HBO may have confirmed that Game of Thrones will end in 2018 after Season 8, but Northern Ireland’s film industry is already planning for a post-Thrones world.
The government backed agency Northern Ireland Screen has been preparing for the end of the series for some time now, and their job to develop the filming industry here in NI has been made easier as a result of Game of Thrones’ global success.
NI Screen CEO Richard Williams recently talked to BBC News about the series coming to an end: “By the time Game of Thrones leaves Northern Ireland, it will have been on the ground here for 10 years. That’s a very long time in our game.”
The multi-award winning HBO series will leave a formidable legacy in terms of the film and TV industry, returning £146 million to the NI economy over the last 6 seasons. Not only has the show drawn tourists from across the world due to the numerous GoT filming locations, it has built long-term infrastructure for the film industry in the form of Titanic Studios where many of Game of Thrones interior scenes are shot.
Williams told BBC News, “Belfast Harbour are in the process of building studios on the North Foreshore, extending the capacity beyond Game of Thrones. When it leaves, it leaves all of the knowledge, it leaves all of the support companies. There have been post-production companies, casting, extras companies, catering companies, and lighting and construction.”
Game of Thrones has laid the ground for massive future investment and Williams is confident NI’s filming industry will have more opportunities in the wake of the series.
He said: “They are all here, and there’s not a significant buyer in Los Angeles that doesn’t know that Game of Thrones was made here. They know that capacity is going to come to the market, and they will be interested.”
And if the spin-off series rumours are anything to go by, there will be enough GoT to go around for a few years yet. Hooray!