'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Is Missing One Very Important Character

Winter has arrived in Westeros, but the Night King may be missing in action when Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres this April. A full cast list of the first episode of the show’s final season leaked this week, and while it’s full of surprising characters we didn’t expect to see again, one major absence may be even more telling.

Vladimir Furdik, the actor who plays the Night King, isn’t included in the cast list of Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1. Considering that this leak comes directly from HBO’s website, this pretty much confirms that the biggest threat to humanity on the show won’t appear in the season premiere.

Considering that Season 7 ended with the Night King and his new pet dragon blasting through the Wall that had kept them out of Westeros, it’s surprising to learn that Season 8 won’t pick up immediately where Game of Thrones left off.

This suggests we could be getting the typical season premiere, which mostly reminds us what everyone is up to without moving the plot forward much. That’s fine during a normal Game of Thrones Season, but with only six episodes left it would be a bit of a let down at this point.

It’s also possible we could see the undead army from a distance as they rush past the destroyed Wall. That would definitely give the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere a sense of urgency without actually showing the Night King onscreen.

Then again, maybe Game of Thrones plans to purposefully hide the Night King from us until the big final battle to build up tension. After all, everything has been leading to this final confrontation, and we know it’s going to be epic. Previous leaks revealed that the battle took 55 nights to film, so we’re expecting something on a bigger scale than this show has ever delivered.

Even bigger than the Battle of the Bastards?

The Night King himself also confirmed the scope of the scene. Speaking last December, Furdik teased an epic Game of Thrones battle.

“In the third episode of the last season, there is a battle that the creators intended to be a historic moment in television,” Furdik said, adding that “almost the full episode will be about the battle, it will take about one hour.”

That last bit lines up with more recent leaks revealing the runtime for each of Game of Thrones’ final six episodes. But the more interesting detail here is that the battle will take place in Episode 3, suggesting it won’t be the final thing we see and at least some human characters will survive.

This also means that even if the Night King doesn’t make an appearance in the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere, we won’t have to wait that much longer for the the terrifying villain to show up onscreen for at least one final, epic showdown.

Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 14 for its eight and final season.

Media via HBO