HBO programming president Casey Bloys says that Game of Thrones‘ season 8 episodes may not all be feature-length. The hit fantasy series won’t be returning to the small screen until 2019 for an epic finale season that will say farewell to Jon Snow, Dragon Queen Daenerys, our favorite imp Tyrion and answer the big question – who will rule on the Iron Throne? Since fans have a long wait to go, rumors and speculation are already brewing about episode length, the plot, which characters will live and die, and if we’ll see new faces before the series concludes.
Since Game of Thrones season 8 will be the shortest season yet with only six episodes, fans have been speculating that each episode will be supersized. Season 7 was composed of seven rather than the regular 10 episodes – ranging from around 55 minutes to ‘The Dragon and the Wolf”s massive 81 minutes – and rumor is that every episode of season 8 is going to like a mini movie. Season 8 is shaping up to be the most expensive season yet for related reasons, and cast members like Samwell Tarly actor John Bradley have added fuel to that fire, describing Game of Thrones season 8 as “monumental” in scale and scope.
Related: Here’s Why Game of Thrones Won’t Be Back Until 2019
A new interview with HBO programming president Casey Bloys on THR clears up some of the confusion regarding the episode lengths. While he didn’t confirm any solid facts about Game of Throne’s final season (which is a given considering security is tight this year to keep plot details from leaking), he did confirm that the length of any single episode will ultimately be determined by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ final cuts:
It really will be dependent on when the showrunners get the cuts and what they’re happy with. Everything on Game of Thrones is driven by their desire to make the best show possible. When we’re going to air, how long the episodes are — we’re taking their lead on what they need.
Looking at the season 8 directors list – which includes David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik, as well as Benioff and Weiss – it’s seems quite possible that we will be getting longer than usual episodes for the final season. Nutter has directed some of the best Game of Thrones episodes to date, including such massive battle-centric episodes like ‘Blackwater’, ‘Hardhome’ and grand season finales like ‘Mhysa’ and ‘Mother’s Mercy’. Sapochnik is likewise best known for his season 6 episodes ‘The Battle of the Bastards’ and ‘The Winds of Winter’, which are storytelling masterpieces both visually stunning in their depictions of the brutality of battle and its aftermath.
As for Benioff and Weiss, it will be interesting to see what they bring to the table as directors in season 8. We have no doubt that will do a fantastic job, considering they bought the series to life in the first place, and have raised it to become one of the most successful TV programs of all time.
MORE: Game of Thrones Is ‘Most Bingeable Box Set’ Ever
Game of Thrones season 8 premiers sometime in 2019.