'Game of Thrones' director in charge of 'Battle of the Bastards' coming back for season eight
Game of Thrones' second to last episode in season six, Battle of the Bastards, was – for lack of better words and self control – totally f**king nuts. The battle scene that gives the episode its title was one of the most intense of the entire show, and rivals even some of the best blockbuster war movies. I guarantee everyone who watches it will hold their breath and clutch at the edges of the couch they're about to fall off with sweaty palms.
It was one of the most expensive episodes to make, having to borrow a few millions from budgets of other episodes in the season to pull it off. It involved 600 crew members, 500 extras, 70 real-life horses, 4 whole camera crews and 25 shooting days. Just check out the making of video here to get an idea of how insane it was to shoot – and this is only really one scene in an entire episode:
The episode was nominated for many different industry awards, and the director of the episode, Miguel Sapochnik, deservedly took them home. He won Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series at the 69th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards, and an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
Sapochnik directed three other episodes of Game of Thrones, including the similarly battle-heavy Hardhome, as well as The Winds of Winter and The Gift. Three of them are in IMDb's top four highest rated episodes of Game of Thrones (ranked by users), and it's no surprise that Battle of the Bastards is number one, by a way.
So fans will be close to wetting themselves when they hear that Sapochnik might be coming back to film the next season. Game of Thrones' cinematographer, Fabian Wagner, shared a selfie on his Instagram account that hinted at the news:
"Back on Game of Thrones for prep of the final season and the team is back together. Good times even though winter is already here," read the caption. It was followed by the hashtags #gameofthrones, #setlife and a few crew names, including #miguelsapochnik.
Wagner worked on all four of Sapochnik's Game of Thrones episodes as director of photography. Caroline Alderson (another hashtag) was on the crew for Battle of the Bastards and Hardome as Sapochnik's assistant. Joe Bauer is a visual effects supervisor, and Steve Kullback a visual effects producer.
They've all worked on the same episodes before, so it's likely their reunion is going to produce another impressive (possibly battle-filled) episode with the same striking visuals and effects as the other episodes. HBO hasn't confirmed any directors they'll be working with for season 8, but Wagner's selfie is a pretty convincing clue.
Sapochnik didn't direct any season 7 episodes, so it's great to see him potentially return for the final season. It's also interesting to note that the four episodes he directed came in consecutive pairs: episodes 7 and 8 of season 5, and episodes 9 and 10 of season 6. Maybe he'll be directing the final two episodes of season 8 as well.
The entire series has been leading up to what season seven foreshadows as an inevitably huge battle of man versus wight, and everyone is hopeful the producers have invited Sapochnik and his powerful battle sequence directorial skills to tackle the filming of the Great War.
As Jon Snow said at the parley meeting in King's Landing: "There is only one war that matters. The Great War. And it is here."