HBO's Game of Thrones begins production this week on its final season, with series star Liam Cunningham revealing in a new interview that he started work just yesterday, doing a table read at the show's production hub in Belfast, Ireland. There have been rumors that the final season will include all feature-length episodes, but we're still a long ways away from finding out how long each of these six final episodes will be. While no specifics about the length of each episode has been revealed, Liam Cunningham offered some new perspective that essentially confirms how massive each episode will be, and that that production will last until summer 2018.
"(The episodes are) definitely going to be bigger and what I hear is longer. We're filming right up until the summer. When you think about it, up until last season we'd have six months to do ten episodes, so we're (doing) way more than that for six episodes. So that obviously will translate into longer episodes."
This news shouldn't come as much of a surprise, especially given that the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale broke a record by becoming the longest episode in series history, clocking in at 80 minutes long. It seems that all of these six final episodes could even come in much longer than that, since the series is going beyond the normal production schedule of 10 60-minute episodes for this six-episode final season. But Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth on the hit series, revealed that the episode lengths have not been set in stone, and likely won't be finalized until the editing process. The actor went on to reveal that he doesn't even know when exactly he'll wrap on the series, stating that the production process is like no other show out there.
"Game of Thrones is not like any other show. It's nuts. You basically put your life on hold when you start shooting. Yeah, HBO owns your a--. It's a dream job. I mean, you people don't want this to end, imagine how I feel. My accountant is crapping himself at the moment!"
While Liam Cunningham didn't reveal an exact production wrap date for the Game of Thrones final season, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau did confirm in August that production is beginning in October, while HBO programming president Casey Bloys hinted that the final season may not air on HBO until early 2019, depending on the production and post-production schedule. It's possible that HBO might be ready to announce when the new season debuts at next year's Comic-Con panel, but if it won't air until 2019, next year will mark the first full year fans have gone without the show since it came on the air in 2010.
HBO has also confirmed there are five Game of Thrones spin-offs being developed, but there is no guarantee that all five shows will make it to the air. The show confirmed the first four spin-offs in May, with author George R.R. Martin working with writers Max Borenstein (Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Golden Circle), Brian Helgeland (Mystic River, L.A. Confidential) and Carly Wray (Mad Man). The fifth series was confirmed last month, with longtime Game of Thrones writer/producer Bryan Cogman coming aboard for that show, although no plot details have been given for any of the projects, except that they are all set long before the events of the original series. Unfortunately, Liam Cuningham wouldn't reveal more details in his new interview with TV Guide, but with production getting under way, hopefully we'll find out more details about this final season soon.