Although HBO only just announced the release date for Game of Thrones season 7 (in a particularly ridiculous manner), we already have some bad news about season 8. When we originally reported that the 8th season was being delayed in renewal because of a possible change in the number of episodes, wishful thinking took over and we assumed it meant the season would be longer than usual. That is apparently not the case; the show’s creators confirmed the final season will be only 6 episodes long in a recent SXSW panel.

The recently announced 7th season is also shorter than prior seasons, with only 7 episodes. The show has reached the end of the books’ plotline, so things are getting sticky for the show’s creators. The final season is only in outline phase right now, and we’re sure George R.R. Martin is involved in the plot planning.

The seventh season will debut on July 16, and will apparently include a cameo from Ed Sheeran.

[via The Verge]