HBO is protecting Game of Thrones season eight spoilers with a blockade of fake scripts, decoy endings, and drone-killing guns, but one of the few bits of hype to get through was a description of a huge battle scene that would dwarf the 25-day Battle of the Bastards shoot. In a since-deleted Instagram post back in April, an assistant director let info slip about an epic war scene that required 55 consecutive nights to shoot.
As Entertainment Weekly revealed on Thursday, that "wildly understated" just how much went into filming the fight: Turns out they then relocated to the studio, where they wound up shooting the same battle for several more weeks. The resulting showdown will reportedly be the “most sustained action sequence” ever made for television or film. And that’s just one piece of a final season so epic and unwieldy that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss originally wanted to release it in theaters as three films, Lord of the Rings-style.
According to EW, season eight will open with Daenerys Targaryen’s army arriving at Winterfell, much like Robert Baratheon’s entourage at the beginning of the first season. The Night King’s forces, fans will remember, were last seen smashing through The Wall with Daenerys’s undead dragon, Viserion. At Winterfell, characters who audiences have been following for nearly a decade will finally cross paths, igniting a sweeping battle against the Army of the Dead.
The gorefest—reportedly directed by the man behind “Battle of the Bastards,” Miguel Sapochnik— will take up an entire episode, similar to season four’s Battle of Castle Black.
"It’s brutal," Peter Dinklage, ever the eloquent GoT hype man, told EW. "It makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park.”
EW's feature, which included the first official photo from season eight and several actors' reactions to reading the script—Kit Harington explains why he cried twice—is likely the first chug of a heavily-loaded hype train leading up to the premiere sometime in 2019. And fuck it: all aboard.
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