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

Please, join me in pleading with HBO that Game of Thrones season 8 will be the ending the series deserves. You might want to steel yourself for some heartbreak too, because let’s be realistic, it wouldn’t be Game of Thrones without some beloved characters dying at the final hurdle now, would it? As you know by now, the Game of Thrones season 8 release date is confirmed for April 14 which means in a little over two months we’ll know who ends up on the Iron Throne...if there’s one left by the time the very cold dust settles. 

Regardless of how it ends, with each episode being over an hour long HBO sure has a lot to wrap up in for the Game of Thrones ending, from how Daenerys’ and Jon’s relationship will play out to what exactly the Night King has planned for Westeros, and how Cersei is going to get revenge on those siding with the Northerners (because you know she’s going to up her game after the whole wildfire incident, c’mon). Below is everything we know about Game of Thrones season 8, from cast, to plot (beware of spoilers in that section) to the hallowed trailers we now finally have. Get ready, because winter is here. 

Also, do not go anywhere near the plot section if you want to stay clear of any and all spoilers... you have been warned.

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 showrunners: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
  • 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

Game of Thrones 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 

Game of Thrones season 8 trailers

Finally. We’ve been blessed with a full-length Game of Thrones season 8 trailer, with almost two minutes of glorious footage. There’s tons to pick out from it, like - for a start - the fact that Drogon and Viserion appear to have been snacking down on humans, Arya is getting all creepy with the fact that she’s looking forward to see another of Death’s many faces (but still looks scared out of her mind at the beginning), and there’s plenty of shots of the cast in the dark, preparing for war against the Night King’s army. Plus what on earth is Arya running from? We spotted that something's been edited out of the trailer, but whether it's a wight or a zombified Ghost remains to be seen...

No sign of Viserion, one of Daenerys’ now-undead dragons, though… but best not to dwell on that too much. Above you can see it in all its majesty and finally realise, like I am right now, that this is the last ever series of Game of Thrones and oh my god it’s just sinking in. Help.

Keep reading for every other Game of Thrones season 8 trailer we've had so far.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner D.B. Weiss said that he wishes “there were no trailers”, but his wishful thinking doesn’t mean there won't be any Game of Thrones season 8 trailers... 

When pressed about whether they’re still making Game of Thrones season 8 trailers Weiss assured EW that their minds were changed when they saw the trailer for Westworld. Cue a sigh of relief.

Having said that, we're still waiting for a Game of Thrones season 8 trailer containing actual footage from the show, with the highly anticipated Game of Thrones Super Bowl trailer turning out to be nothing more than an ad for Bud Light (above)...

The longest and most recent Game of Thrones season 8 trailer we've had (above) still doesn't contain any actual footage from the show! 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.

We've got another bit of footage from Game of Thrones season 8 (above) - it's only a couple of seconds, mind you - but it depicts an astounded Arya as she sees Drogon flying overhead for the first time. With the Unsullied and Dothraki coming to Winterfell, it looks like this Stark is already bewitched by Dany's children. Let's just hope she doesn't get too close and become the second character in the show with a missing limb (*cough* Jaime *cough*).

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.

Game of Thrones season 8 posters

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Whereas HBO is definitely withholding footage from the final season, we at least have some official Game of Thrones season 8 posters now with the above 20 character posters. Depicting all the major characters sitting on the Iron Throne - even those who seem unlikely to rule Westeros, like the Hound and Davos - the Game of Thrones season 8 posters send a clear message: Anyone could win out in Game of Thrones season 8. Yes, even the Night King.

Plus Entertainment Weekly have released 16 - yes, 16 - covers that show us the core characters of Game of Thrones season 8. Dany, Jon, Arya, Sansa: they’re all there. Should I be worried about the lack of Tormund? Yeah, probably. You can see every single one in the gallery below. 

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Game of Thrones season 8 episodes

An image from Game of Thrones

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.”

Specifically, we finally have our grubby mitts on information about Game of Thrones season 8 episode runtimes, all thanks to a presentation in the homeland of the baguette and the Eiffel tower, France. In a presentation by Premiere, a French entertainment site, it was revealed that the first two episodes are going to be an hour long, with the next four episodes being 80 minutes long. That’s basically making them as long as some movies, so you’re going to want to find your cosiest couch and warmest furs when you’re watching them. Just make sure those furs aren’t sourced from genuine direwolves, because we’re still not over Lady’s death. *Sob*.

Read more

Catch up on where EVERY Game of Thrones character is before season 8

Lending weight to this new information about Game of Thrones episode runtimes 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…

Game of Thrones season 8 cast

An image from Game of Thrones

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.

If you were hoping to see a glimpse of the man who started your obsession with Game of Thrones, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed: George R.R. Martin refused a cameo in Game of Thrones season 8 because he couldn’t make it to Belfast in time. Dang. 

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