HBO have confirmed that the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones will not air until 2019, confirming previous reports.
The final season of the show is the shortest, consisting of just six episodes, but these episodes are expected to all be notably longer than normal, so the amount of airtime may actually exceed that of the seventh season (which only had seven episodes). The final season has also had significant production requirements, including the need for winter filming in Iceland and epic-scaled scenes involving large numbers of extras and CGI. Shooting is not expected to wrap until early summer. It looks like HBO had been holding out hope for a late 2018 publication but they realised it would not be feasible given the extensive post-production requirements.
A date for transmission is not currently known, but given how HBO normally arrange their shows I would not bet against April 2019 being the date to look out for.
Season 8 of Game of Thrones has been written by David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill and directed by David Nutter, Miguel Sapochnik and David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (who will co-write and co-direct the series finale). HBO are currently developing several potential spin-off series ideas.
Although Thrones may not be back for a while, HBO will be airing the second season of their hit science fiction drama Westworld this spring, possibly starting in April.