Game of Thrones fans will have to wait until 2019 for the planned final season of the series, a gap of more than a year since the end of Season 7.
HBO said on Thursday that Game of Thrones would return in 2019 for a six-episode final season. It did not specify the exact date.
It's official: @GameOfThrones will return for its six-episode, eighth and final season in 2019.
— HBO PR (@HBOPR) January 4, 2018
The series is HBO’s biggest hit ever with some 30 million viewers in the United States alone and an army of devoted fans worldwide.
The final season of the Emmy Award-winning show is expected to reveal which of the warring families in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros will win the multi-generational struggle for control of the Iron Throne.
Production on the final season started in October, and filming is expected to last until mid-2018.
Game of Thrones actor Kit Harrington has said that the show shot multiple fake scenes to throw off the paparazzi during the production of Season 7, with the fake scenes taking up to five hours each to shoot.
The tactic of filming multiple endings for a television show has been used before. Breaking Bad and The Sopranos filmed alternate endings to preserve mystery.
Last summer, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss explained that they planned to spend a year and a half crafting the show’s final episodes in an effort to make them as spectacular as possible.
HBO said on Thursday that Benioff and Weiss will also direct the final season.
Many Game of Thrones fans took to Twitter to discuss their feelings about the gap year between seasons.
2011 -Game of Thrones S1
2012 – Game of Thrones S2
2013 -Game of Thrones S3
2014 – Game of Thrones S4
2015 – Game of Thrones S5
2016 – Game of Thrones S6
2017 – Game of Thrones S7
2018- GAME OF WAITING
2019 – Game of Thrones S8
— Mark Lester Navida (@CashtonHoodwins) January 5, 2018
When you find out Game of Thrones won't be back until 2019 pic.twitter.com/SnbWSnEQLM
— GoT Things (@GoTthings_) January 5, 2018
— 〽️icah Larson (@MicahDLarson) January 4, 2018
how are they going to wrap up Cersei the night King and everything else in 6 episodes pic.twitter.com/zBxcM2h66a
— Lady Shield Archer (@LdySHIELDArcher) January 4, 2018
How do we wait that long pic.twitter.com/UAjMsvVCgp
— Forca Portugal 🇵🇹 (@WimalasiriGolf) January 4, 2018
— Boomer (@BlaineKAyers) January 4, 2018
When HBO confirms Game of Thrones isn’t coming back until 2019… pic.twitter.com/yuYgT7wPEP
— Cycle (@bycycle) January 5, 2018
Final season of Game of Thrones is coming 2019…. and with only six episodes. 😒 pic.twitter.com/f0s53jrjMK
— The Boi (@ChuBoi) January 4, 2018
Can 2019 hurry up and get here so Game Of Thrones can come back on!!!!!
— Emanny (@theonlyemanny) January 5, 2018
— Jordan Walter (@Jordan_A_Walter) January 5, 2018
— GameofThrones Quotes (@ASOIAFQuotesGOT) January 4, 2018
WHEN EXACTLY WHAT MONTH??? pic.twitter.com/XpHbB5Va0c
— ℝίτα 🍃 (@JonxDanyy) January 4, 2018
— Leigh B. Z. (@leighblickley) January 4, 2018
The seventh season ended last August with an average of more than 30 million U.S. viewers per episode across multiple platforms. Some of its seven episodes were more than an hour long.
The long gap until the final season would give author George R.R. Martin the chance to finish one or two new Game of Thrones books. Last July the author confirmed he was working on them. The television series has already advanced beyond the events of Martin’s five published novels from the series A Song of Ice and Fire.
—With files from Reuters