The long night is coming — and so is the longest episode of Game of Thrones ever, according to showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss.
The executive producers and masterminds behind all things Westeros are only issuing seven installments for the show's upcoming seventh season, as opposed to the traditional 10-episode order. With that said, the shortened season will include two episodes that are "considerably over 60" minutes, including an episode that clocks in as the longest Game of Thrones outing to date, according to Benioff and Weiss.
"It always amazed me when I watched Breaking Bad and they could get every episode so perfect and they would all be like 42 minutes and 40 seconds or something," Benioff told EW in a recent interview. "Which is its own separate skill amongst everything else that went into making a show that [creator] Vince Gilligan and his team were able to do. One of the things we're lucky about is we don’t have the same pressure. We have one episode that’s coming in around 90 minutes and another that’s going to be our shortest episode at 50 minutes. Those episodes are better [at] those lengths but I'm glad we didn't have the additional pressure Vince had."
Benioff and Weiss also provided an update on how winter is shaping up for the final season, which they're currently in the process of writing. "It's nearly completed," said Benioff, before adding, "I shouldn't say 'nearly.'" Weiss added: "I wouldn't go that far." As for whether or not it will air next year or will be delayed as late as 2019, Benioff offered an ominous reply: "We honestly don't know yet. There's been a lot of back and forth about air dates. That's a long way off from being settled."
Before looking too far down the road at the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, there's still season seven to contend with. In the past, most main characters operate within their own spheres and stories: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in Essos, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in the North, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) on the run, and so on. Season six started tying certain threads more closely together, starting with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) finally meeting the fabled Khaleesi. Fans can expect even more characters to finally enter each other's orbits, as soon as this coming season.
"As the worlds start to converge, characters who haven't met each other before start to meet each other and there are more and more main characters together in each other's storylines than there have ever been before," said Weiss. "Ever since Tyrion crossed the Narrow Sea and met Dany it's been the show's general direction. And for us, it's so much fun because these guys don't get to spend too much time together except when they pass like ships in the night passing to and from storylines. So having them on set together is a real privilege for us because we get to spend more time with then."
Game of Thrones season seven premieres July 16 on HBO.