“House of the Dragon” co-showrunner and director Miguel Sapochnik has officially left the show. It’s a prequel series that takes place almost 2 centuries before the events of “Game of Thrones,” which Sapochnik also directed/executive produced. “House of the Dragon” focuses on the internal war for succession within House Targaryen.
Sapochnik served as co-showrunner, alongside Ryan Condal. While season 1 just came to a close in October, Sapochnik has been developing this series for 3 years. Clearly, this is a property he is very invested in and his departure probably wasn’t a decision to be made lightly.
The reason for his departure was due to HBO not wanting to hire Sapochnik’s wife, Alexis Raben. “A protracted standoff” over “her involvement in the show” was the catalyst. Raben played Xela in one episode of “Game of Thrones,” and Talya, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke), in “House of the Dragon,” which she is also a producer on. So, logically Sapochnik wanted her to be on the production team again for season 2.
HBO denied her the job, claiming she didn’t have “enough experience.” So either the network blanked about her involvement on season 1, or they didn’t think she did a good enough job to keep the position for the upcoming season. Things reportedly got so intense, a mediator was brought in to de-escalate the situation. But the result was Sapochnik deciding to depart the show. He also fired his agents at WME to move over to CAA, with his wife.
Fellow “Game of Thrones” alumni Alan Taylor will be taking over as co-showrunner and director. Currently, HBO has not commented on Sapochnik’s departure.
“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,” Sapochnik said in a statement. “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.”
Season 1 is currently streaming on HBO Max, as well as all 8 seasons of “Game of Thrones.”