Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss revealed that production on the HBO fantasy drama is going to start later than expected. The duo, who made the remarks during a UFC podcast, said production is waiting for gloomy weather to return in a bid to capture the gloomy weather that comes with the “Winter is here” moment revealed in the season six finale.
“We don’t have an air date yet,” the duo said. “We’re starting a bit later because at the end of this season, ‘Winter is here’ — and that means that sunny weather doesn’t really serve our purposes anymore. So we kind of pushed everything down the line, so we could get some grim, gray weather even in the sunnier places that we shoot.”
Game of Thrones typically arrives in March or April. The series was renewed for a seventh season with an episode count still to be determined. The showrunners previously told THR that they are “writing the final act” for the adaptation of the George R.R. Martin series and are “looking at somewhere between 70 and 75 hours before the credits roll for the last time.”
Also unclear is just how many episodes seasons seven and the likely eighth and final run will consist of.Thrones has already aired 60 episodes, meaning the remaining two seasons could be short orders to reach the 75 hours producers have envisioned.
While the series is approaching its endgame, stars Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) each recently scored pay bumps. They’ll each earn upward of $500,000 per episode for season seven, which has already been announced, and in the likely eighth season (which is all but a formality).
The cast raises result from an option that was part of their last deal with HBO, signed in October 2014, which saw the five stars become among the highest-paid actors on cable TV. The premium network had the option on season seven, and that has now been exercised and packaged with season eight. While the five stars are locked in, it does not guarantee that their characters will survive through what is expected to be the end of the series. HBO declined comment on the salary bumps.
Game of Thrones ranks as HBO’s most watched series ever and is the premium cable’s longest-running show currently on the air.
It is expected to return sometime in 2017.