Evidence is starting to pile up that Game of Thrones season 8 won’t be hitting the small screen until 2019, now that cast member Liam Cunningham has confirmed that the show will be shooting into summer 2018.

Game of Thrones is coming off its most watched season ever, with season 7. One of the most popular shows on television right now, the HBO behemoth’s seventh season was was shorter than usual – totaling seven episodes instead of the usual ten – but accelerated the series’ many ongoing plots at an almost dizzying clip; bringing together long-separated characters and upping the show’s epic, blockbuster scale considerably, as the war with the Night King and his White Walkers approaches.

Related: Game of Thrones Season 8 Will Be ‘Monumental’

Game of Thrones season 8 was confirmed as being even shorter than season 7 awhile back, with only six episodes but at supersized lengths – something that has now been reaffirmed by Ser Davos Seaworth himself. In an interview with TV Guide,  Cunningham confirmed the expanded episode run times for season 8, and also hinted that we won’t be seeing the season for quite sometime still:

Game of Thrones Beyond the Wall Images Jon Game of Thrones Season 8 Will Be Filming Until Summer 2018

“[The episodes are] definitely going to be bigger and what I hear is longer. 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.”

The good news here is the seeming confirmation of expanded episode run times for season 8, rumored to be in the neighborhood of 90 minutes each. That would make each entry essentially the length of a feature film – though the critics of season seven’s supersized finale may not greet this news so warmly.

The bad news is that shooting through summer 2018 all but confirms the show will not return until 2019, which will be the longest gap between seasons of Game of Thrones ever. It seems likely HBO will lean on the second season of their sci-fi western hit Westworld as their flagship series of 2018. Westworld season 1 didn’t manage to capture the cultural zeitgeist to the degree that Game of Thrones has, but that could change in the robot drama’s sophomore run.

Fans will no doubt be disappointed by the extended wait to see how Game of Thrones ultimately wraps up. Fortunately, it sounds as though HBO is giving the show’s producers all the time and resources they need to make sure they stick the landing.

NEXT: Game of Thrones Season 8 is the Most Expensive Yet

We will let you know when Game of Thrones season 8 gets an official premiere date.

Source: TV Guide

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