It’s been a full 466 days since Game of Thrones’ Season 7 finale, which was the last time we got any new footage from the show. Now, HBO has finally released its first teaser for the upcoming final season. Brace yourself and hit the play button above.
Yeah, so this 39-second clip doesn’t contain any new footage. Or much of anything, really. It shows a CGI rendering of fire and ice colliding around what appears to be somewhere south of the Neck region of Westeros. A wolf and a dragon freeze, and a lion catches on fire — you can read into those details as bits of potential foreshadowing, but there isn’t too much to parse. In fact, the short clip doesn’t even include a premiere date for the new season, which is slated for April 2019. Huge bummer!
But is it really a disappointment? As HBO’s promotional campaign for the next season of Thrones gets going, they have released virtually no new footage whatsoever—even the billboards that have been popping up use photos and stills from past seasons. But that may be the best move for them going forward.
There’s no reason to let fans know too much before the season drops. Before Season 7, a Reddit user leaked virtually the entire plot in October. And sure, that wasn’t the fault of HBO or of any trailer, but the footage that was released was enough for Thrones experts, like our own Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion, to pick out many of the major plot points through shot-by-shot breakdowns. This obsessive fan base is going to pore over every frame of new footage, and unless HBO pulls a Marvel and starts lying in the trailers, fans will spoil things for themselves.
What’s the point of all this? Thrones is the most popular TV show on the planet and the last piece of monoculture we have. You are reading this blog, which means you are going to watch this season. And at least for me, I couldn’t be happier to go into April knowing absolutely nothing about the upcoming season.
This latest clip mirrors a teaser HBO released last March — 90 seconds that had no new footage. Two months later, the first real trailer dropped. If the run-up to this season follows the same timeline, the real trailer for the final installment should be expected around February 2019. If Thrones doesn’t release a sneak preview during the Super Bowl, it’s likely they aren’t releasing any new footage at all.
And that would be their best promotional move. The show’s best trailer before last season was the “Long Walk” promo that was also released in March before last season. It contained shots of Cersei, Dany, and Jon, but no new footage:
The best previews for Thrones are those that play with the themes and ideas of the show, not those that start dropping clues for the internet to dissect. There is no footage that could build my hype for Season 8 like no footage whatsoever. Thrones fans don’t need much of an appetizer to whet their appetite.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.