“Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss returned to Comic-Con on Friday to discuss Season 7 and the challenges of adapting George R. R. Martin’s books and surpassing what has been published so far.
“It’s still ultimately George’s imagination that gave us these characters, that gave us this world,” Benioff pointed out. “Hopefully we’re still living out the spirit of George’s imagination. George’s books will be very different in some respects; hopefully the series and the books will be very surprising to people who are reading or watching.”
The creators also addressed the late premiere for Season 7, which will see the show returning in summer instead of April, due to a delayed start date in filming. “Winter is here, and we’ve got to shoot in places with trees and wait for the leaves to turn,” Benioff noted. “We finish shooting in February,” which means that the rigorous post-production work on the show won’t be finished before summer.
Cast members Liam Cunningham, John Bradley, Nathalie Emmanuel, Conleth Hill, Sophie Turner, Iwan Rheon, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Faye Marsay and Kristian Nairn were also in attendance, along with director Miguel Sapochnik. Nairn received a rapturous welcome from the crowd, who offered an extended chant of “Hodor” in honor of his beloved character.
“I did not expect it to be so crazy, I’m really, really flattered, it’s blown my mind,” Nairn said of the fan response to Hodor’s death. “I was in a hotel in L.A. the other day and all their doorstops said ‘Hodor’ on them. The scene was incredibly written and directed, but I didn’t expect the outpouring of emotion.”
Turner discussed the potentially strained relationship between Sansa and Jon going into Season 7, admitting that she doesn’t think her brother (who’s actually her cousin), is cut out for leadership. “I don’t think she believes Jon is capable of running Winterfell and the north; she doesn’t think he has the intellect, the knowledge, the experience that she has, and I concur,” she laughed. “He has wonderful morals, those Stark morals, [so she thinks] that inevitably he’ll make the good decision, but whether it’s going to benefit anyone is another story.”
The actress also admitted that Sansa may have developed a taste for blood after killing Ramsay: “I have no idea if she’s going to become a real leader or if she’s going to become completely sadistic, but we’ll soon find out…”
A fan also brought up online speculation that Sansa might marry Jon, since they’re not truly siblings, which Turner shot down immediately. “Jon likes redheads, but Jon and Sansa have grown up together, they’re basically siblings,” she insisted with a laugh, before warning the executive producers, “if you make anything happen, I will kill you.”
“It hadn’t occurred to us, but thank you,” Weiss quipped.
Since Bran is currently the only living person who knows that Jon is actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, Hempstead Wright weighed in on what his character might do with that knowledge in Season 7. “Bran knows he’s been shown this information for a reason, he might not know exactly why, but it’s obviously imperative he knows this and will spread the word,” the actor said, joking that he envisions the eventual conversation with Jon going something like, “By the way, I’m a tree wizard, and your dad isn’t your dad.”
The actor also recalled his initial reaction to learning the Jon revelation: “I knew about R+L=J and all the theories … it was really cool to be able to read it, let alone have involvement in the scene.” He said the most satisfying aspect was that Bran’s flashbacks weren’t just flashbacks, but an opportunity for the audience to “watch a character react to this rich history of Westeros. It was nice to see it all click together.”
The panel was moderated by “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” creator Rob McElhenney, who revealed that he was chosen to host the panel because, unbeknownst to us, “I’ve shot a scene in every season, but they always cut me out.” McElhenney then presented footage of his “cut scenes,” in which his disgruntled character asked the question that we’ve been wondering for six seasons: “When is winter coming?”
The panel concluded with a behind the scenes video showing that production is underway on Season 7 — with no new footage, just voiceovers from Season 6 — and a blooper reel that showed star Peter Dinklage struggling with the word “benevolent.”
Watch the videos below:
“Game of Thrones” Season 7 will premiere in summer 2017.