiss have mentioned that shooting for this season would be pushed back later in the year to accommodate the wintery weather that season seven requires. Though shooting typically begins in July every year, “We kind of pushed everything down the line, so we could get some grim grey weather even in the sunnier places that we shoot,” said Weiss.
To the dismay of fans, it’s been stated that season seven will likely be the penultimate installment of the long-running show, and we now know that the final season will be the shortest of all, capping off the series with a six-episode run. However, out of respect for the storyline, and in acknowledgement of the television series finally outpacing George R. R. Martin’s books, it seems that the series is hurtling towards it natural closure, and the abbreviated length of the seasons coupled with rising production values gives the show’s team the chance to bring every episode to its full potential.