House of the Dragon Season 2 could be delayed by one crucial casting
Where is Cregan Stark? HBO doesn't know yet.
Jacaerys Velaryon has been sent as an envoy of Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen to the Eyrie, White Harbor, and Winterfell to request additional support for his mother’s claim to the Iron Throne. By the conclusion of House of the Dragon’s Season 1 finale, Jacaerys is presumably on his way to his first stop aboard his dragon, Vermax.
Before he leaves, his mother attests that he shouldn’t have any issues winning over Cregan Stark. In fact, they’re likely to become friends.
Cregan was the head of House Stark through the reigns of five Targaryens, starting with Viserys I. He’s a crucial character for almost a century of Westerosi history, ruling Winterfell from the Dance of the Dragons through the First Blackfyre Rebellion. If House of the Dragon continues past the Dance and portrays the Targaryen dynasty until the birth of Game of Throne’s Daenerys, then we’d likely see Cregan throughout the rest of the show’s run.
However, according to House of the Dragon's showrunner, co-creator, and executive producer Ryan Condal, the actor set to star as this major character hasn’t been cast yet. Production for Season 2 is slated to commence early next year. Will the need for a good Cregan cause delays?
A Stark for the Ages — In the Song of Ice and Fire prequels written by George R.R. Martin, Cregan Stark becomes the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North around the age of 13. Up until Jacaerys Velaryon’s arrival, House Stark remained largely apolitical.
Cregan and Jacaerys got along well, as they were close in age. They spent much of their time drinking, hunting, and sparring, though some accounts claim that Jacaerys often got into philosophy with Cregan, trying to convince the Stark prince to disown the “old gods” and convert to the Faith of the Seven.
Cregan was the half-brother of the somewhat legitimized Stark bastard Sara Snow, who fell in love with Jacaerys. It was rumored, though never confirmed, that Jacaerys and Sara had a secret wedding right around the time Cregan and Jacaerys made an oath of brotherhood. Soon after, Cregan and Jacaerys vowed that the firstborn daughter of Jacaerys would one day marry Cregan’s son, Rickon. It was only then that Cregan pledged his support to Rhaenyra and The Blacks, after which Cregan amassed a militia known as the Winter Wolves to fight for Rhaenyra’s cause.
Even after Jacaerys’ death, Cregan upheld his oath. He gathered thousands of northmen to fight for the Blacks, and he became a steadfast ally and friend to Jacaerys’ other relatives, including his younger half-brothers, Aegon III and Viserys II. Cregan briefly served as the Hand of the King to Aegon III Targaryen after Aegon II and his Greens were finally quashed. Afterward, Cregan lived a long and well-respected life, dying of old age around the First Blackfyre Rebellion (yet another Targaryen civil war).
The Inverse Analysis — We have no doubts that HBO will cast a Cregan Stark for Season 2, and that Cregan will play an invaluable role in the development of Jacaerys’ character throughout House of the Dragon’s sophomore season. However, just when we’ll be seeing Cregan Stark is a mystery.
Production for House of the Dragon Season 2 is slated to start in early 2023, but between casting new characters, traveling to a variety of filming locations, and producing multiple high-tech dragon dogfights, HBO could encounter understandable delays. Our best guess? House of the Dragon won’t be debuting Cregan Stark until 2024.
House of the Dragon Season 1 is available to stream now on HBO Max.