House of the Dragon director and co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik has left the series. Sapochnik has reportedly entered into a deal with HBO to develop new projects and will stay on as executive producer for the duration of the series, but his time on House of the Dragon, in which he directed several episodes and was key to the overall direction of the story, is over. In his place will be Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor, who helmed several episodes from seasons 1 and 2 of Thrones, as well as the season 7 episode "Beyond the Wall".
"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 (via THR).
"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."
"It's a pleasure and an honor to be back at HBO, immersing myself in the world of the Targaryens," said Taylor in a separate statement. "I look forward to working closely with Ryan as House of the Dragon grows into its second season. 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."
As co-showrunner alongside Ryan Condal, this departure couldn't be more significant from a creative perspective. His writing and vision helped shape the first season of the show, and he directed the acclaimed premiere episode. Though he's stepping down immediately, he's already directed two more episodes – six and seven – from the first season. Sapochnik also directed some of Game of Thrones' best episodes, including Hardhome, Battle of the Bastards, The Winds of Winter, and The Long Night.
If you need a catch-up (and let's be real, who doesn't?), here's an in-depth explainer on the Targaryen family tree.