House Of The Dragon Co-Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik Exits The Series Ahead Of Season 2

It's said that when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die because there is no middle ground. But it appears that when you play in the "House of the Dragon," you exit before you burn out.

As we just learned from The Hollywood Reporter, co-showrunner and director Miguel Sapochnik is stepping down from his role on the hit HBO fantasy drama after only two episodes have been made available to the public. According to THR's sources, Sapochnik is allegedly exiting after a grueling three years of production to bring "House of the Dragon" to life. The series' co-creator Ryan Condal will now act as a sole showrunner, and will continue working in close proximity with co-creator George R.R. Martin. Sapochnik will remain an executive producer through the rest of the series, and has entered an exclusive first-look deal with HBO for new projects.

"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 to THR. To fill the void left by Sapochnik, "Game of Thrones" veteran Alan Taylor has been brought on to direct and executive produce throughout season 2. Sapochnik had admitted before the show debuted that he was reluctant to revisit the world of GRRM, saying, "I'm never doing Thrones again." He's been extremely gracious and diplomatic through it all, so there thankfully doesn't seem to be any bad blood behind the scenes worthy of an industry Red Wedding.

'This precious series could not be in safer hands'

As part of his exit announcement, Sapochnik said, "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 also said that he is "deeply comforted" with the knowledge of Alan Taylor's joining of the project. "I believe this precious series could not be in safer hands," he said. "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."

Alan Taylor is a mainstay at HBO, having worked on "Six Feet Under," "Sex and the City," "The Sopranos," "Deadwood," "Oz," "Boardwalk Empire," and "Game of Thrones," in addition to directing "The Many Saints of Newark." Taylor said that returning to the world of Westeros will be "a huge undertaking," but that he's "looking forward to the challenge." Taylor is responsible for directing some of the biggest episodes of "Game of Thrones," including the season 2 episode "Valar Morghulis" and the penultimate episode of season 7, "Beyond the Wall," which nabbed him an Emmy nomination. 

"House of the Dragon" has yet to announce an anticipated start date for filming season 2, but it's likely that we won't see the results of Taylor's inclusion until sometime in 2023 at the earliest.