HBO's hit show and pop culture phenomenon Game of Thrones is officially a franchise. The first in-universe spinoff, House of the Dragon, is only two episodes old, but it's already set up an intriguing premise filled with royal intrigue and stunning dragons, not to mention a cast filled with scheming Targaryens.
Though some fans were skeptical of the show's chances after Thrones' divisive finale, House of the Dragon's renewal chances skyrocketed when its premiere episode brought in nearly 10 million viewers, the highest ratings for an HBO premiere ever. In response, the network decided to go all in on the Game of Thrones spinoff. Here's what we know about the forthcoming second season so far.
Has 'House of the Dragon' been renewed for Season 2?
Yes! The Season 2 renewal came five days after its record-breaking premiere, with the network reporting that the show's ratings climbed to 20 million viewers between the Sunday night premiere and the following Friday.
"We are beyond proud of what the entire House of the Dragon team has accomplished with season one," Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO Programming, said in a statement (opens in new tab). "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. A huge thank you [to co-creator and executive producer George R.R. Martin and co-creator and showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik] for leading us on this journey. We couldn’t be more excited to continue bringing to life the epic saga of House Targaryen with season two.”
Fire reigns. #HouseoftheDragon has been renewed for Season 2. pic.twitter.com/6CxhzC7SKvAugust 26, 2022
When will Season 2 come out?
The scale of the show means it will take a while for a second season to arrive. The first season took 10 months of filming even before they add in those dragons, with The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) saying that visual effects work for Season 1 began in January and is still ongoing. If Season 2 also requires nearly a year of filming and another of VFX work, we're looking at a possible summer/fall 2024 return.
Filming for the new season will start as soon as Spring 2023, with Spanish newspaper Hoy reporting that production is set to return to the city of Cáceres, Spain—which depicted King's Landing on both HotD and Game of Thrones—from March to June 2023.
Which of the cast will return for Season 2?
After the finale's airing last night, we now know who made it to Season 2. Assuming there won't be any surprise recasts, the main cast (opens in new tab) who we'll see next season include Emma D’Arcy (Rhaenyra Targaryen), Olivia Cooke (Alicent Hightower), Matt Smith (Daemon Targaryen), Rhys Ifans (Otto Hightower), Fabien Frankel (Ser Criston Cole), Steve Touissant (Corlys Targaryen), Eve Best (Rhaenys Targaryen), Harry Collett (Jacaerys Velaryon), Tom Glynn-Carney (Aegon II) and Ewan Mitchell (Aemond Targaryen). Among the actors we lost in Season 1 are Paddy Considine as King Viserys and Elliot Grihault as Lucerys.
We also know of a couple characters who will either have a much larger role or appear for the first time next season. Now that they're on opposing sides, twins Ser Arryk and Erryk Cargyll (played by twin actors Luke and Elliott Tittensor, respectively) will be important knights to follow. Also, Season 2 ends with Jacaerys headed to Winterfell to secure the allyship of Cregan Stark, and HotD can't tease a Stark ancestor and not give them ample screen time. Finally, author George R.R. Martin teased earlier this month that Viserys and Alicent's fourth child (yes, they have another grown kid) Daeron will appear in the new season, per EW (opens in new tab).
As for the younger versions of Rhaenyra and Alicent, showrunner Ryan Condal told Variety (opens in new tab) that he's not sure whether actors Milly Alcock and Emily Carey will return through flashback in later seasons. "[Alcock and Carey] are not a part of the story that we’re telling, yet. That’s not a thing that we’re doing right now," he said, adding that things may change in the future.
"There are things that we haven’t fully sorted out," he added. "I’m not closing the door on anything. So there, how’s that for an answer?"
What will Season 2 be about?
From what we've seen in the trailer and two current episodes, Season 1 will show the events leading up to the Targaryen civil war called the Dance of Dragons, a fight for the throne after King Viserys dies. The show's taking the long route, starting all the way back with Rhaenyra's ascension to heir, and will fast forward some years (with a recasting and all) to bring us closer to the skirmish.
It seems like the full Dance may not happen until Season 2, based on co-creators George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal's hints at how they've been preparing for a renewal. During the show's Comic-Con panel (which took place a month before season 1's premiere), Condal revealed that production is already working on dragons that won't show up until Season 2, per Variety (opens in new tab). He also said they have a "severed head budget" specifically for Season 2, which should surprise (and maybe excite) fans.
How many seasons could 'House of the Dragon' have?
One big question about the GoT prequel is whether it'll face the same fate as Thrones: having more seasons than source book material (to the show's detriment). Luckily, co-showrunners Condel and Miguel Sapochnik already have a plan for the end of the whole series. For an in-depth Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) story, the duo revealed that they have an ending in mind and a plan for the show to run a certain number of seasons, which sources saying that three to four seasons are plotted so far.
They also hinted that the show, or a subsequent spinoff, could explore another period of the Targaryen dynasty, which stretches all the way back to the Doom of Valyria (the destruction of the family's first home country) and King Aegon I's conquest of Westeros.
“The Targaryens span both directions,” Sapochnik told the outlet. “So as a spine to other possible stories and spinoffs … this is a great place to start.”
What have the cast and crew said about Season 2?
Showrunner Ryan Condal opened up to Variety about the production's progress on Season 2, revealing that they've been working on the next batch of episodes even before the official renewal was announced.
"Season 1 has really folded over on Season 2. We’ve been writing Season 2 for months, through post and premieres and press," he told the outlet.
While we'll have to wait until the Season 1 finale to know where Season 2 will land in the Dance of the Dragons' timeline, Condal did also confirm that there won't be any more decade-spanning, recast-mandating time jumps in the next season.
"The storytelling becomes fairly in the rhythms of the original Game of Thrones series," he said of Season 2.
Fabien Frankel told RadioTimes (opens in new tab) that there have already been talks of a second season behind-the-scenes. "We've had conversations and we had conversations in the beginning, but obviously things are so subject to change," he told the outlet."
“If I'm honest, I went to the pub with Miguel [Sapochnik, the showrunner] two months ago. He teased me some things,” Frankel added. “He told me that I should hang out with one person in particular and I'm not going to say who that is, obviously, but he did say: 'I want you and this person to spend some time together and get to know each other.' So, yeah, I'm excited to do that."
Eve Best also told the outlet that the cast already has an idea of what's next based on the books.
"We have a little bit of a rough flavour because the story exists in the books already so we've got a rough idea of where it possibly might go but they do so much fleshing out and moving around from the books," she said.
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