How The New Game of Thrones Season 8 Title Sequence Came To Be
Game of Thrones as a show has kept a lot of things consistent at the production level. Whether it’s the showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss who continue to write a majority of the show’s episodes or the small band of directors it employs from David Nutter to Alik Sakharov to Miguel Sapochnik to Ramin Djawadi scoring, not much has changed as far as the people who set the stage goes. One other constant has been the opening title sequence and where shows often get a facelift, or even come up with varying versions of the opening intro every few seasons, Game of Thrones has kept its title sequence as is for a full seven years.
Viewers were treated to a pleasant surprise though as Game of Thrones presented us with an upgraded title sequence ahead of the Season 8 premier. HBO has been kind enough to release the entire intro online in full HD (that’s 1080P) and now, the people behind the intro have opened up about their motivations for creating a new one.
Around June of 2017, Dan and David and Greg [Spence, a Game of Thrones producer] came by and said, ‘We want to change everything. Brand new. Let’s do it all over again’. We’ve been dying to give this thing a facelift, because we’ve been looking at the same thing for almost nine years.Kirk Shantani on wanting to re-do the intro for a very long time
The man behind the credits Kirk Shintani spoke about the process in an interview to Vulture. Explaining the need for a new intro besides everyone wanting to see something fresh, Shintani explained how intimate and up-close the final season is when it comes to examining its characters and they wanted that to be conveyed through the vast interior shots of Winterfell and King’s Landing. “This season is a lot more intimate and grounded. “Narratively, they are doing a lot more than just flying from location to location. There’s a lot more story to it,” said Shantani.
Much of the show has been about getting to King’s Landing and ending up on the Iron Throne. Accordingly, creators Kirk Shintani and Angus Wall of Elastic (the company who made the Season 1 intro that has largely stayed since) started with the Wall and made their way down south to Winterfell and eventually King’s Landing. However, the idea to navigate the interior structures came from showrunners Benioff & Weiss.
The biggest thing for them was to start at the Wall. From there, the new credits move southward before finally arriving in Kings Landing, with the Iron Throne unfurling at the end of the Red Keep. The show has been inexorably moving towards the Iron Throne. Being able to go inside allowed us to actually end the title sequence at the throne.Angus Wall on lighting up the interiors
The duo also talked about the challenge of animating the spaces from within while still maintaining their respective identities as they constructed themselves. Lighting also proved to be an ardous task, with Angus Wall explaining that the crypts of Winterfell were entirely torch lit. Also of interest was the astrolabe, a sphere within which the world of Game of Thrones rests, as opposed to traditional earth where so much of the horizon leads to space. Interestingly, setting it within a sphere freed the animators from the challenge or burden of imagining and then depicting what lies beyond.
The entire piece is a fascinating read that delves into some of the ideas that came about during conceiving the piece in Season 1, with most of them having informed key decisions about the Season 8 intro. Plus the creators get into the technicalities of animation as well which all makes for a good read.
What did you think about the new animated sequence? Do you like it, love it, or do you prefer the older one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 is now available for streaming on HBO. Episode 2 will air next week on Sunday, April 21, 2019. Look forward to our review on Appocalypse, as we reviewed the first one.