(Warning: Spoilers for House of the Dragon ahead)
After episode six of House of the Dragon shuffled in a new round of actors, many fans wondered if they would ever see Milly Alcock and Emma Carey as Rhaenyra and Alicent beyond that first handful of episodes. Alcock and Carey led the series for the first five episodes, portraying younger versions of the childhood best friends-turned enemies. At the beginning of episode six, Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke took over the roles of their adult selves.
While this had been the plan from the beginning, it still stung to see the ladies quickly replaced, so when Variety asked showrunner Ryan Condal if they would return, he was hesitant. “I mean, look, I don’t know,” Condal admitted when asked if the previous actresses would return as Rhaenyra and Alicent. Condal then said they the two “are not a part of the story that we’re telling, yet. That’s not a thing that we’re doing right now,” but there is always a chance they return in the future.
Though there aren’t plans to bring back the younger actors, Condal says it could still happen. “There are things that we haven’t fully sorted out,” he explained. “I’m not closing the door on anything. So there, how’s that for an answer?” That seems like a pretty good compromise for now.
Even though Alcock and Carey are done for now, Condal says that choosing younger actors for the role ended up being the best move. “As great as Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke are, they were not the people that were going to begin the story. It was definitely a thing that we stressed over a lot. I think we succeeded. All four of them brought a tremendous performance to the show. I’m really proud of all of them.”
House of the Dragon’s other showrunner Miguel Spochnik exited the series abruptly ahead of season two, which Condal is currently writing. Though the season is still in its early stages, Condal confirms that there won’t be any more major time jumps in season two. “I’m excited for the story that we’re going to tell in Season 2. There are thousands of people that go into the making of this. It’s on me to be able to be a great leader and try to inspire people, hopefully with some good writing, to get the very best work out of them and make another great season of the show.”
House of the Dragon airs Sundays on HBO.