Game of Thrones season 8 release date, trailer, cast, and everything else you need to know

After waiting for what feels like an age for the final season, we're suddenly surprisingly close to getting Game of Thrones season 8 and the end of one of the biggest and best TV shows in history (*sob*). Before you start to panic about what you're going to obsess over once Thrones ends, let's talk about the upcoming final season and what we can expect from the no doubt epic finale.

The Game of Thrones season 8 release date has recently been confirmed for April 14, 2019 with a new trailer, which is thrilling and chilling in equal measure, but doesn't actually show us any footage from the new season. We can properly expect a full Game of Thrones season 8 trailer in February thanks to the Super Bowl, but until then, you can find everything we know about Game of Thrones season 8 so far below. 

From who's joining the Game of Thrones season 8 cast, to how many Game of Thrones season 8 episodes we're getting, it's all below, along with our own predications, details on that huge Game of Thrones leak, and how to watch Game of Thrones season 8 when it begins. You don't need to worry too much about spoilers as HBO is pretty good and keeping things secret, but maybe skip past the plot section if you want to watch the show without knowing anything beforehand. 

Now, if you're ready, it's time to grab your goblet of wine, direwolf plushy, and start planning your premiere party as we take you through everything we know about Game of Thrones season 8 so far. 

Fast Facts:

  • Game of Thrones season 8 release date: April 14, 2019 (US)/April 15, 2019 (UK)
  • Game of Thrones season 8 episodes: 6
  • Game of Thrones season 8 cast: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Liam Cunningham, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Alfie Allen, Nathalie Emmanuel, Gwendoline Christie, John Bradley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Hannah Murray, Rory McCann, Iain Glen, and more
  • Game of Thrones season 8 directors: David Nutter, Miguel Sapochnik, David Benioff, DB Weiss
  • Game of Thrones season 8 writers: Dave Hill, Bryan Cogman, David Benioff, DB Weiss

When is the Game of Thrones season 8 release date?

An image from Game of Thrones

We've waited a long time for the Game of Thrones release date. Game of Thrones season 7 ended way back in August 2017, and while we knew we probably wouldn't get the final season until 2019, it wasn't until November last year HBO finally confirmed that the Game of Thrones release date would be sometime in April, 2019. Well, we now have an actual date... lucky us!

HBO has finally confirmed that the Game of Thrones season 8 release date is April 14, 2019. That's a mere 91 days away (as of writing), so you better getting started on rewatching the series if you want to catch up in time for the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere. There are 67 episodes in total (so far), so you don't have to watch one a day until the Game of Thrones season 8 release date, but you also don't have time to hang around.

With the Game of Thrones season 8 release date set for Sunday, April 14, 2019 on HBO in the US, we can safely assume that the premiere will air the following day on Sky Atlantic for UK audiences. It will also be simulcast on both Sky Atlantic and NOW TV, so if UK fans want to 100% avoid any Game of Thrones spoilers, they better start setting their alarm clocks now!

Read more: The most anticipated new TV shows of 2019 

The Game of Thrones season 8 trailers don't tell us much

The most recent Game of Thrones season 8 trailer (above) is our longest yet and it still doesn't contain any actual footage from Game of Thrones season 8! Clocking in at 1.44, the Game of Thrones season 8 trailer shows Jon, Sansa, and Arya in Winterfell's underground crypt, haunted by the memory of their parents.

As the three Starks traverse the dark and dank hallways, past the remains of previous members of House Stark, you can hear the voices of Lyanna (Jon's mother), Ned, and Catelyn from past seasons. Finally, the trio comes face-to-face with statues of themselves, but they don't have long to be stunned by their graves as an icy chill descends, indication only one thing... the Night's King.

While the Game of Thrones season 8 trailer clearly doesn't contain any actual footage from the new season, that hasn't stopped fans from speculating over every little detail. The most popular theory seems to indicate that it might spell doom for Sansa and Arya as their statues look young, while Jon's looks older. Could this mean that the two female Starks won't survive the final season, while Jon lives to a grand old age? Maybe, maybe not... 

The other interesting thing to note is that Bran is nowhere to be seen in the trailer. What would be the reason for the other surviving Stark child to be absent? Sure, he's not exactly in the running for the Iron Throne, but neither is Arya. And the feather that fell from Lyanna's statue when Jon past? That's the same feather that Robert Baratheon placed in her hand in the very first episode of Game of Thrones. 

Here it is! A Game of Thrones season 8 trailer containing actual footage from Game of Thrones season 8 (above). Ok, so there's only about five seconds of footage mixed in with teasers for other upcoming HBO series, but still, it's all we've got, and it does show the very first meeting between Daenerys and Sansa at Winterfell.

You can see the footage for yourself from 0.40 and, is it just me, or does Sansa not look happy? Her mouth says, "Winterfell is yours, my grace," but her eyes say 'Who the hell are you?' Something tells me that Sansa isn't going to be too happy about Jon bending the knee to the Mother of Dragons.

One of the first Game of Thrones season 8 trailers we got wasn't much more than a teaser showing a clash of fire and ice (above). Debuting at Comic Con Experience in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the cryptic, 30-second sneak peek depicts the familiar map of Westeros (which resides in the ancestral home of the Targaryens, Dragonstone) overcome by frost and flames.

It seems to imply that Game of Thrones season 8 will have all the death, destruction, and devastation we've come to expect (and then some) from the show, and there's no telling who'll come out on top when these forces of nature meet.

Apparently, the showrunners wanted to debut a proper Game of Thrones season 8 trailer at Comic Con Experience, but it wasn't ready yet:

With that in mind, we’ll probably get a proper Game of Thrones season 8 trailer - with actual footage from the final season - during the Super Bowl on February 3, 2019, which is where the hottest films and TV shows tend to air promos.

How many Game of Thrones season 8 episodes are there?

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There are just six Game of Thrones season 8 episodes. Yep, that’s right: six. One less than the already curtailed season 7. Given how much needs to be fitted into these episodes, that’s a bit of a concern. The good news is they’re all whoppers, with a run-time of longer than an hour. “Season 8 episodes will all I think be longer than 60 minutes,” producer David Nutter said during a Reddit AMA. “They’ll be dancing around the bigger numbers, I know that for sure.”

Lending weight to this is that Jorah Mormont himself, Iain Glen, has been quoted in the Daily Express as saying: “We all sat down for the read-through of six feature-length episodes. They took longer to film, cost more, and are more surprising.”

And if that's not enough evidence for you, HBO CEO Richard Plepler told Variety: "It’s a spectacle. [David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] have done six movies. The reaction I had while watching them was, ‘I’m watching a movie,’…They knew the bar was high. They’ve exceeded the bar. I’ve watched them twice without any CGI and I’m in awe. Everybody’s in for an extraordinary treat of storytelling and of magical, magical production." Wow. 

Miguel Sapochnik and his crew will be back to direct two episodes in season 8 (we know they're episodes 3 and 5). He’s the guy who was responsible for Hardhome in season 5, and final episode The Winds of Winter in season 6 (which won an Emmy), so that's good. He certainly knows how to shoot an impressive action scene. Elsewhere TV veteran David Nutter (Winter is Coming, The Rains of Castermere) is back to do episodes 1, 2, and 4. 

But what of the all-important final episode? Showrunners DB Weiss and David Benioff are directing that one themselves - the first time they’ve helmed an episode of the series… So no pressure then. 

It’s certainly going to be an epic finale. One battle sequence took 55 straight nights to film – more than double that of the previous biggest fight (the Battle of the Bastards, which took 25 days). That sounds fairly epic. According to a note to the cast and crew from Jonathan Quinlan (below), it was filmed over three different locations, for 11 weeks, and "You'll never see anything like it". Sounds a lot like the final, final battle between humanity and the White Walkers…

Who's in the Game of Thrones season 8 cast?

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It goes without saying that all of the (still breathing!) regular Game of Thrones characters will be part of the Game of Thrones season 8 cast, but there will also be a smattering of new faces as well.

Marc Rissman (The Man in the High Castle) is playing Harry Strickland. A rare character from the books that hasn’t yet appeared, he’s the leader of the Golden Company, expected to be fighting on the side of wicked Euron Greyjoy. 

Danielle Galligan (Strangers in the Park) will be playing a character called Sarra. Digging into the books, we know of a Sarra Frey, so it seems like she's the most likely person Galligan will be portraying. The role she plays is unclear, but Galligan is trained in small arms combat, so she's probably going to be fighting (like everyone else).

Read more

The forgotten Game of Thrones characters we want back in season 8

Bronte Carmichael (Christopher Robin) is said to be playing Martha - a young northerner, though we know little else about the character yet. Interestingly, when it was revealed that the casting directors had been looking for a “straight-talking Northern-accented girl, someone remarkable for her dauntlessness and integrity”, the speculation was that she would be playing Lyanna Stark. Could Martha just be a code-name? 

We also know that casting directors were looking for a boy of about 8-12 years to play someone from a poor background, "a boy who has to fight to make his way in the world," but there's currently no word on who's been cast in this role. 

Alice Nokes (EastEnders) has been cast as Willa, a character who might be a recast version of the Wildling child seen in Game of Thrones season 5 classic Hardhome.

Interestingly, Entertainment Weekly writer James Hibberd sat in on filming of the very last episode, and asserts that “there are characters in the finale that I did not expect,” which, frankly, could mean anything at this point.

Continue to Page 2 for everything we know about the Game of Thrones plot and more