The cast of Game of Thrones are back together as filming for season 8 prepares to kick off. While the first 6 seasons of Game of Thrones arrived almost like clockwork on HBO in the spring of each year, those days are gone. Despite a shorter episode count, season 7 featured the longest and most technically complex episodes of the show yet. Thanks to this, the release of the season was a good bit later than fans were used to. As a result, season 8 may not arrive until 2019.
We've known for some time that production for season 8 of Game of Thrones was scheduled to begin before the end of the year. It will also only feature 6 episodes. That said, the show will be topping itself with even longer episodes than this year as it seeks to wrap up the epic show in a fitting fashion. As a result, word broke last week that filming could head into the summer of next year. If that's true, getting the season out before the end of 2018 could be a challenge. Until then, fans will have to make due with set photos.
Buzzfeed collected a number of images from fans showing that the cast of Game of Thrones are now in Belfast. As the show's home base, their arrival there means filming is just about to start and more intriguing images will soon follow. For now, the airport photos do tease one tantalizing detail: Tormund will be back.
Along with most of the key players who are still alive, Kristofer Hivju is now in Belfast with the rest of the cast. Given the last time we saw Tormund he was ducking for cover as the Night King brought down the Wall, his survival remained in question. Still, it seemed unlikely such a fan-favorite character would be killed in such an offhanded way. Tormund's survival also bodes well for Beric Dondarrion, who was at the Wildling's side when the Wall came crumbling down.
The other surprise cast member in the photos is Ben Crompton, who plays Dolorous Edd. The character, along with Tormund, has long been one of the few sources of humor on the show thanks to his bleak outlook on life. Sadly, he was barely a blip on the radar in season 7 after inviting Bran through the Wall. With Castle Black no longer a viable holdfast against the White Walkers, it looks as if Edd will be heading south to join the other heroes at Winterfell.
Game of Thrones season 8 will premiere on HBO sometime in 2018 or 2019.