For Game of Thrones, spoilers are the real enemy, and HBO has a devious plan to combat this deadly adversary: fake news. Multiple endings of episodes will be scripted and filmed to confuse anyone trying to spoil the show.

What Happened

The Morning Call reports that on September 6, during a speaking engagement at Moravian College in Pennsylvania, HBO’s President of Programming, Casey Bloys, said, “when you’re shooting something, people know.” The practical workaround is simple: “They’re going to shoot multiple versions so that there’s no real definitive answer until the end.”

The show has a long history of various leaks, set details, and even entire accidental episode airings that spoil the story before it airs. So, in an effort to avoid spoilers, HBO is planning to film multiple versions of the ending.

Fans often creep near active sets during production, snapping pictures from afar in places like Belfast, Ireland. Set photos have spoiled things like the reunion of the Stark sisters and Arya encountering Nymeria months before Season 7 aired.

Even more pressing problems come from leaked plot details that spoiled an ice dragon’s creation in Season 7. Hackers have also leaked key details before. But now, if there are multiple endings, things will be harder to spoil.

Viserion has become an undead ice dragon.
Viserion has become an undead ice dragon.

What It Means

In theory, this plan should render spoilers from set photos and script leaks pointless when it comes to the series finale, even if hackers get their hands on footage or information. There’ll be multiple versions of the story. People at HBO could conceivably leak fake info just to throw people off.

A torrent of set photos, leaks, and other kinds of spoilers are still bound to hit the internet during and after production, but we’ll have no way of knowing which scenes take place during the finale and which occur earlier in the season. In theory, pretty much any scene filmed for Game of Thrones Season 8 might turn out to be fake.

So, if anybody is looking for story spoilers, paying attention to any sort of leak or set photo becomes pointless — unless a hacker discovers documents labele “THIS IS THE REAL ONE.”

Any number of potentially leaked scripts or scene details could be completely fake — or they might not. Only one canonical version will air, and not even the actors will know how everything ends until it airs.

Not even Bran Stark knows what this all means.
Not even Bran Stark knows what this all means.

What’s Next

Chances are high that the hackers threatening HBO with leaks and the photographers camping out at Game of Thrones set locations will keep doing what they’re doing. We’ll probably still get various bits of information during and after the production phase — but some of it will inevitably expose contradictions. It might just put an end to Game of Thrones spoiler culture altogether.

In this way, HBO is taking control over the spoiler culture surrounding its most popular program, and whether you want to know or not, there’s no way you’ll know who lives and who dies in the Season 8 finale.

Production for Game of Thrones Season 8 is slated to begin in October and could last until August 2018, so Season 8 probably won’t air until 2019.


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