Fans of the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones” may have to wait a little longer for the return of the epic fantasy drama’s eighth season.
Actor Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos Seaworthy on the show, revealed that the production will begin filming very soon during a panel at New York Comic Con Saturday.
“Tomorrow I fly back to Ireland and the first table reading is on Sunday,” he said. “The second table reading is on Monday. Then we rehearse and then start shooting the week after.”
Normally, the show spends six months shooting a season and finishes up in December, Cunningham told TV Guide.
But for the eighth season, episodes are expected to be even longer than usual.
“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,” he said.
Cunningham’s comments lend a major clue that the season is likely to premiere in 2019.
Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss previously announced the two final seasons would be split between 13 episodes.
After season seven’s seven episodes, most fans and critics are predicting a six-episode series finale. And, according to Vanity Fair, episodes are slated to run as 80-minute (or longer) features.
To avoid leaked scripts, the network has also added extra security and not even the cast is truly in the know.
In fact, Cunningham said he received six different digital scripts and isn’t even allowed to open them all or leave the show’s studio in Belfast with it in hand.
Four people in India were arrested in August in connection with the hacking and leaking of the show’s seventh season episodes.
In the past, HBO subsidiaries in Spain and elsewhere have also accidentally aired episodes in advance.