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How ‘House of the Dragon’ Boss Is Approaching ‘Thrones’ Spinoff: Same Color Palette, Different Tone

Miguel Sapochnik says "Dragon" is a different beast that still pays homage to the George R.R. Martin original.

"House of the Dragon"

“House of the Dragon”

HBO

Winter is coming, and so is “House of the Dragon.” The HBO spinoff of George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” is set to premiere in 2022, and centers on the story of the Targaryen civil war that took place about 300 years before events portrayed in the Emmy-winning original. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, co-showrunner and director Miguel Sapochnik talked about the series’ aesthetic, and how, while it may be a somewhat different beast from the first show, it still pays homage to the beloved TV classic.

“I think we were very respectful of what the original show is,” said Sapochnik, who directed six “Game of Thrones” episodes, directs multiple episodes of “Dragon,” and also serves as showrunner alongside series co-creator Ryan Condal. “It wasn’t broken so we’re not we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. ‘House of the Dragon’ has its own tone that will evolve and emerge over the course of the show. But first, it’s very important to pay respects and homage to the original series, which was pretty groundbreaking.

“We’re standing on the shoulders of that show and we’re only here because of that show,” Sapochnik continued. “So the most important thing for us to do is to respect that show as much as possible and try and compliment it rather than reinvent it. And I was involved in making the original show, so I feel like that’s been useful. Like, I’m not arriving going, ‘Let’s change everything! Let’s do a different color palette!’ No, I quite like the color palette.”

Based on George R.R. Martin’s 2018 book “Fire & Blood,” “House of the Dragon” features cast members Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Paddy Considine, Sonoya Mizuno, Rhys Ifans, and more.

“That said, we can’t say, ‘Well, when we did Thrones, we did it this way…’” Sapochnik added. “If you start every sentence with that, you’ve lost. This is something else, and should be something else. It’s a different crew, different people, different tone. Hopefully it will be seen as something else. But it will have to earn that – it won’t happen overnight. Hopefully fans will enjoy it for the thing that it is. We’ll be lucky if we ever come close to what the original show was, so we’re just putting our heads down and getting on with it and hoping what we come up with is worthy of having a ‘Game of Thrones’ title.”

HBO is being strict about spoilers for the show and had only this to say about the series’ plot when the trailer was released earlier this month: “‘House of the Dragon’ is set 200 years before the events of ‘Game of Thrones’ and tells the story of House Targaryen.”

“Sound of Metal” and “Ready Player One” favorite Olivia Cooke stars as Alicent Hightower, the daughter of Hand of the King Otto Hightower. Alicent is described by HBO as “the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms. She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle, and possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen.”

Sapochnik’s latest work is the feature film “Finch,” a science-fiction effort starring Tom Hanks that will be released by Apple on November 5.

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