‘House of the Dragon’ Co-Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik to Exit Ahead of Season 2

Ryan Condal is now the lone showrunner after sharing duties with the director for Season 1

Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen and Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyrs Targaryen in "House of the Dragon" Episode 1 (HBO)
Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen and Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyrs Targaryen in "House of the Dragon" Episode 1 (HBO)

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon” has emerged as a certified blockbuster hit — but the epic fantasy series must do battle in Season 2 without co-showrunner, director and executive producer Miguel Sapochnik.

Sapochnik is stepping away from the series, but entering into a first-look deal with HBO to develop new projects and will remain listed as an executive producer for the remainder of the series. Fellow Season 1 co-showrunner and EP Ryan Condal will assume the top creative role and continue consulting with co-creator and author George R.R. Martin. “Game of Thrones” veteran director Alan Taylor will be brought on as a director and EP for multiple Season 2 episodes.

“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,’” Sapochnik said in a 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. 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.”

Taylor, an Emmy-winner, is known for directing popular episodes of “GoT” such as “The Prince of Winterfell,” “Valar Morghulis,” “Beyond the Wall” and more. He’s an HBO mainstay with credits that include “Oz,” “Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos,” “Six Feet Under,” “Rome,” “Big Love,” “Bored to Death” and “Boardwalk Empire.” He also directed the feature “The Many Saints of Newark.”

“It’s a pleasure and an honor to be back at HBO, immersing myself in the world of the Targaryens, I look forward to working closely with Ryan as ‘House of the Dragon’ grows into its second season,” Taylor said in a statement. “Ryan, Miguel and George have launched an extraordinary story, in a rich and fascinating world. Returning to Westeros will be a huge undertaking and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

HBO added: “Miguel Sapochnik has done amazing work on the first season of ‘House of the Dragon,’ establishing its signature look and feel. This series simply could not have come together the way it did without him. While we would have loved to have Miguel continue in the same role, we are thrilled to have his ongoing collaboration in this new creative capacity. Looking forward, we’ve had a decades-long relationship with Alan Taylor, and we are delighted to have him join Ryan and rest the talented team.”

In addition to Condal and Martin, Sarah Hess and Jocelyn Diaz will also continue as executive producers, along with Vince Geradis.

The “House of the Dragon” has drawn more than 25 million viewers since its debut, HBO, while the second episode garnered 10 million Sunday night viewers. Unsurprisingly, the network has renewed the series for a second season.