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House of the Dragon’s Miguel Sapochnik is stepping down as co-showrunner

Game of Thrones veteran director Alan Taylor will join the series to replace Sapochnik

Jon Snow from Game of Thrones stands with a sword in his hands while several men on horses charge at him in the Battle of the Bastards episode Image: HBO

Miguel Sapochnik, co-showrunner of House of the Dragon and frequent Game of Thrones franchise director, will leave House of the Dragon at the end of season 1. Writer and executive producer Ryan Condal will continue to serve as showrunner heading into season 2 — which the show was picked up for last week.

Sapochnik will be replaced on the series by Alan Taylor, who will likely fill a very similar role to that of Sapochnik, except that he won’t be a showrunner. Instead, Taylor will take on the roles of executive producer and director, much like Sapochnik did. And like Sapochnik, Taylor has quite a bit of experience in this universe, having directed several episodes of the original Game of Thrones, including “Beyond the Wall” and the last two chapters of the first season. Taylor has also directed several movies, including Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys, but at least his Thrones episodes are pretty good.

Sapochnik will remain an executive producer for the series, and has a first-look deal with HBO on future projects. Along with three episodes of House of the Dragon and classic Game of Thrones episodes like “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards,” Sapochnik has also directed movies such as Finch and Repo Men. Sapochnik will leave House of the Dragon after having worked on the show for nearly three years, helping to shepherd it through the development process along with Condal and author George R.R. Martin.

Sapochnik’s departure shouldn’t come as a particularly huge surprise, especially given how much of his time over the last several years has been devoted to the Game of Thrones franchise. In fact, Sapochnik was initially hesitant to officially join the team on House of the Dragon, despite helping to develop the show. While Condal eventually convinced him to come aboard, it seems that arrangement was only for a limited time, to help get the show started on the right foot.

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