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Will ‘Game of Thrones’ Return in 2018?

The eighth and final season might not arrive as soon as you would hope

So another season of “Game of Thrones” has come and gone, and while we’re nearing the end in the plot of the series, it may be a while before we actually get to see it.

Season 8 will be the last season of HBO’s fantasy blockbuster, and the combination of the arrival of winter and ever increasing budgets and production values has complicated the release schedule — as was the case with Season 7 this year, it’s tough to predict right now when Season 8 will kick off with one last six-episode run.

After six consecutive ten-episode seasons started in the spring, Season 7 only had seven episodes and started in July — the delay being credited with the need to move the bulk of the shooting schedule into winter months.

Right now, there is no set date or time frame for “Game of Thrones” to return, which is not a surprise this far out — Season 7’s start date wasn’t announced until a few months ahead of the season premiere.

But there is reason to believe the wait will be longer than just a year. We’ve seen rumors that production on Season 8 may last until August of 2018, which could potentially push the Season 8 premiere into 2019, and star Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, casually mentioned in interviews that the season will start in 2019 — meaning a hiatus of up to a year and a half. Nothing is official, of course, but that sort of gap should come off as too much of a surprise, considering Season 8 will feature the sort of production that is usually reserved for Hollywood summer blockbusters.

You shouldn’t necessarily assume that the wait will be that long, because I’m not sure anyone knows for sure when it will be just yet. But right now it feels as though 2018 is not the year when we’ll finally see the conclusion of “Game of Thrones.”