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House Of The Dragon Is Already Making A Big Change Behind The Scenes

House of the Dragon cast
(Image credit: HBO)

House of the Dragon wasted no time in making history for HBO after the very first episode aired, and the network quickly made the official order for a second season. Now, however, the show is going through a big change behind the scenes after just two episodes have released. Director and co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik – who was already a big name for Game of Thrones fans after his work on the original series – is leaving the prequel. 

Sapochnik served as co-showrunner with Ryan Condal on the first season, and THR reports that he decided to depart after exhausting himself over three years of development and production to make House of the Dragon happen. He is still on board as an executive producer. In a statement regarding his departure, Sapochnik said that it has been "an honor and a privilege" to work within the Game of Thrones universe and House of the Dragon team, then continued:

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. 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.

Miguel Sapochnik confirmed that it was a difficult decision for him to make, but stands by it. He also referred to Alan Taylor, who has come on board House of the Dragon as an executive producer and director. He's slated to helm multiple episodes of the second season, and is a logical choice to help fill the void left by Sapochnik's departure. 

Like Sapochnik, Alan Taylor directed a number of notable episodes of Game of Thrones, including "Baelor" (a.k.a. one of the most game-changing episodes of the series with Ned Stark's tragic end) in Season 1 and "Beyond the Wall" (which delivered the first death of one of Daenerys' dragons) in Season 7. He is also a veteran of HBO beyond the world of Westeros, with directing gigs on The Sopranos and Rome. He even directed The Many Saints of Newark as the prequel movie for The Sopranos

Miguel Sapochnik was key to bringing House of the Dragon to television, and worked closely enough with A Song of Ice and Fire and Fire & Blood's George R.R. Martin to attest to some key book details that the author wanted included. It should be interesting to see if there is any shift in the finished product that fans will notice, but the BTS change won't take effect before the end of Season 1, which has already finished filming. 

HBO also released a statement regarding Miguel Sapochnik's departure, commending him for his "amazing work" in establishing the "signature look and feel" in Season 1 of House of the Dragon, even though the network "would have loved to have Miguel continue in the same role." 

Even though the original co-showrunner won't return in the same role, his legacy will last at House of the Dragon. He directed the series premiere that broke ratings records for HBO, and two episodes have been enough to build the world of Westeros in an era that was never explored in Game of Thrones

You can find new episodes of House of the Dragon on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, or watch them streaming with an HBO Max subscription. They're released on the streaming service simultaneously with the broadcast on the network. For some more viewing options in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.