'Game of Thrones' Spinoff 'House of the Dragon' Reportedly in Talks to Cast Franchise's First Black Main Character

HBO has officially announced the casting for three main characters for its Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, but according to a report by Deadline, one more actor is in talks for the show. Insiders said that actor Danny Sapani might take the role of Lord Corlys Valaryon, a.k.a. "The Sea Snake." If so, he would be the first Black actor to take such a central role in this franchise.

Sapani is best-known to many for his roles in Black Panther, Penny Dreadful and Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi. He is a great fit for the role of Corlys, who was described extensively in George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood. The fictional history book covers about 120 years' worth of Westerosi lore, culminating in the House Targaryen civil war known as "the dance of the dragons," which will be the focus of the prequel show.

While Sapani is reportedly still in talks over his participation in the show, four main characters have now been confirmed. King Viserys Targaryen will be played by Paddy Considine, his daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen will be played by Emma D'Arcy, his second wife Alicent Hightower will be played by Olivia Cooke and Prince Daemon Targaryen will be played by Matt Smith.

Fans of the TV show and the main book series may have heard of some of these characters in passing, though they lived two centuries before the events of Game of Thrones. Those that have read Fire & Blood are more familiar, as Martin essentially laid out the entire plot of this new series in the form of a fictional history book. It begins 300 years before Game of Thrones, and spans about 120 years — right up to the end of "the dance of the dragons."

That means that in the book, fans saw Viserys, Daemon, Corlys, Rhaenys and Alicent from birth to death. However, in the show, they will be more static, and if he is cast, Sapani would take up the compelling part of Corlys' story when he is a loyal old navy commander.

Corlys comes from House Velaryon, a noble house rarely mentioned in the show, which is the only other family in Westeros to have Valyrian descent besides the Targaryens. They are an island-dwelling family, and Corlys is a renowned sailor and explorer known to have been all over the world in his travels. By the time of the civil war, Corlys has settled back at home and become a naval commander and a valued adviser of Princess Rhaenyra.

The show will center around a conflict between Rhaenyra and Alicent after King Viserys dies. Viserys formally names Rhaenyra his heir, but then has sons with Alicent, and she argues that the male claimants should take precedent. The war that follows pits dragon riders against each other in one of the most epic conflicts Martin has ever written.


House of the Dragon begins filming in England 2021. The show is expected to premiere on HBO in 2022.