Every “Game of Thrones” fan who’s been paying even modest attention to final season leaks knows the upcoming Season 8 includes a battle sequence that supposedly rivals not just anything you’ve seen on David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ HBO fantasy series before — but anything you’ve ever seen in a movie theater.
“This final face-off between the Army of the Dead and the army of the living is completely unprecedented and relentless and a mixture of genres even within the battle,” co-executive producer Bryan Cogman told Entertainment Weekly in a story published Monday.
“There are sequences built within sequences built within sequences. David and Dan [wrote] an amazing puzzle and Miguel came in and took it apart and put it together again. It’s been exhausting but I think it will blow everybody away,” he said.
But according to director Miguel Sapochnik — who was in charge of this undertaking of an episode, which included 11 weeks of night shoots (dubbed the “Long Night,” by production) as well as Season 6’s “Battle of the Bastards” — it was at one point going to be a much more manageable production.
“We built this massive new part of Winterfell and originally thought, ‘We’ll film this part here and this part there,’ and basically broke it down into so many pieces it would be shot like a Marvel movie, with never any flow or improvisation,” Sapochnik told EW. “Even on ‘Star Wars,’ they build certain parts of the set and then add huge elements of green screen. And that makes sense. There’s an efficiency to that. But I turned to the producers and said, ‘I don’t want to do 11 weeks of night shoots and no one else does. But if we don’t we’re going to lose what makes ‘Game of Thrones’ cool and that is that it feels real.'”
And the powers that be agreed.
“When you have rapid cutting [in an action scene] you can tell it was all assembled in post-production,” Benioff said. “That’s not the show’s style and it’s not Miguel’s style.”
And then their grueling shoot began.
“Game of Thrones” eighth and final season premieres April 14 at 9/8c on HBO.