In what is probably unsurprising but no doubt disappointing news for “Game of Thrones” fans, HBO confirmed Thursday that the show won’t return for its eighth and final season until 2019.

Though shooting began in October and the final season will have only six episodes, compared to 10 in the first six seasons and seven last year, there had been indications that the fantasy epic wouldn’t come back in 2018. Actors and others who work on the show have suggested that Season 8’s episodes — and thus the length of the shoot — will be the longest “Game of Thrones” has ever had. So far the roughly 80-minute Season 7 finale has been the show’s longest episode.

Directors for the new season are the show’s creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as well as old “Thrones” hands David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik. The writers are Mr. Benioff and Mr. Weiss, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill.

Season 8 will wrap up one of the most-watched — and almost certainly the most-discussed — series in the world, drawing more than 30 million viewers each week across all platforms, according to HBO.

HBO is currently developing five potential “Game of Thrones” prequel series set in other parts of the world of George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” novels, the basis of “Thrones.” Mr. Benioff and Mr. Weiss are not involved in those concepts but other “Thrones” veterans, like Mr. Cogman, a longtime writer and producer, are. HBO has said any series that result from the pilots won’t debut until at least a year after the end of “Game of Thrones.”

(Excerpt) Read More in: The New York Times

‘Game of Thrones’ Won’t Return Until 2019