House of the Dragon re-energized the Game of Thrones franchise last year when it premiered to stellar reviews and soaring viewership. The spin-off, which hones in on the Targaryen line, the fumbles that lead to war, and the way misogyny permeates the fictional world, will continue to shoot this summer, regardless of the Screen Actors Guild strike.
The news of the strike comes shortly after the 2023 Writers Strike, at a time when the majority of unionized workers in Hollywood are faced with inadequate compensation.
The reason for this is more complicated than we might have assumed and has to do with how UK law forbids a legal strike with the SAG-AFTRA. Most of the House of the Dragons cast is made up of British performers who do not work under SAG-AFTRA contracts. Because of that, the actors, who work under Equity contracts instead, cannot legally strike with the US union. Variety reported that these local union rules are why the spin-off continues production.
Actors in the US who are beneath the SAG-AFTRA banner, however, will be said to be crossing the picket line should they participate in deals, active shooting, or even promotional rounds for new movies and TV series — hence why Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt left the Oppenheimer premiere, according to Christopher Nolan.
Equity in a statement shared that it will stand in “unwavering solidarity” with the union, however, “Because of existing anti-trade union laws in the UK, SAG-AFTRA members currently working under an Equity UK collective bargaining agreement should continue to report to work. A performer joining the strike (or refusing to cross a picket line) in the UK will have no protection against being dismissed or sued for breach of contract by the producer or the engager.”
“Likewise, if Equity encourages anyone to join the strike or not cross a picket line, Equity itself will be acting unlawfully and hence liable for damages or an injunction,” the UK union said. So, the House of the Dragon cast is free to continue playing their Game of Thrones characters. An international strike would, of course, be more effective, but different countries have their own labor laws and industry unions, which creates distinctions for talent.
For more on current events, we’ve got a guide to the strike explained. We’ve also got a list of the best TV series of all time for you to pick from while we wait for the union to reach a fair deal. We’ve also got a guide to the Game of Thrones dragons if you’re interested.