'Game of Thrones' season 7 premiere date pushed to summer 2017

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“Game of Thrones” is approaching the end of its epic story as the season 6 finale saw Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) sailing to Westeros to fight for the Iron Throne. The season ender made fans very excited for the next installment, however, it has been confirmed that viewers will have to wait a bit longer before the show returns to HBO.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO released details of the upcoming season on Monday, July 18, including an episode count and filming locations. Season 7 will consist of seven episodes down from its usual 10. The new season will premiere in summer 2017, which is a departure from its typical March/April schedule.

Production will reportedly begin this summer and will be based in Northern Ireland just like in season 6, and other locations to be featured in season 7 include Spain and Iceland. Shooting locations in Spain include Sevilla, Caceres, Almodovar del Rio, Santiponce, Zumaia and Bermeo.

“Now that winter has arrived on ‘Game of Thrones,’ executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt that the storylines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing,” said HBO programming president Casey Bloys in a statement. “Instead of the show’s traditional spring debut, we’re moving to summer to accommodate the shooting schedule.”

The announcement comes after Weiss and Benioff said that production will start later than expected as they are waiting for the right weather to reflect the “winter is here” theme as seen in the season 6 finale.

It appears that pre-production is underway as Icelandic news site Visir (via Independent.co.uk) is reporting that the show will film sometime in the country in January. Representatives for the cable network are said to have already met with locals to discuss filming. The website claims that six main characters will film in Iceland, including Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), among others.

“Game of Thrones” returns to HBO in summer 2017.