It has been long confirmed that the final season of HBO's Game of Thrones will be just six episodes long, but it seems that this shortened season will be the most expensive to produce. A new report about the rising costs of television reveals that the six-episode season will cost a whopping $15 million per episode. This report may also confirm that the Game of Thrones final season will be comprised of all feature-length episodes.
The news comes from a wide-ranging Variety report about skyrocketing production costs in this era of "peak TV," although that $15 million per episode price tag for the Game of Thrones Season 8 has not yet been confirmed by the network. The report goes on to claim that the $15 million price tag is, "due in part to a shooting schedule that more resembles that of a feature film than an episodic series". The report adds that the first season of the hit fantasy series came in at around $6 million per episode, but production costs have grown infinitely now that the series shoots multiple units at once in four separate continents around the globe.
The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale was the longest in the show's history, clocking in at just under 80 minutes. While it was never confirmed by HBO or the producers, we first heard about the possibility of feature-length Game of Thrones episodes in July, when costume designer Paula Fairfield hinted that the producers were considering feature-length episodes. HBO hasn't revealed a premiere date yet, but with production reportedly starting soon, and the final season rumored to arrive in either late 2018 or early 2019, the feature-length episodes rumor may turn out to be true.
We reported yesterday that the Game of Thrones Season 8 directors have been set, with series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss slated to direct the series final together, while Miguel Sapochnik and David Nutter have been confirmed for the final season as well. There have been rumors that Miguel Sapochnik would direct three episodes, with David Nutter directing two episodes and Benioff and Weiss directing the finale, but that has yet to be confirmed by HBO. Production is expected to begin next month, so hopefully we'll find out more about the final season. But we've already gotten a few hints about new characters arriving this season.
A recent Game of Thrones Season 8 casting call revealed that the production was seeking two young actors this season. The first character is a "Northern girl," who is said to be between eight and 10 years old, described as a "straight-talking Northern-accented girl, who is remarkable for her dauntlessness and integrity." The second role is a boy between the ages of eight and 12 years old, who has a "physically fit and agile look" who has a "good distinctive face." The character is said to have come from a poor background and has had to fight for everything. It remains to be seen if these characters have been cast yet, but hopefully we'll find out more as we get closer to production starting.