HBO kicked off the week with news that House of the Dragon is officially coming back for a second season. But one of the spinoff’s primary creative team members is leaving Westeros behind. According to The Hollywood Reporter, co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik is stepping down from the series ahead of season 2.
Sapochnik split the showrunning duties on House of the Dragon with Ryan Condal. He also directed the show’s pilot, which became the most-watched premiere in HBO history when it debuted almost two weeks ago. Sapochnik blamed exhaustion for his departure, but he isn’t leaving HBO anytime soon. THR also shares that he just inked a first-look deal with the network to develop other new projects. The report doesn’t explicitly rule out Sapochnik returning to House of the Dragon as a director at some point. Regardless, he will still be listed as an executive producer.
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Sapochnik has been involved with the Game of Thrones universe since the flagship series’ fifth season, when he directed two episodes that year. He later helmed four additional episodes of the show (including the series finale), and also won an Emmy for directing “Battle of the Bastards” in season 6. However, House of the Dragon marked Sapochnik’s first time filling the role of showrunner and executive producer. In addition to helming the series’ record-breaking pilot, he also directed the sixth and seventh episodes, which will air on September 25 and October 2, respectively.
Condal will now be the sole showrunner on House of the Dragon. Additionally, another Game of Thrones veteran is joining the prequel’s creative team. Alan Taylor, who directed seven episodes of the original series, is coming aboard as a director and executive producer in season 2. Taylor most recently directed The Many Saints of Newark for Warner Bros. and HBO. He also helmed Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys.
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“Working within the Thrones universe for the past few years has been an honor and a privilege, especially spending the last two with the amazing cast and crew of House of the Dragon,” said Sapochnik in a new statement. “I am so proud of what we accomplished with season 1 and overjoyed by the enthusiastic reaction of our viewers. It was incredibly tough to decide to move on, but I know that it is the right choice for me, personally and professionally.”
“As I do so, though, I am deeply comforted to know that Alan will be joining the series,” continued Sapochnik. “He’s someone I’ve known and respected for a long time, and I believe this precious series could not be in safer hands. I am so glad to remain a part of the HBO and House of the Dragon family and, of course, I wish Ryan and his team success and all the best with season 2 and beyond.”
The next episode of House of the Dragon airs this Sunday at 9pm on HBO.
How do you feel about Sapochnik leaving the series? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!
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