We’ve barely had time to recover from the epic conclusion to Season 6, but HBO are already getting ready to start work on Season 7. Announced via EW, the list of directors for next year has been revealed, and it’s a shorter one than normal, with one big returnee and a notable absence as well.
Alan Taylor is the biggest name on the list, most because it will mark his return to the show for the first time since the Season 2 finale. It’s easy to be wary given that since leaving Thrones he’s directed Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys, both of which were rather mishandled, but at the same time he’s an Emmy-winning director who worked on a number of episodes of The Sopranos, and gave us Baelor, an all time great Game of Thrones episode.
The other names are a little less surprising, including Jeremy Podeswa, who directed the Season 6 premiere, and the Jon Snow resurrection episode Home, and Mark Mylod, who this year gave us The Broken Man and No One (two of the weaker episodes of Season 6, but not down to the direction in fairness – if anything, his episodes looked particularly gorgeous).
The sole newcomer is Matt Shakman. Best known for directing 39 episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, he represents something of a left-field choice, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The obvious omission, meanwhile, is that of Miguel Sapochnik. He’s directed four episodes of the show, and three of them are among the series’ very best: Hardhome, Battle of the Bastards, and The Winds of Winter. Hopefully it’s just a break and he can return in a big way for the eight and final season – and maybe bring David Nutter and Michelle MacLaren along with him.
Of course, the other thing of note here is the fact that there are only four names, rather than the usual five (with two episodes each) they’ve used recently. That fits with it being a shorter season, which is expected to be around seven episodes (with 13 left in total), though plans are still yet to be confirmed.