8. Filming Will Last Until August, With A 2019 Release Date Confirmed
As had been expected, filming started back in October 2017. We got some more concrete information on this front when a number of actors begun arriving in Belfast, with a table read taking place too.
As for its ending, The Hollywood Reporter notes that it could run until August 2018. For comparison, Season 7 started filming at the beginning of September, and finished early in February, so filming Season 8 could take twice as long. Iain Glen offered some clarification on why this is, as he said that since everyone is together, it means they only have one filming unit rather than the usual two.
That means we're not going to see it until 2019, which HBO's programming president Casey Bloys had previously suggested and the network has now officially confirmed. Season 7 aired five months after filming wrapped, and with Season 8 even bigger in scale it could take longer - a return to its old April slot, or another summer outing could be likely for 2019.
7. Multiple Endings Might Be Shot
Last year, Casey Bloys said that "they’re going to shoot multiple versions [of the ending] so that nobody really knows what happens." You can see the logic in that, in one sense, because of a number of leaks that occurred during Season 7.
Not only did two episodes air early, but HBO were the victims of a major hack, and way before any of that happened a lot of the story was outlined on Reddit. The ending to Game of Thrones is massive, and HBO need to protect that.
On the flip side, it's going to cost a LOT of money to shoot endings that are unusable before they've even been shot, which led to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau casting doubt on the whole idea, saying it seemed "stupid".
Coster-Waldau is right that it would be a lot of time and money, but at the same time you'd think Bloys would be more in the know about what's happening right now, and it'd be odd for the programming president to make that kind of claim without there being some truth to it.
6. New Characters
A casting call was revealed, with a number of new roles on offer. They are:
Sailor; two guards; Northern Farmer; Sassy and attractive girl; Northern Sentry; and a Mercenary. There's also a younger Northern girl being cast, from an earlier call.
It's unlikely any of these will be big roles or ones taken from the books, with the exception of the Mercenary. Described as "an authoritative, fit, cool and charismatic military type," it was speculated at the time that he would be the leader of the Golden Company, and indeed that has come to pass. German actor Marc Rissmann has landed the role, and it seems he's taking the name Harry Strickland from the books, even if he looks nothing like him.
Filming on the show has typically taken place in the likes of Belfast and Iceland, with Croatia and Spain heavily utilised as well, and Season 8 is no different, with the filming locations offering some potential clues as to what we can expect.
Watchers on the Wall, report that the show is looking to return to Itálica’s Roman amphitheatre and Seville's Royal Shipyards, which were used for the Dragonpit and Red Keep dungeons, meaning a return to both of those could be on the cards.
They also note that the show is on the lookout for a new castle, and more specifically a rounded tower, with an eye on Urueña Castle. This could be a number of locales from the series, but one that stands out is the idea of the show introducing White Harbour, the home of House Manderly. It's an increasingly key port city, since it's where the likes of Jon and Daenerys will be sailing towards before heading on to Winterfell, so there's a good chance we can expect to see some scenes there.
Finally, it's reported that the Winterfell set is undergoing some fairly extensive reconstruction work. It's where a number of major characters are heading and, with the White Walkers now south of the Wall, could be the setting for a big battle between the living and the dead. The same also goes for King's Landing, with a major tower unveiled and a set-piece seemingly likely.