HBO Renews “Game of Thrones” For Season 7

In the least surprising news of the year, HBO has officially renewed its hit fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” for a seventh season – just three days before the highly anticipated sixth season premiere.

The announcement however doesn’t mention how many episodes will be included and HBO can’t confirm the number at this time. Creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss suggested last week there could be as little as thirteen episodes left to produce for the series as a whole after the sixth season – those thirteen would be split between a seventh and eighth season.

Writer-producer Bryan Cogman has spoken some more about the sixth season, saying the tone will be much lighter than the fifth. He tells EW:

“Season 5 was about taking characters to the brink – and for certain characters like Stannis and Jon, destroying them altogether. We left our central characters in huge moments of crisis and at their lowest points last year. All of them are now trying to rebuild their lives. Season 5 was in many ways our darkest. This season is still very dark, very intense, but it’s very much a next act.”

This many seasons in, you have the chance as a storyteller to draw on the past in a way we haven’t been able to do before. There are a lot of thematic and explicit callbacks to season 1, and the seasons that preceded this one, and even to events that preceded them – in terms of the mythology. There’s also a trend that began in season 5 and continues even more so in this season of worlds colliding, with characters meeting in hopefully very unexpected ways.

Seasons 2-4 were about the expansion of this world; seasons 5 and 6 are about contracting. Characters who were rivals, and in some cases enemies, are being forced to work together, which makes for a lot of juicy dramatic tension. And then there’s the obvious answer in terms of the size of the show. We say this every year, but it’s true – this is the biggest season of Game of Thrones. It took me by surprise, just how big it is – and I helped write it!.”

The new season kicks off on HBO on April 24th.