SXSW: ‘Game of Thrones’ Showrunners Confirm Final Season Will Only Have 6 Episodes

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss revealed at their panel that the final season will be a sprint to the finish

“Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss confirmed at their SXSW panel on Sunday that the final season of the wildly popular HBO fantasy series will have only six episodes.

“It’s only going to be six episodes for the final season,” Benioff told an attentive audience in Austin. Benioff and Weiss were joined by Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner — a.k.a. Arya and Sansa Stark — who served as moderators for the panel.

Filming for season 7 has already wrapped, and Benioff and Weiss say they are starting the writing process for next year’s big finish by handing out writing assignments for each of the final episodes. Weiss and Benioff will write the final four episodes, with Dave Hill and Bryan Cogman writing the first two.

Hill’s “GoT” writing credits include the season 6 episode “Home,” in which Jon Snow returns from the dead; while Cogman’s include “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” the extremely polarizing season 5 episode in which Sansa was married and subsequently raped by Ramsay Bolton.

Speaking of Sansa, the Lady of Winterfell was a major point of conversation in the panel. Benioff said that he appreciated how realistic her character was, noting that “we were all annoying teenagers at one point.” Still, when talking about how they’re going about writing the final episodes, they got in a few jokes at the crowd’s expense.

“We argued over who got to kill Sansa,” Benioff joked to Turner.

Of course, with “Game of Thrones,” you never know if he’s actually hinting at the death of another Stark.

“Game of Thrones” returns to HBO on July 16.