Fans are gearing up in anticipation as, like winter, House of the Dragon Season 2 is coming.
Filming for the upcoming season started in April and is expected to run through this December. So we have details starting to surface about what fans can anticipate. Here’s what we know so far about the Game of Thrones prequel.
Spoilers ahead for those that haven’t seen season one.
House of the Dragon Season 2 Confirmed
HBO, now MAX, immediately gave House of the Dragon the green light for another season. The show’s premiere received the highest viewership of any original series in HBO history. And the network announced its renewal just after the pilot aired.
HBO Programming Executive Vice President Francesca Orsi praised House of the Dragon and its renewal, saying, “We are beyond proud of what the entire House of the Dragon team has accomplished with season one. Our phenomenal cast and crew undertook a massive challenge and exceeded all expectations, delivering a show that has already established itself as must-see TV.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to continue bringing to life the epic saga of House Targaryen with season two,” Orsi added.
House of the Dragon was also just as critically acclaimed upon its premiere. The show received eight Emmy nominations, including Best Drama Series.
How Many Episodes Will House of the Dragon Season 2 Have?
A major change from the first season was the number of episodes for House of the Dragon Season 2. While season one had 10 episodes, season two will only have eight. Deadline reported back in March that the reason for the shortened season was due to the storyline.
“I hear executive producer-showrunner Ryan Condal working with author/executive producer George R.R. Martin took a step back as season two was being put together to make a big-picture view of the series, which follows Martin’s Fire & Blood and figure out the overall narrative flow, including how to break up the stories season-to-season and what battles to include and when,” said the report.
The report added that MAX “is trying to think long-term instead of season-to-season.” That means a major plot point and a big battle would be moved to season three.
“There are eight wonderful episodes with so much happening in every episode. And we have trouble at times, bringing them down to one hour,” Director Clare Kilner told The Hollywood Reporter this month.
Who from the House of the Dragon Cast Is Returning?
The key cast of House of the Dragon will be reprising their roles for the second season. Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, and Matt Smith will be back as Alicent Hightower, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Prince Daemon Targaryen.
Fabien Frankel is expected to return as Criston Cole, as will Eve Best as Rhaenys Targaryen, Steve Toussain as Corlys Velaryon, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, and Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria.
Tom Glynn-Carney, Ewan Mitchell, and Phia Saban are also expected to return as Aegon II Targaryen, Aemond Targaryen, and Helena Targaryen. Bethany Antonia, Phoebe Campbell, and Harry Collet are also expected to reprise their roles as Baela Targaryen, Rhanea Targaryen, and Jacaerys Velaryon, respectively.
Milly Alcock and Emily Carney, who played the younger versions of Rhaenyra and Alicent will not be returning. However, Condal did not rule out the possibility of them returning in the future.
With departures, there will also be new faces coming on board for House of the Dragon Season 2. Simon Russell Beale will play Ser Simon Strong, Freddie Fox as Ser Gwayne Hightower, Gayle Rankin as Alys Rivers, and Abubakar Salim as Alyn of Hull.
Miguel Sapochnik Steps Down as Co-Showrunner
Behind the scenes, House of the Dragon’s co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik will also be stepping down. In a report by The Hollywood Reporter, Sapochnik is reportedly leaving the show “after pouring an exhausting three years of effort into the Game of Thrones prequel.” Condal will become the sole showrunner of House of the Dragon and work with Martin.
“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,” said Sapochnik in a statement regarding his departure.
What Else to Expect in Season 2?
House of the Dragon Season 2 could see more families in Westeros get involved in the conflict. With season one focusing on the Targaryens, the Hightowers, and the Velaryons, season two might bring in the Starks. In the Game of Thrones series, the Starks played a central part in the story. So could this mean we might see the Starks come up?
In the book House of the Dragon is based on, Fire & Blood, Cregan Stark, the Lord of Winterfell plays a key role. But Condal declined to confirm whether Cregan Stark was already cast or would be included in season two.
“We will cast Cregan Stark at some point, but no comment otherwise,” said Condal.
Condal also revealed how season one set the stage for “a bloody feast to come.”
“I’m really interested in picking up with all those characters that we spent all this time introducing, particularly Rhaenyra and Alicent’s families, and seeing what happens now that we’ve flipped the chessboard over and spilled the pieces on the ground. How do all those react? That’s the story that we tell in season two and beyond,” said Condal.
House of the Dragon Season 2 Release Date Speculation
The ongoing strikes by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA halted most productions. However, the strikes do not affect the House of the Dragon as filming is underway. HBO, now MAX, announced in April that filming continues for the GOT prequel.
Production was able to continue as the scripts were done before the strike. Additionally, filming is taking place in the UK. The British actors union, Equity, also prohibits its members from going on strike because of British laws that may lead to a lawsuit.
Production of HOTD, which is going by the working title “Red Gun,” is taking place in the Warner Bros. studios in Hertfordshire in the UK. It will later move to Ceceras, Spain.
Author George R.R. Martin also explained the continuation of filming House of the Dragon despite the current strikes. In a blog post, he noted the restrictions of the British laws, stating:
“HOTD is shot mostly in London (and a little bit in Wales, Spain, and various other locations), which is why filming has continued. The actors are members of the British Union, Equity, not SAG-AFTRA, and though Equity strongly supports their American cousins (they have a big rally planned to show their support), British law forbids them from staging a sympathy strike. If they walk, they have no protection against being fired for breach of contract, or even sued,” said Martin in his post.
As filming is ongoing, House of the Dragon Season 2 has no official release date yet. This means fans can probably expect the second season by 2024 at the soonest.