The Game of Thrones season 8 director lineup, clarified


The final season of Game of Thrones is over a year away, but certain things — like the lineup of directors — are becoming clear.

Fabian Wagner has served as the director of photography on several episodes of Game of Thrones, including season 4’s “The Laws of Gods and Men,” season 5’s “Hardhome” and season 6’s “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter.” He worked on those last two under director Miguel Sapochnik. Both Sapochnik and Wagner are returning for season 8, which will consist of only six episodes. “[W]e’re back together as a team and we’ve got a couple of very exciting episodes ahead of us,” he told Collider. “We’re shooting Episode 3 and Episode 5.”

We learned back in September that Sapochnik, probably the show’s most consistent director, would be returning for season 8. Veteran Thrones director David Nutter will also be in the mix, while showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss will direct the final episode themselves. So between them Nutter and Sapochnik would direct five episodes, but until now, we didn’t know how the work would be divided up. But assuming Sapochnik isn’t working with multiple directors of photography, the final lineup should look like this:

  • Episode 1: David Nutter
  • Episode 2: David Nutter
  • Episode 3: Miguel Sapochnik
  • Episode 4: David Nutter
  • Episode 5: Miguel Sapochnik
  • Episode 6: David Benioff and Dan Weiss

Knowing who will direct what episode doesn’t confirm plot detailsbut it could give us a general idea of what will happen. Directors are often chosen for their strengths. While Nutter has directed action, he’s probably best remembered for helming some of the show’s smaller-scale, shocking moments, such as the Red Wedding (“The Rains of Castamere”), the burning of Shireen (“The Dance of Dragons”) and Cersei’s walk of shame (“Mother’s Mercy”). Episodes 1, 2, and 5 may keep things a little smaller.

Meanwhile, Sapochnik has made a name for himself directing the show’s biggest action set pieces, including the action scenes in “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards.” At the moment, the production is readying two huge sets for what look like big battle sequences. Might these battles fall in Episodes 3 and 5, and will Sapochnik (with Wagner’s help) be the guy to bring them to life?

Of course, Sapochnik can do things other than battles. He also directed “The Winds of Winter,” which has no battle scenes but which, in our opinion, is the best episode of the show ever produced. Wagner agreed, calling “Winds” his “favorite episode.”

"I think it’s one of the most, you know, kind of almost finished episodes as everything comes together in that episode from beginning to end. We put a lot of prep work into that and kind of trying to work with all the characters and visually bring it all together for that season as a season finale, so that was really great fun. I just loved the montage sequences and the music, which I thought kind of gave a new level to the music in Game of Thrones. Which I think it always great, but it kind of really stood out, I think, in that episode."

Wagner also commented on the difficulties of shooting scenes out of sequence, which is a reality of working on TV. “I’m always amazed by how the actors deal with that. Because the[y] shoot episode 2 with a different director and then the week after they’re shooting for episode 10, and then they go back to episode 5 after that. Which I always find pretty amazing, how the actors really deal with that.”

Next: Emilia Clarke: “Multiple endings” written for Game of Thrones season 8

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