UPDATE: Maisie Williams has clarified these comments, saying they are from an old interview. The original article follows.
The delay of Game of Thrones’ final season is something of a double-edged sword. On one hand the hold up means the series won’t deliver a single new episode in 2018, but it also means the series is still a year away from officially coming to an end. That end, however, may now have a start date, as series star Maisie Williams says the last batch of episodes is set to begin airing on HBO sometime in April of 2019. If true, that would put the final season in familiar territory, as seasons 2-6 all hit the premium channel in the spring, whereas season 1 and season 7 both aired in the summer.
Though it may not seem like it, postponing Game of Thrones for a year actually works in HBO’s favor. It not only gives creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff more time to finesses the scripts for the final episodes, and gives the production more time to put finishing touches on filming and post-production, it also gives the network a chance to build hype for the finale, and possibly ready a tease for whatever spinoff winds up earning a green light. As such, it’s safe to say that the delay is as much about affording the series a proper send off as it is about ensuring the network can spin its most successful series into a successful franchise.
Williams’ claims in a recent interview with Metro have not yet been confirmed by HBO, but they are in keeping with what scant details are known about the series’ end run. For her part, Williams joins fellow Game of Thrones survivors (well, up to season 8 anyway), Sophie Turner and Peter Dinklage, in offering just enough information to get fans talking and to get the wheels of Great Internet Speculation Machine running again. Here’s what Williams had to say about when viewers might expect to see Game of Thrones on their televisions again:
“We wrap in December and we air our first episode in April . That’s a four-month turnaround for these huge episodes. There’s a lot that goes into the final edit. You would not want to rush this season at all. We owe it to our audience and our fans to really do this final season to the best of our abilities.”
The last bit of Williams’ statement underlines the pressure that everyone involved with the show is under. Season 7 had its fair share of detractors, who took issue with some of the season' wonky plotting, like kidnapping a zombie to bring all the characters together in one place, as well as the apparent shrinking of Westeros for narrative purposes. Those choices aside, the season nevertheless ended on an epic cliffhanger that brought the Wall down and promised the long-teased conflict between the White Walkers and the rest of Westeros is now officially on.
A 15-month wait for one of the few consensus show left on TV may seem like an interminable one, but hopefully there will be more news about the franchise’s future in the coming months to tide everyone over until we see who will take his or her place on the Iron Throne.
Game of Thrones season 8 is confirmed to premiere in 2019 on HBO.