Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will be its shortest yet, with only six episodes, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss confirmed today. Speaking at SXSW in Austin, Benioff and Weiss said that they were in the process of writing the outline for the show’s final season now, 140 pages that will define how the TV saga of ice and fire will end.
Speaking about how the writing process breaks down, Weiss and Benioff said that they would split the load with two other writers. "Dave Hill will write the season premiere, Brian Cogman will write 802 and then we'll write the other four," Benioff said. Those four would be split between the two showrunners, who have been in charge of the HBO hit since its TV inception — a tricky process for the last season. Mashable quotes Benioff: "Usually it took two minutes to divide the halves, this time it was 18 back and forth emails: 'I'll take this scene if you take that scene,'" he said. "Because we realized it was the last time we'd be doing this for this show."
The panel was hosted by Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner, who play Stark sisters Arya and Sansa, respectively, giving Benioff the chance to poke a little fun. “We fight over who gets to write which half, who gets to kill Sansa..." he said. Weiss continued with the joke, “We both wanted to kill Sansa so bad.” Benioff was also able to confirm that Ed Sheeran — the British singer-songwriter — will appear in season seven after being invited onto the show as a surprise for Williams, who is a fan.
The seventh season of Game of Thrones will also be shorter than preceding ones, but still longer than the projected eighth, with seven episodes scheduled. We’ll find out exactly how Weiss and Benioff will set up for their last season on July 16th, when the penultimate series seven premieres on HBO.