HBO has finally confirmed that the eighth and final season of its acclaimed fantasy drama Game of Thrones will premiere in April 2019. Now, director David Nutter, who is directing the first episode of the final season and others, has shared some intriguing new details.
In a Reddit AMA, Nutter answered numerous questions about Game of Thrones, but we should say right at the top that he really only offered high-level details. HBO is going to great lengths to ensure spoilers don’t leak, and Nutter did his part to keep things largely under wraps.
Starting off, Nutter talked about the challenge–and opportunity–of directing the first episode in the final season. He’s directed a number of Game of Thrones episodes in the past, including the one with the infamous Red Wedding scene, but this is his first time directing the first episode of a new Game of Thrones season.
“I think it’s really important to make a splash,” he said. “You have to reset the table, put everyone back in their place, you have to take them to their next position. But you have to entertain that’s what’s most important.”
Asked to describe Season 8 in three words, Nutter said, “Spectacular, Inspiring, and Satisfying.” On the subject of satisfying, Nutter said he thinks people will generally be happy with the way the events wrap up once all is said and done.
“I’m completely satisfied with how Season 8 ends. I think that [creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss] did a tremendous job, and they took into consideration what the fans want, as well as what is right as far as storytelling is concerned,” he said. “I guarantee there’s going to be lots of surprises and shocking moments, but it’s really very compelling stuff.”
As mentioned, Nutter directed the shocking Red Wedding episode from Season 3. Nutter said in the AMA that he was blown away by how the community reacted to the episode, in particular how people filmed YouTube reaction videos. But will there be a Red Wedding-esque moment in Season 8? “As far as season 8 compared to the Red Wedding I just have to tell you: hang onto your seat cause it’s going to be special,” he said.
Also in the AMA, Nutter talked about the length of episodes in Season 8. It was previously rumoured that while there are only six episodes, each might be as long as movie. Nutter confirmed that each installment will be 60-plus minutes, so they’re longer than in the past, but probably not movie-length. “Season 8 episodes will all I think be longer than 60 minutes. They’ll be dancing around the bigger numbers, I know that for sure,” he said.
As you’d expect, Nutter said he feels a sense of responsibility to end Game of Thrones in a way that feels satisfying and right for the franchise. Such a task sounds like a very tall order, but Nutter is at least saying all the right things about how he wants to end it all.
“The biggest challenge directing the final season of Game of Thrones is just the importance of getting it right,” he explained. “There was not a second chance to get all of these sequences right, and a lot of sequences had many actors in them and some wonderfully intimate scenes as well. So really it was about taking these characters from point A to B to C to D to E in the various episodes that I did, and making sure that it all balances out properly. We had a lot of rehearsal time and that was really the thing that saved me more than anything else. I’m very happy with the chance to get in there and rehearse with the actors, and I think they were too, and I think it turned out quite well.”
Nutter also pretty much confirmed the theory that fake scenes were shot so that leaks that may eventually emerge prove incorrect. Asked if he himself knew if he was filming a fake scene, Nutter said, “Well, you have to ask me that at the end of Season 8 because I can’t answer that question now.”
You can read the full AMA here on Reddit. Nutter is one of four directors for the eighth season; the others are Miguel Sapochnik, along with Benioff and Weiss.