Production on Game of Thrones is a complex, intricate affair, involving live shoots in multiple countries over a considerable period of time, and that’s even before one takes into account the numerous shots that require complex computer graphics. The show’s co-creators have said more than once that each season takes more time and effort to produce than the one before.
Even with all of that complexity, the series has been generally consistent with the timing of season premieres, and has never missed a premiere date or had a large delay in production. With the exception of season 3, which premiered on March 31, 2013, every season of Game of Thrones has begun in April and ended in June, although season 6 premiered on April 24, 12 days later than the previous season. However, it’s sounding like fans might have to wait a little bit longer than that for season 7 to come around.
Speaking on the mixed-martial arts podcast UFC Unfiltered, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said there’s been a delay in production due to a lack of winter weather in some of the show’s European locations.:
"We don’t have an air date yet, but this year will probably be a bit later… we’re starting a bit later because, you know, the end of this season, winter is here, and that means sunny weather doesn’t serve our purposes anymore, so we pushed everything down the line to get some grim, grey weather, even in the sunnier places we shoot."
Other statements from Benioff and Weiss on the podcast include confirmations there are exactly two seasons left, that there will be fewer episodes per season than has been the show’s custom throughout its run, and that the creators know, definitively, how the series will end. When asked about a Robert’s Rebellion mini-series or other possible future projects that could take place following the conclusion of the Game of Thrones series, the showrunners didn’t deny any possibility, but stated they’re focused on finishing the series at the moment. And since it’s an MMA podcast, the two men discussed both the MMA world and various fights from the show’s history.
Much as one wants to see more Game of Thrones as soon as possible, such a delay is certainly defensible. After all, as was learned in the finale of season 6, “winter is here.” As such, the production is going to need to do more winter shoots this year, especially for filming at Winterfell or the rest of the North, especially if there’s going to be any big battle sequences involving the White Walkers.
Whether this means the show is delayed a couple of weeks, or a couple of months, is unclear. But however long it takes, Game of Thrones fans will certainly be waiting.
Game of Thrones will return in 2017 on HBO.