Production is set to begin soon on the seventh season of Game of Thrones, which will premiere next summer, HBO announced today.
"Now that winter has arrived on Game of Thrones, executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt that the storylines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing," said Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming, in a press release today. "Instead of the show’s traditional spring debut, we’re moving the debut to summer to accommodate the shooting schedule."
HBO’s announcement confirms comments made by Game of Thrones showrunners Benioff and Weiss on the UFC Unfiltered podcast earlier this month. The showrunners said that because winter has finally come in the world of Game of Thrones, they wanted to push back the production in order to "get some grim, gray weather, even in the sunnier places that we shoot."
Every previous season of Game of Thrones has debuted in the spring — all six of them premiered in April except the third season, whose first episode aired March 31, 2013.
HBO also announced today that season seven will include seven episodes; each of the first six seasons of Game of Thrones ran for 10 episodes. This is in line with comments made by Weiss and Benioff in an interview with Deadline last month, when they said that they were aiming to end Game of Thrones with a total of 70-75 episodes.
Season seven will be filmed in Northern Ireland, Spain and Iceland. Directors for episodes in the seventh season include Mark Mylod, Jeremy Podeswa, Alan Taylor and series newcomer Matt Shakman.
Last week, Game of Thrones received 23 Emmy nominations for its sixth season, including acting nods for Kit Harington and Maisie Williams as well as usual suspects Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey. The show is also up for Best Drama Series, which it won along with 11 other Emmys last year — a record for a single show.
For more on the sixth season of Game of Thrones, check out our explainer on the finale’s massive revelation about one of the show’s key characters.