Crucial new details on Thrones’ final season
EVER since season seven wrapped up in August, it's become increasingly clear that we're in for a long wait before the premiere of Game of Thrones' eighth and final season.
But just how long?
Thanks to new casting calls being issued for the six-episode season, we've got a slightly better idea of exactly when we can expect to see Jon Snow and the whole gang fighting for their lives against the Night King in Westeros.
Here's everything we know so far about Game of Thrones season eight:
THE SHOW WILL BE FILMING UNTIL AT LEAST JUNE 2018
Bad news for anyone hoping for a July 2018 premiere date.
Even though season seven dropped at that time this year, the long-held rumours about an extended break before the next one are true.
In August, The Hollywood Reporter claimed that contrary to initial reports of filming from October 2017 to March 2018, Thrones will be shooting all the way through to August for the final season - meaning it's more likely to premiere in March/April 2019.
Out of interest, that role was for an "authoritative, fit, cool and charismatic" mercenary - almost certainly intended as part of the infamous Golden Company Euron Greyjoy has run off to try and enlist.
SPEAKING OF CASTING ...
As we mentioned, the mercenary role is one of seven currently being cast for the final season.
The others include a young "straight-forwarded, honest" Northern farmer "with simple tastes", a "sassy and attractive" Northern girl aged between 18-25 who plays a "good, memorable one-scene part" opposite a leading cast member, a Northern sentry, a "rough and ready" Sailor with a "weathered face", and two Guards of varied ages.
Who knows where these new faces will pop up?
THE DIRECTORS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN
Fans will be thrilled to know two Thrones favourites are returning to helm episodes of the final season.
EW is reporting that Miguel Sapochnik, who directed "Hardhome", "The Battle of the Bastards", and "The Winds of Winter" is returning, along with David Nutter, who was in charge of the infamous Red Wedding in "The Rains of Castamere", as well as "The Dance of Dragons" and "Mother's Mercy" in season five.
It's understood they will be splitting the first five episodes - with speculation Sapochnik will direct three episodes, and Nutter two.
As for the ultimate episode: the series finale?
In an unsurprising decision, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss - the series creators who have written almost every episode - will be sharing responsibility of the role.
MULTIPLE ENDINGS WILL BE FILMED
Thrones executives are reportedly planning to film several different endings for the finale in order to avoid leaks, HBO's programming president revealed recently.
Casey Bloys announced at a speaking gig that not even the show's cast would know how the fantasy epic ends.
"I know in Game of Thrones, the ending, they're going to shoot multiple versions so that nobody really know what happens," Bloys said. "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 real definitive answer until the end."
THE EPISODES WILL BE FEATURE-LENGTH
While season eight's episode number has decreased, the run time has definitely not.
Episodes during past seasons have traditionally been an hour long, but for season eight we're looking at each instalment running for 80 minutes or more, according to the show's sound designer, Paula Fairfield.
And according to Bloys, the team hasn't even discussed a cap on episode length yet.
"Two hours per episode seems like it would be excessive, but it's a great show, so who knows?" he said.