9:00am PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones' Sets Final Season Directors
The final six episodes of Game of Thrones are gearing up for production, and now we know who will be leading the charge in the upcoming last stand against the White Walkers.
HBO has revealed the names of the directors for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, all of whom are incredibly well known quantities within the context of the series: Miguel Sapochnik, David Nutter, and creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Sources say Benioff and Weiss are directing the series finale.
For his part, Sapochnik should require no introduction when it comes to his association with Game of Thrones. The director has been responsible for helming some of the most impressive episodes of the series, including season five's riveting "Hardhome" and the back-to-back powerhouse final two hours of season six, "Battle of the Bastards" and "The Winds of Winter." Sapochnik was absent from the seventh season of Thrones.
Nutter, meanwhile, has six previous Game of Thrones credits to his name, the most notable of which is what many consider to be the high point of the series: "The Rains of Castamere," season three's infamous Red Wedding episode. Additionally, Nutter's Thrones catalog includes the final two episodes of season five, "The Dance of Dragons" and "Mother's Mercy," which means he's not just the man who oversaw the death of Robb Stark (Richard Madden) but also the temporary death of Lord Commander Jon Snow (Kit Harington).
Entering the six-episode final season of the series, the stakes have never been higher for the denizens of Westeros and even the realms beyond. In the season seven finale, the Night King and his Army of the Dead broke through to the Seven Kingdoms after years and years of threatening their assault, finally able to cross through the great Wall thanks to a brand-new asset on their side: Viserion, one of Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) dragons, killed during the events of "Beyond the Wall" and brought back to unholy life in that same episode. As if the White Walkers needed any further advantages in their war against the living, now the Night King can count on a resurrected fire-breathing beast as his steed.
Of course, the White Walkers have their work cut out for them as they barrel toward a veritable who's-who of the best warriors Westeros has to offer: Jon Snow, the King in the North, the secret son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark; Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons and Breaker of Chains, among a thousand other titles; Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the Kingslayer and would-be dragonslayer; and Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann), the Hound, who slugged it out with the Night King's wights and lived to tell the tale, just to name a few.
All that said, the war within humanity's own ranks remains alive and well, thanks to the pettiness of Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), who is unwilling to truly commit to the battle against the dead. In the final episode of season seven, Cersei sent her lieutenant (and quasi-fiancé) Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) off to Essos in order to recruit the Golden Company, a sellsword organization she plans to use to wipe out Jon, Daenerys and their allies. If only Cersei could take a cue from Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), who wisely and rightly pointed out an obvious fact in season seven: "If we don't put aside our enmities and bound together, we will die, and then it won't matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne."
The war for the Iron Throne, which may very well include an army of sentient skeletons if the Night King reaches King's Landing, will come to an end in the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, expected in late 2018 at the earliest.
Keep checking THR.com/GameOfThrones to follow along with all of our podcasts, interviews, deep dives and more between now and the show's final season.