Game of Thrones fans hoping co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were ready to answer for some of the more divisive twists from the show’s final season will have to wait a little bit longer. Despite being initially scheduled to appear on the Game of Thrones cast reunion panel at Comic-Con in San Diego on Friday, Benioff and Weiss will no longer participate.
Benioff and Weiss aren’t the only previously announced participants to exit the panel. Director Miguel Sapochnik and actors Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei) have also been removed from the roster.
Fortunately, numerous stars are still set to appear at the panel, including Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Conleth Hill (Varys), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), and Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark).
The news comes just one day after the Game of Thrones final season set an Emmys all-time record with 32 total nominations, including nods for Benioff, Weiss, and Sapochnik.
Game of Thrones‘ highly anticipated conclusion rankled numerous fans, who took issue with the way the show sped through storylines and handled Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) ultimate fate, among other decisions. Outrage online grew so loud as the final episodes aired that a fan petition asking for Game of Thrones Season 8 to be rewritten by “competent writers” received more than 1.5 million signatures.
Even some of the show’s cast took shots at the series. Actress Lena Headey, who was nominated by the Television Academy on Tuesday for her performance as Cersei, said she “wanted a better death” and “was kind of gutted” by how her character’s demise played out. (Cersei died in Jamie’s arms when the Red Keep collapsed as a result of Dany’s genocidal turn on the citizens of King’s Landing, another major source of angst for fans.)
“I invested as a viewer and I have my favorite characters. And I’ve got a few of my own gripes. But I haven’t sat down [drunkenly] with David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] yet,” Headey said to The Guardian.
Hill, who is appearing at Comic-Con, also dinged the show, saying to Entertainment Weekly the “last couple seasons weren’t my favorite” for his character.
Benioff and Weiss, of course, have remained silent about the Game of Thrones finale. But before the season even aired, Weiss told Entertainment Weekly that fan response really did mean a lot to the two men. “We want people to love it. It matters a lot to us. We’ve spent 11 years doing this,” Weiss said. “We also know no matter what we do, even if it’s the optimal version, that a certain number of people will hate the best of all possible versions. There is no version where everybody says, ‘I have to admit, I agree with every other person on the planet that this is the perfect way to do this’ — that’s an impossible reality that doesn’t exist.”
In that same pre-season interview, Benioff joked that he planned on being “very drunk” when the finale aired.