Theon Greyjoy and Sansa Stark Game
Courtesy of HBO

Season six of “Game of Thrones” will premiere on April 24, HBO announced Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena.

While details are scarce about the plot for the upcoming episodes of the hugely popular fantasy series, a teaser released late last year suggests that it will address the season five cliffhanger that left fans speculating whether Kit Harington’s Jon Snow was alive after he became the victim of a Julius Caesar-like uprising.

The season also marks the return of Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, a character who has not been seen since season four. New cast members this season include Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven (a character first played by Struan Rodger) and “UnREAL” actor Freddie Stroma as Dickon Tarly, the brother of John Bradley’s Samwell.

Ian McShane will also join “Thrones” in an undisclosed role for one episode in season six, and has cryptically teased that “I am responsible for bringing somebody back that you think you’re never going to see again. I’ll leave it at that.”

All other seasons of “Game of Thrones” premiered somewhere between the end of March and the middle of April, and this time frame is a strategic move for HBO. Television episodes must air before the close of Emmy nomination voting on June 24 of this year in order to be eligible for this year’s Emmy Award consideration. Last year’s “Game of Thrones” finale aired on June 14 — the day before nomination voting began in 2015. The series went on to win the Emmy Award for best drama.

The “Game of Thrones” season five finale brought the show’s largest audience ever, averaging 8.11 million viewers. The series was also the most-pirated TV show of 2015.

HBO also announced that, per its custom, comedies “Silicon Valley” and “Veep” will start up again following the “Thrones” premiere.

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” Audra McDonald’s special based on her Broadway production about Billie Holiday, will air on March 12.

HBO Films’ “Confirmation” and “All the Way” will premiere in April and May, respectively.

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