After much speculation, HBO has confirmed that the upcoming seventh season of “Game of Thrones” will be seven episodes long, as opposed to its typical 10-episode seasons.
The announcement on Monday also stated that the show will begin production again later this summer in primarily Northern Ireland, with some portions filmed in Spain and Iceland.
The next season is set to air in summer 2017, though the network didn’t specify an exact date.
“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.”
The formal announcement can mean several things for the show’s future.
First, it probably has just two seasons left. In April, Benioff told Variety, “I think we’re down to our final 13 episodes after this season. We’re heading into the final lap. That’s the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, but that’s what we’re looking at.”
So that would mean the eighth and final season will probably consist of just six episodes.
The later summer air date also means that “Game of Thrones,” which recently earned the most 2016 Emmy nominations of any show, won’t be eligible for the 2017 Emmys. If the rules stay the same, the cutoff for a show to air and still be eligible is May 31, 2017. That means it will next be considered eligible for the 2018 Emmys.