Jack Bender, the director for episodes 5 and 6 of Game of Thrones season 6 was interviewed by Vanity fair recently and was asked if he is coming back for future seasons. In his reply, he may have confirmed that we will have shortened seventh season:
“I don’t know the answer to that. They’re only doing seven [episodes], and they’ve got their regulars who have done it forever. I know that I had a wonderful experience doing the show and I know that Dan and David are thrilled with the shows, but I’ve got this series I’m mounting for the beginning of 2017 based on Stephen King’s trilogy of books, starting with Mr. Mercedes. Brendan Gleeson is playing the lead, which I’m thrilled about, Anton Yelchin, and I’m in the process of mounting that. I haven’t been asked yet and I also don’t know what their schedule is going to be. But under the best of circumstances, schedule and everything, I had a great experience doing the show. If available and they wanted me to, I would love to do that.”
Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have already hinted at a shortened final two seasons because they feel there is only 13 hours of story left after season 6 and as the series has progressed it has become increasingly difficult for them to produce 10 episodes in an year. Game of Thrones cast had also echoed the same sentiments recently.