When it comes to most shows, the people who are in charge of directing individual episodes is pretty low on the priority list. Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of fantastic directors in the realm of television, and their impact on the industry has been undeniable. But, at the end of the day, TV is a writer’s medium, and the showrunners ultimately are the ones who have the most sway. So much so that, a lot of the time, the TV director can often just feel like a middle-man in getting the producer’s vision onscreen.
…But Game of Thrones is one of the exceptions to that rule. Over its six year run, the show has done an amazing job of utilizing its directors. Largely due to the way it is filmed, and the overall aesthetic of the series, director’s really have a chance to make their episodes stand out. While other series can get away with having any journeyman come in and just shoot things as written, the big budget, cinematic look of Game of Thrones truly takes skilled directors to make work. And even within the show itself, you can tell when a really good director is placed behind the camera.
For that reason, there are plenty of directors who have made a notable impression on the show over the years, from Alan Taylor to Michelle MacLaren. Maybe it’s because we generally obsess over Game of Thrones more than pretty much any other running series, but when the list of directors is announced for a given season, you better believe we all take note. After all, the people in charge of the episodes often set the tone for the season as a whole, and with such a wide bench of great directors to choose from, we’ve all been waiting with pretty baited breath at just who would be responsible for delivering the final chapters of this journey. And, today, we finally know.
Here’s who will direct the final six installments of Game of Thrones, via The Hollywood Reporter:
- First (and most exciting) is Miguel Sapochnik, who in my mind might just be the best director to ever work on Game of Thrones. The man directed “Hardhome,” “The Battle of The Bastards,” AND “The Winds of Winter.” He’s a real all-star, and his directing prowess is more than justified at this point.
- David Nutter is almost equally as prolific on the show, having directed a half dozen episodes of this series up to this point. From the closing episodes of Season 5 to “Mhysa,” Nutter has been a big influence on this show since its sophomore season. But by far his biggest claim to fame is the fact that he directed “The Rains of Castamere,” thus becoming the man who gave us the spectacular Red Wedding sequence. What more could he need to prove his bonafides?
- The final directing duo of Season 8 should be pretty familiar as well: creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The pair don’t often direct episodes of the show (they have a lot more things to worry about, after all), but were the ones behind the camera on “Two Swords” and “Walk of Punishment.” Neither are exactly heavy hitting episodes of the show, but were pretty competent episodes. By far the two are the least exciting on the list but, hey, they spent a decade of their life on the thing. Seems fair to let them helm its final moments.
At this point, it’s unclear just how the directing schedule will work out, although considering that only six episodes remain, I would gander that each director will handle two episodes each. THR also confirms that Benioff and Weiss will be helming the final episode of the show, although that was to be assumed.
But, overall, I’m pretty pleased with the choices. Nutter and Sapochnik’s are both pros, and I’m happy they will get the chance to close out the show in style. Really, my only disappointment comes from who WON’T get an episode to direct. People like Neil Marshall and Michelle MacLaren would have been great to have come back one more time, and as unlikely as it would be simply due to the timing, seeing the name of Season 6 MVP Matt Shakman on this list would have been really cool. I mean, need I remind you what he delivered with his first time at bat?
Anyways, complaining about these directors is like looking a gift horse in the mouth and, at the end of the day, there were only so many slots to go around. The fact that the amount of directors who I would have been pleased to see helm the season is so long really only speaks to the fine roster of people the series has been able to amass in the past decade.
Game of Thrones’ final season does not yet have a premiere date, but is rumored to be set for sometime in 2019.