After reliably premiering in the spring for six consecutive years, Game of Thrones will be delayed until summer for Season 7. HBO has revealed that its flagship drama series is set to begin production shortly in Northern Ireland, confirming the hints that creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had dropped earlier about a possible delay. The network also announced that Game of Thrones, which has been renewed through Season 8, will be abbreviated next year, with merely seven episodes slated to air.
“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,” Casey Bloys, HBO’s head of programming, 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 shift will impact the 2017 Emmy Awards, as Game of Thrones—last year’s winner for Outstanding Drama Series, and the clear front-runner this year—will be ineligible unless its new season launches in mid-May or earlier. This announcement comes after months of speculation regarding the series’ endgame, and there remains no confirmation as to whether Game of Thrones will end in the next two years.