Game Of Thrones Season 7 Starts Production

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(Photo: HBO)

It seems like Game of Thrones next season is already well underway. HBO's record-breaking series has officially started production on its seventh season. The second-to-last season quietly started on Monday at its usual production hub in Northern Ireland.

Situated with a shorter episode order, Season 7 will film primarily in the UK before spreading out to additional locales such as Spain and Iceland. The new season will contain just seven episodes as opposed to its usual slate of ten. Directors such as Alan Taylor have already signed on to helm episodes, leaving Game of Thrones to return sometime next summer. Some fans may have noticed the series' return has been pushed back later, and it appears that the decision was made because of the seventh season's size. And, of course, the delay will sadly keep Game of Thrones from any 2017 Emmys nominations. They can probably afford to lose the bid, though, considering Game of Thrones has been nominated for over 110 Emmys since its debut.

Currently, fans know very little about what Season 7 will entail after the series' explosive finale last season. Several surviving characters such as Jon Snow and Arya Stark are expected to return alongside several new faces. Earlier this summer, casting calls leaked online which indicated Game of Thrones was looking for new soldiers who'd likely bolster Jon's forces. And, what's more, Entertainment Weekly reported Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Iris) had been cast in a 'significant role' for Season 7.

Neither HBO nor Jim have said anything about what role the actor will be filling, but fans are speculating the British icon is slated to play a priest. According to the show's leaked cast descriptions, Game of Thrones needs "venerable priest with moral authority and gravitas" who also has a "characterful face." However, the call sheet did indicate the role would only shoot for a week, leading some to believe Jim's role might not be so holy. However, fans must kept in mind that these call sheets often misrepresent information to distract viewers from the show's real plans.

Game of Thrones fans were given a sneak-peek of Season 7 when Maisie Williams shared her thoughts on the show's new script. The actress took to Twitter, telling fans she'd "just finished reading season 7" and stressed that "nothing will prepare you for this." And, considering her last tweet on the matter simply read "holy BALLS," fans are expecting big things for next season.

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Game of Thrones will return to HBO for its penultimate season sometime next summer.