Last month, HBO offered a sneak peek at series, specials, and films to expect from the cable network in 2018. But its new-year teaser reel had one obvious omission: any declaration about the future of Game of Thrones, other than a brief shot of a few series characters. It turns out that fans were right to raise their eyebrows at this reel.
HBO issued a Thursday announcement to confirm that Game of Thrones' eighth—and final—season will debut in "2019." The network didn't hint at either a month or release window. Instead, it confirmed that the season will contain six episodes and offered a list of writers and directors on board, including longtime TV series contributors David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Otherwise, the announcement contained nothing in the way of plot or character hints, let alone a trailer. The show's official Twitter feed simply told fans, "Send a raven."
The result: GoT will have its first full year off the airwaves since its 2011 debut. HBO hasn't yet announced firmer plans about an oft-rumored GoT prequel series—and, geez, there are five series possibly in the works—so it's unclear whether fans will have to wait similar amounts of time for any other TV series to kick off. Meanwhile, George R.R. Martin remains coy about whether his long-awaited book follow-up, The Winds of Winter, could arrive before HBO's final season starts.