The final season of Game of Thrones came in with a bang, but left with a very fizzled out dragon whimper. To say fans were disappointed with Season 8 as a whole — especially the last half of it — would be an extreme understatement. That’s why fans were super confused, but also semi-pumped, when it was announced that the creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were going to be on a panel at 2019 San Diego Comic-Con come July 19. However, it was just announced that the Game of Thrones showrunners dropped out of Comic-Con and fans are pretty sure they know why.
Weiss and Benioff aren’t the only members of GoT to drop out of the panel either. Deadline reported on Wednesday, July 17, that actors Iain Glen (Ser Jorah) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), along with director and executive producer Miguel Sapochnik, wouldn’t be attending after all, either. Bustle reached out to Benioff, Weiss, Glen, Emmanuel, and Sapochnik about why they had to cancel their appearance, but did not hear back at the time of publication. According to Variety, HBO stated that Benioff’s and Weiss’ absences are due to "production and schedule conflicts," but had "no further comment."
That said, there are still plenty of big names coming to the panel to quell the crowd, including a ton of fan favorites. Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) will be in attendance, hot off her win against the Night King. Also there will be Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran), John Bradley (Samwell Tarley), Liam Cunningham (Davos), and Conleth Hill (Varys). Bran might might be the only point of contention for some fans, and many might lament about Jaime’s death. But none of these actors wrote the stuff, so they should escape the convention relatively free from the hate with which fans were gearing up to green Weiss and Benioff.
When the news dropped in June that Weiss and Benioff would be there, fans were excited to finally be able to vent their frustrations about the final season out to them IRL. And fans who wouldn’t be in attendance were interested in the mess that might ensue, and no doubt be broadcast on Twitter.
Now that the showrunners have officially dropped out, fans are not happy about it. And some even accused Weiss and Benioff of decided not to go for fear of being confronted by the backlash in person.
In their defense, the backlash against Season 8 has been intense. Some fans even created a petition that called for a GoT Season 8 rewrite. The petition gained nearly 1.7 million signatures (yes, really). And, while Weiss and Benioff have chosen not to respond to the critics publicly, te cast has not been blind to it, with Coster-Waldau calling the Game of Thrones backlash "vicious."
During a recent appearance at Con of Thrones in Nashville, Coster-Waldau addressed fans, saying, “Know that they too read the comments… And it is, even though you sit on your own and go, ‘F*cking stupid writers. Assh*les.’ They really ― like everyone on Game of Thrones, every single person and there are thousands ― we worked our asses off to make the best show we could for the ending.” He also shared that some cast members were personally affected by the online vitriol.
Despite all the fan backlash, the series’ last season made history with 32 Emmy nominations earlier this week, including writing nominations for the showrunners. So even though you probably won’t hear Weiss and Benioff talk to fans about Season 8 at Game Of Thrones‘ final Comic-Con panel, you’ll likely hear some speech from them come September when they undoubtedly win an Emmy. Again.
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