As Game of Thrones gears up for its final two seasons, HBO has confirmed that season 7 will be shortened, with only 7 episodes instead of the usual 10. (According to Variety, season 8 will have between 6 and 8 episodes.) With everything that went down in the season 6 finale, you would think that the showrunners would want more episodes to lay out the final moves over the Iron Throne, not fewer. But David Benioff and D.B. Weiss seem to have a clear plan, which includes a later release date.
Instead of the usual April premiere date, Game of Thrones season 7 will premiere in summer 2017—all thanks to last season’s ominous weather pronouncement. Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming, explained:
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. Instead of the show’s traditional spring debut, we’re moving the debut to summer to accommodate the shooting schedule.
Production will take place in Northern Ireland, as well as parts of Spain and Iceland.
io9 has a theory that season 8 will also be 7 episodes, but with a two-hour series finale. Sounds appropriately epic for this series.