After countless rumors that Game of Thrones’ last two seasons would be shorter than usual, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss confirmed this weekend the final season will only contain six episodes.
Benioff and Weiss were on stage at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, to talk about the show. Along with making the announcement that British pop star Ed Sheeran would be joining the show in its seventh season, the two spoke about the shorter final season. Benioff and Weiss, who have been in charge of the show since it first debuted in 2011, will write the final four episodes.
“Dave Hill will write the season premiere, Bryan Cogman will write 802 and then we’ll write the other four,” Benioff said, as reported by Mashable. “Usually it took two minutes to divide the halves, this time it was 18 back and forth emails: ‘I’ll take this scene if you take that scene.’ Because we realized it was the last time we’d be doing this for this show.”
The panel, which was hosted by Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner (who play Stark sisters Arya and Sansa, respectively) also revealed some cool information about the series. Benioff and Weiss admitted they viewed the series as one very long movie instead of an eight-season narrative. The showrunners also confirmed HBO was interested in pursuing spinoffs, as previously reported, but neither Benioff nor Weiss will be involved if the network goes forward.
HBO announced last week that Game of Thrones will return for its seventh season on July 16. Season 7 will also be shorter than usual, with seven episodes, meaning that the TV show has just 13 chapters of its story left to tell.
Correction: The seventh season of Game of Thrones will run for seven episodes, HBO announced last week. In addition, one of the Game of Thrones writers is named Bryan Cogman, not Brian Cogman. We’ve edited the article to reflect this.