The most notable items, in my view, are that Benioff and Weiss have indicated that the final season of the series will be only 6 episodes long (although one wonders what odds one or more of those episodes will run long), and that they have no plans of being involved in any Game of Thrones spin-off or prequel project HBO may come up with. Also, this upcoming season will feature a cameo from musician Ed Sheeran, who happens to be a huge fan of the show as you can see in the video below.
UPDATE: According to a follow-up report this week, as reported by Göteborg Posten, it looks like HBO has indicated that while it found Gotland very interesting it doesn’t have what they’re looking for and so Game of Thrones wll not be filming there. You can find our original report below:
A curious item out of Gotlands Tidningar caught our eye, as it indicated a production company on Gotland was currently involved in collecting location photos for what we can only assume is early location scouting for season 8 of Game of Thrones.
According to Olivia Munck of The Line, a production and location services company in Gotland, over 300 images have been sent to the production in several batches as different environments and places were requested; these include images of the medieval town of Visby, followed by a second batch of Visby photos with a focus on older or more “aged” environments, and then a batch of photos focused on old farmsteads on Gotland (including Kattlunds and Stavgard).
Visby, which was the center of Hanseatic League for two centuries, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved medieval town in Scandinavia. Its medieval walls stretch for over 2 miles (3 kilometers), it’s packed with ruins of churches and cathedrals (such as St. Nicolai, where Linda and I held a few talks last year). It’s a beautiful, and quite unique, place, which has for over 30 years hosted the famous Medeltidsveckan medieval festival. The rest of Gotland is also dotted with historical sites and sites of archaeological value, and features some beatuiful vistas (as one can see on The Line’s site). And of course, being in Scandinavia, it’s also known to get a good deal of snow which one supposes might be considered useful for the final season of the series.
So, is the production actually going to end up filming in Sweden? Munck was also interviewed by Sveriges Radio after the initial article made the rounds in the press, and there reiterated that she felt the production certainly has some interest in filming there since she doesn’t suppose they would have asked for so many pictures over time if they were writing it off. At the same time, however, she cautioned that nothing was certain at this stage, that no contracts had been signed, and gave it no better than 50/50 odds after citing that Sweden does not have the kind of tax breaks for film productions that Iceland, Spain, Croatia, and other countries where Game of Thrones has filmed previously.
According to Munck, after all these photos the next step for the production (if they continued to be interested) would probably be sending someone over to take a look around in person.
This year’s Emmy Awards have concluded and the results featured a few surprises in the acting categories, but the overall picture was as expected for Game of Thrones as it secured a total of 12 Emmys, tying last year’s record. Besides repeating for Best Dramatic Series, the show received direction and writing awards for “The Battle of the Bastards”. The shut out in the acting categories goes against prevailing opinions among entertainment pundits and journalists, but it seems that while the voting constituency (rule changes in 2015 are a big part of why Game of Thrones is now dominant in the drama category) loves Peter Dinklage, his puzzled reaction to last year’s victory moved the voters away from him and instead saw them return to an old stand by (Maggie Smith) and a long-time veteran (Ben Mendelsohn) over the remaining Game of Thrones nominees.
Some notable remarks followed the Emmys when interviewers asked the showrunners about the future of the series and the possibility of sequels. According to the Hollywood Reporter:
“You might want to ask George about that. It’s a great world George created and a very rich world,” said Benoiff. “I’m sure there will be other series set in Westeros, but for us this is it.”
Martin quickly stepped up to the mic: “I do have thousands of pages of fake history of everything that led up to Game of Thrones, so there’s a wealth of material there and I’m still writing more. But at the moment I still have this show to finish and two books to finish, so that’s all speculation for now.”
Benioff’s remark reiterates that he and Weiss are done with showrunning for the forseeable future when Game of Thrones wraps up, which is no surprise, but it seems that discussions at HBO are at the point where he seems to have no doubt that some sort of follow-on project is likely. On the other hand, as GRRM says, it all remains speculation until HBO is ready to lock something in. We suspect it’ll be a year or two before we hear of any firm plans for a spin-off series drawing from The World of Ice and Fire or A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.
The last couple of days has seen some significant news concerning the future of Game of Thrones thanks to remarks from showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, as well as HBO executive Michael Lombardo.
First out of the gate was this Variety interview in which Benioff was quoted as saying:
Clarification from other sources—doubtless HBO—clarified that the numbers were premature, but did say that upcoming seasons may be shorter than 10 episodes per season. The piece goes on to cite programming president Michael Lombardo, who acknowledged that Benioff and Weiss wanted to wrap the show in two years, but added that he was an “optimist” and though they would “figure this out”.
Continuing the trend of highlighting the behind-the-scenes production of HBO’s Game of Thrones series, they have now released an interesting mini-documentary on the work of the prosthetics department. A whole lot of white walkers and wights to be seen. Interestingly, much of the white walker footage is from last season’s “Hardome”:
Suffice it to say, some of the glimpses of season 6 herein could be considered spoilerish.
Last year, Mackevision released a VFX breakdown of some of their contributions to the visually-impressive fifth season of Game of Thrones. Now another VFX company who worked on the production, Image Engine, has opened up about their work last year through an article on their site. The article includes the video you’ll see below:
The interview piece with VFX supervisor Matt Krentz—who’d worked with Look FX on two of the previous seasons—is particularly rich in additional detail. While a lot of their work as seen in the many before-and-after images seem like fairly straightforward crowd replications or removal/addition of elements, there’s also details about the 3D set extensions to Castle Black, their pipeline for creating all their work, and perhaps most notably details on creating the appearance of the “Night’s King” as seen at the end of “Hardhome”.
A bombshell has fallen in the small world of television reviewing: HBO has stopped screeners for critics for season 6 of Game of Thrones. This is largely the result of well-publicized leaks from previous seasons—particularly the last season, in which the first four episodes were leaked weeks before the premiere—but for many critics the practice of receiving episodes early allowed them to spend more time considering and crafting their reviews. Now all the critics—at least, so far as we know—will have to write their reviews after episodes air.
There’s a brand new Game of Thrones video over at Making Game of Thrones, the official production blog for the show. Perhaps it’s because of the subject matter, but this struck me as one of the most visually beautiful of HBO’s behind-the-scenes videos looking into season 6. Also, while it’s not a trailer, it actually features a handful of pretty noteworthy details that we’ll discuss briefly below the video:
Despite speculation that HBO’s schedule has pushed season 6 of Game of Thrones into early May, brand new billboards put out by HBO in Los Angeles and New York reveal that the show will air in “April”. Given that the new Martin Scorsese show, Vinyl, will run into April as well, it looks like the sixth season will begin airing on the final Sunday in April, April 24th.
See below for a couple of images of the billboard, along with the tweets from those who shared them on the social media website:
The town of Osuna, Spain, which Linda and I had the pleasure of visiting earlier this year for the official release of the translation of The World of Ice and Fire, featured in last year’s filming when its bullring served as Daznak’s Pit.
While there’s no sign the show filmed there again this year, the town is quite proud of its involvement in the series and has decided to dedicate two rooms in the Museum of Osuna to a collection of Game of Thrones materials. This permanent exhibit will officially open on November 28th, and will contain a unique assemblage of materials. Of particular note is a collection of photographic and video footage related to the behind-the-scenes experience of filming at the bullring, providing a glimpse at the role of the town and its people in facilitating the production which lasted seventeen days.
Below, we’ve provided a translation of Osuna’s press release regarding the museum:
Following intense preparation and collection of material related to Game of Thrones, which filmed part of its fifth season just over a year ago in the bullring of Osuna, on November 28th the Museum of Osuna will inaugurate two permanent rooms dedicated to Game of Thrones and the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, encapsulating just what filming of such a production has meant for the Ducal town of Osuna and its international recognition.
This Sunday, the Emmy Awards were handed out, and Game of Thrones (and HBO in general) proved very popular. The show tallied up a total of 12 wins this year at the Emmys, handily breaking the 9 win record set by The West Wing set in 2000. While eight of those awards were in the Creative Arts categories, the show carried four major awards at the Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Supporting Actor for a visibly-surprised Peter Dinklage, Outstanding Director for David Nutter and “Mother’s Mercy”, Outstanding Writing for David Benioff & Dan Weiss for the same episode, and the big one, Outstanding Drama. Coincidentally, Sunday was also George R.R. Martin’s 67th birthday, so it was quite the present.
For those keeping track, Game of Thrones has added to its bevy of Creative Arts Emmys: nominated fo 16 awards, it took home 8 of them. Bear in mind, in some of those categories there were several Game of Thrones entries, most notably the Cinematography in a Single-Camera Series category which featured six nominees, four of which were from Game of Thrones (HBO sister show Boardwalk Empire‘s season 5 premiere actually won there, however).
This continues the show’s tremendous run in creative arts and production categories, which is understandable given both the expense, the complexity, and the terrific amount of talent involved behind-the-scenes in producing the visuals, effects, stunts, and more. With the 2015 Emmys, the show has been nominated for 88 awards so far, of which it has won 19 so far. More Emmys are pending for the Primetime Emmy awards airing on the 20th, while FXX will broadcast last week’s Creative Arts Emmys on the 19th.
For the full list of Emmy nominees, see here.
The news ran wild last night with the report from the Television Critics’ Association summer session panel where HBO executive Michael Lombardo spoke about Game of Thrones and remarked the following:
“Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the [internal] conversation. The question is: How much beyond seven are we going to do? Obviously we’re shooting six now, hopefully discussing seven. [David & Dan] feel like there’s two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds, but that’s what we’re looking at right now.”
On top of that, when asked about potential prequels, Lombardo expressed strong willingness to further delve into the Game of Thrones story once the main series was done.
As brought to our attention by Spanish fansite Los Siete Reinos, at least two new locations in Spain are lining up for filming in season 6, which starts filming this July but the Spanish segment appears set for September and October. According to Barcelonan paper La Vanguardia, HBO has apparently confirmed that the Catalonian city of Girona will be used in filming—its famous cathedral being cited as one location of particular interest—as well as the Valencian medieval town of Peñsicola which is known for retaining many medieval and Renaissance buildings and structures. James Hibberd of EW adds that other locations may be used in Spain, though those have as yet to be confirmed (in particular, James Hibberd notes that there’s no word whether Seville, the main site for filming Dornish scenes, has not been confirmed as a filming location at this time).
Both Los Siete Reinos and La Vanguardia speculate that Girona would serve very well for Oldtown and the Citadel, citing the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter, the edifice of the cathedral, and so on. Peñsicola is more of a mystery, although Spanish fans are tentatively suggesting it could serve for Casterly Rock. In support of this, note that the Wikipedia article notes that Peñsicola is sometimes known as the “Gibraltar of Valencia”, thanks to being a prominent fortified peninsula, and George R.R. Martin has often likened Casterly Rock to the actual Gibraltar, while at the same time he has noted that Casterly Rock will appear in future A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
It’s certainly as good a guess as any.
While Linda and I have been touring Barcelona and now the town of Osuna courtesy of the Spanish publisher of The World of Ice and Fire, Gigamesh, news concerning the title of the 9th episode—the penultimate episode of the season, in fact—came out thanks to HBO’s online schedule.
As it happens, because of our current state of travel, we’re uncertain how much review material we’ll be able to publish following the episode. We may just manage the Book-to-Screen breakdown on Monday, with the written review having to wait until Wednesday, and the video review after that. Our apologies!