Just a little more than two weeks after HBO’s hotly anticipated “Game of Thrones” spinoff premiered, co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik has announced his departure from “House of the Dragon” in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
“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 told the outlet in an article published Wednesday.
“I am so proud of what we accomplished with season one and overjoyed by the enthusiastic reaction of our viewers,” he added. “It was incredibly tough to decide to move on, but I know that it is the right choice for me, personally and professionally.”
The eagerly awaited series arrived three years after the contentious “Game of Thrones” finale and saw nearly 10 million people tune in on Aug. 21, according to Variety. The first episode, which Sapochnik directed himself, delivered the largest viewership for an original series premiere in HBO history.
While ratings for that episode would go on to reach a staggering 25 million in its first week, the initial figures already dwarfed those of other recent HBO launches, such as the second season of “Euphoria” and third season of “Succession”
HBO officially renewed “Dragon” shortly after the premiere, and ratings continued to climb for the second episode. But Sapochnik has now unexpectedly left the reins in the hands of co-showrunner Ryan Condal while remaining as an executive producer.
Alan Taylor, who directed seven “Game of Thrones” episodes, will join as an executive producer and direct several episodes for the second season of “Dragon.” Sapochnik told The Hollywood Reporter that he was “deeply comforted” by this and concluded his statement by wishing Condal and company all the best.
Co-creator George RR Martin, who authored the “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels on which both “Thrones” and “Dragon” are based, will continue to work with Condal on the show. For Taylor, the shake-up will mark his first return to the material since he directed the divisive “Thrones” finale.
“It’s a pleasure and an honor to be back at HBO, immersing myself in the world of the Targaryens,” Taylor told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to the family at the center of the franchise.
“I look forward to working closely with Ryan as House of the Dragon grows into its second season. … Returning to [the fictional continent] Westeros will be a huge undertaking and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
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