If there wasn’t enough mystery surrounding the next season of Game of Thrones, now there’s a veteran of ABC’s Lost joining the show too. Below is the list of directors for the sixth season of HBO’s acclaimed fantasy hit. Three of the names are Thronesveterans, and two are newcomers to the series. Once again, each will helm two episodes. Here is the Thrones shooting plan:
— Jeremy Podeswa (Episodes 1 & 2): A veteran of Showtime’s Tudors and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Podeswa is returning to Thrones for the second year in a row. In season 5, he directed two episodes from the middle of the season, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” and “Kill the Boy.”
— Daniel Sackheim (3 & 4): Sackheim is new to Thrones with a long list of credits going back to being an associate producer on 1980s classic Miami Vice. He’s directed episodes of several Fox shows (The X-Files, Lie to Me, House) and most recently directed six episodes of FX’s The Americans.
— Jack Bender (5 & 6): An intriguing new name, Bender is familiar to fans of ABC’s Lost, having directed a whopping 38 episodes of the series, including many of the show’s premieres and finales. He’s also helmed episodes of CBS’ Under the Dome, TNT’s The Last Ship and Fox’s Alcatraz.
— Mark Mylod (7 & 8): Mylod is a premium cable veteran of shows like Showtime’s Shameless and HBO’s Entourage. He directed the third and fourth episode of season 5, “High Sparrow” and “Sons of the Harpy.”
— Miguel Sapochnik (9 &10): This name will likely cause some speculation. Sapochnik really earned his GoT stripes by helming the stunning “Hardhome” episode last season, featuring a half-hour battle sequence with Jon Snow, the Wildlings and the White Walkers’ undead army. He also directed the seventh episode of the season, “The Gift.” That Sapochnik is helming the penultimate episode and the season 6 finale might suggest we’re in for another epic battle climax given his “Hardhome” acclaim.
All the directors will surely be sworn to secrecy on the upcoming season, which is expected to be the first year that Throneslargely extends beyond the storyline in George R.R. Martin’s published novels.
If you’re wondering why each director films two back-to-back episodes, it’s due to the uniquely complex nature of the show that makes Thrones an extremely time-intensive directing gig. Various scenes from each episode could shoot weeks or even months apart, and in different countries too—so filming just one episode covers a large block of time that is most efficiently used for a second, and largely concurrent, Thrones assignment.
“When my agent called and said, ‘These are the dates,’ I said ‘No, you are wrong. It’s not possible,’” Bender recently told THR after his season 6 participation was leaked. “But that’s how long it takes. You’re overlapping with another director. There are two full units. You are there for a long time.”