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Actors We Want To See Join The Game Of Thrones Universe

"House of the Dragon" — the first of many planned "Game of Thrones" spin-offs to come to fruition — premiered to a record 10 million viewers. Not only is HBO happy, critics and viewers are also liking what they've seen so far of the prequel series, which hones in on turmoil within the Targaryen dynasty about two centuries before Daenerys is born. If the live-action world of George R.R. Martin can keep its momentum and bounce back from the disappointing series finale of "Game of Thrones," it will increase the likelihood that even more spin-off series will eventually make their way to television sets. Casting directors are already hard at work filling the roles of Targaryens, Starks, and other fan favorite characters from Martin's many thousands of pages of writing. 

If you're familiar with Westeros, Essos, and its diverse peoples, you'll already know that the world of "Game of Thrones" is populated with fascinating but flawed characters who don't fit neatly into the categories of hero or villain (save for a few — we're looking at you Arya Stark, Brienne of Tarth, and Samwell Tarly). Any actor who hopes to fill the shoes of one of Martin's characters will have to bring some serious acting chops to the table. The shows inspired by Martin's worldbuilding are hard fantasy in the vein of "The Lord of the Rings" but with the fast-talking wit of an Aaron Sorkin script and the moral ambiguity of "Mad Men" or "Breaking Bad." We think these actors look the part and are up to the task. 

Naomi Scott as Princess Nymeria

Princess Nymeria of Ny Sar has already been name-dropped in "Game of Thrones" and "House of the Dragon," and if things go as planned, she'll soon have her own series on HBO titled "10,000 Ships." Nymeria is the Warrior Queen after whom Arya Stark named her direwolf. She's also the princess about whom Alicent Hightower was quizzing Rhaenyra in the premiere episode of "House of the Dragon." Nymeria's story is one of the most legendary in all of Martin's fictional history. This royal of the Rhoynar fled with — you guessed it — 10,000 ships when Valyrians overthrew her people's formerly free city states. She settled in Dorne and married one of its lords, Mors Martell, but she and the Rhoynar encountered ample drama between points A and B.

Since these events took place about a thousand years in the past, the ages and dates associated with them are less specific. It's believed that Nymeria had olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes, and was young at the time of her exodus from Essos. Since it's implied that Ny Sar was east of Dorne (the Dornish have generally been portrayed as Mediterranean-type people), then Nymeria should be played by someone of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent. Naomi Scott fits the bill. Nymeria's got to be beautiful and smart, but also tough and uncompromising above all else. Scott has already played a strong, independent Arabian princess in 2019's "Aladdin," and she flexed her action hero muscles in 2017's "Power Rangers" as Kimberly, the Pink Ranger.

Gael García Bernal as Mors Martell

Gael García Bernal has spent most of his career making international and independent films like "Y tu mamá también" and "The Motorcycle Diaries." But lately, he's been branching out into television and projects that lean into various genres. He recently starred in the post-apocalyptic HBO Max miniseries "Station Eleven," as well as M. Night Shyamalan's 2021 horror film "Old." Bernal is also set to play the title character in a Werewolf by Night holiday special coming to Disney+.

The Mexican actor would make a fine choice to play Nymeria's eventual husband, Mors Martell. He could be a plausible ancestor of Oberyn Martell (played by Pedro Pascal in "Game of Thrones"), and he exudes the kind of energy that Mors would have to give off. The co-founder of Dorne has to be smoldering enough to woo Nymeria, but self-secure enough to rule alongside her. While many men in Westeros seem threatened by the aspirational women in their lives, and scheme (or worse) to keep them from attaining power, Mors is more or less content to take a back seat to his Warrior Queen (at least that's how Martin's history tells it). His love and support of Nymeria aren't quite so simple, however. At the time of her ships' arrival, he was one of many lords vying for control. His wedding united the people of Dorne (after a bit of conquering) and made him king.

Will Poulter as Dunk

One of the most anticipated potential "Game of Thrones" spin-offs is "The Tales of Dunk and Egg," based on a series of three novellas that Martin went on to publish in a collected volume as "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms." These tales take place about 90 years before we meet Brienne of Tarth (to whom the titular Knight, ser Duncan the Tall, is related), and they're unusual in the wider world of "Game of Thrones" as they skew more comedic than one might expect. That doesn't mean they aren't plenty bloody. The long and short of it (or tall and short of it) is, a relative nobody (Dunk) encounters a very important young lad (the diminutive Egg), and the two go on adventures together that occasionally tie into the mainline lore.

Ser Duncan is meant to be kindly but intimidating with fair but broad features. He's not a perfectly righteous man, nor is he the sharpest sword in the armory. A pretty consequential lie kicks off the first story in which he appears, and his newfound companion — a tween boy — is smarter than he is. But, like Brianne, he's immensely likable. Though he's not 7 feet tall (Dunk's height), the 6' 3" Will Poulter is one of very few actors that has the necessary experience to play the Hedge Knight. He made a name for himself as a child mugging the innocent and clueless in the comedy "We're the Millers," but he has matured into a superhero: Poulter will play Adam Warlock in "Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3." We're sure the talented Brit could handle the humor, drama, and action in Dunk's evolution from fun-loving Flea Bottom-dweller to famed knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

Roman Griffin Davis as Egg

The other half of the Westeros buddy dramedy that will be "The Tales of Dunk and Egg" is young Aegon V Targaryen, dubbed Egg by his older brother Aemon. In Martin's writing, Aegon gets a second nickname: The Unlikely King, as he's a fourth son and a lot had to go wrong for him to ascend to the Iron Throne. But before all that happens, Aegon is a young prince with one nasty brother (Aerion), one nice brother (Aemon), and one dead brother. His father, King Maekar, allows him to become Ser Duncan's squire in hopes that he'll grow up to be grounded and well-rounded away from Aerion's bad influence.

Aegon is learned, compassionate, and a little snarky with big eyes and a pasty white face. Though he had locks of golden hair, he shaved his head to protect his identity. Roman Griffin Davis, who starred as Jojo Betzler in Taika Waititi's 2019 satire "Jojo Rabbit," could be the ideal Egg. Physically and personality-wise, he fits the book's description of the young prince, though we don't know how old Dunk and Egg will be in the series. On the page, Dunk is about 19 while Egg is around 10. But if they decide to write the characters as a few years older (which might be smart, as the novellas take place over some time), Roman Griffin Davis would be great in the role. He has Aegon's impish charm and would no doubt have comedic chemistry with Will Poulter as Ser Duncan.

George MacKay as young Maester Aemon

If a Dunk and Egg series ever does make the journey from pre-production to premiere, "Game of Thrones" fans will already be familiar with one of the show's characters: Maester Aemon. Egg's older brother is the very same Aemon who became a Maester, refused the throne, and exiled himself to the Wall to serve in the Night's Watch. Aemon was a quiet and contemplative man who always struggled internally to make sure he was doing the right thing. These traits are made apparent in his warm and mentor-like relationship with Jon Snow, who is actually his great-great nephew (though the series never confirms that either is aware of their connection). In "Game of Thrones," during which time he's in his very old age, he's portrayed by actor Peter Vaughan.

George MacKay, the British actor who got rave reviews for being in almost every frame of "1917," could pass for a young Maester Aemon as Vaughan played him. They share similar features and possess a similarly stoic but genial quality, and with some bleach or a white wig, he could transform into a Targaryen. While his older brother Aerion is a firebrand, middle child Aemon thinks and feels more than most of Martin's characters. MacKay is the kind of performer that can convey deep emotions through subtle facial expressions and small gestures, and he could be perfect for this role.

Jamie Campbell Bower as Aerion Targaryen

In "Game of Thrones," it's said that "Madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin," and that every time a Targaryen is born, "the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land." When Aerion was born, the coin clearly landed on madness, though he seemed to believe throughout his life that it landed on greatness. Aerion was the second oldest son of King Maekar and older brother to Aemon and Aegon. In the first novella of the Dunk and Egg series, "The Hedge Knight," he's described as slim and of average height with lush, silvery-blonde curls and piercing purple eyes. His face is sharply angled and as attractive as any the family had ever produced. In public, he projected an image of the golden child, but Egg saw him for what he was: a monster.

An act of arrogance and cruelty on Aerion's part is one of the inciting incidents for Dunk and Egg's joint journey. But Aerion isn't just vindictive, he's also obsessive and irrational. The prince is drawn to the dark arts and even believes that he can take the form of a dragon. Who could play someone so svelte and alluring but so savage and unhinged? Jamie Campbell Bower showed audiences that he has a range that stretches all the way from sympathetic lab orderly to Lord Vecna of the Upside of Down in Season 4 of "Stranger Things." The London-born actor, who skyrocketed to fame thanks to his role in the Netflix series, looks the part of a Targaryen and would no doubt have a blast with the extremely specific evil and insane things Prince Aerion gets up to.

Joseph Quinn in an Arya spin-off

Jamie Campbell Bower's star isn't the only one on the rise thanks to "Stranger Things" Season 4. Joseph Quinn, who played fan favorite Eddie Munson, is one of the most sought-after actors in the industry at the moment, and we think he'd be a perfect fit for the "Game of Thrones" expanded universe... except for the fact that he's already in it. Quinn played a small role that was created for the series in Season 7: Koner, a low-level Winterfell guard who tries to stop Arya from entering. For context, the citizens of Winterfell assume Arya is dead and are on high alert for anyone who might seek to harm their acting ruler, Sansa.

Since Koner only has a few lines and is heavily costumed, most fans probably wouldn't even notice if he returned in a completely different capacity to be, say, Arya's friend, comedic foil, or love interest in a spin-off about her continuing escapades. Quinn's charm and manic energy would blend well with Arya's pithiness and intensity, and the Brit could speak with his own accent. Alternatively, since Koner is loyal to the Starks and Sansa easily cleared up the whole matter, who's to say this misinformed commoner didn't rise through the ranks or volunteer for one of Arya's voyages in the meantime? When we last saw her, she was on a ship, intent on traveling west beyond the lands that have been mapped. Unfortunately, an Arya-sails-west project isn't currently in development at HBO, no matter how badly audiences want one.

Claudia Kim in The Golden Empire of Yi Ti

Another of the "Game of Thrones" spin-offs currently in pre-production is the animated series "The Golden Empire of Yi Ti." That show will bring to life a thriving civilization in the far eastern reaches of Essos. Yi Ti boasts more and bigger cities than anywhere in Martin's known world and has its own rich topography, history, culture, and magical realism. Inspired by Imperial China according to Martin's blog, the lands around the Jade Sea, the Shivering Sea, and the Bone Mountains are a place where many gods are worshiped and god-emperors rule. Basilisks roam the jungles and dragons aren't unheard of. But, most importantly, there's just as much palace intrigue and backstabbing amongst Yi Ti's many, many royals as there is Westeros.

An especially fraught time involves the reign of the Opal King and the eventual succession of his children, the Amethyst Empress and the Bloodstone Emperor. At this point in Yi Ti's history, greed and corruption are corroding the Empire, and jealousy and ambition within the family result in the start of the Long Night itself. South Korean actor Claudia Kim would make an excellent Amethyst Empress. She's been working in genre film and TV as well as franchises for years now — she's Nagini in the "Fantastic Beasts" movies, and she also appeared in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Kim deserves a meatier part in a high-quality production, whether it's a voice role in an animated show or an eventual live-action series.

John Boyega as young Corlys Velaryon

"House of the Dragon" introduces viewers to a live-action version of Corlys Velaryon, Lord of the Tides, Master of Driftmark, husband to Rhaenys Targaryen, and richest man in the world. The planned spin-off about how he got that way will either be called "The Sea Snake" (one of his many nicknames) or "9 Voyages." Corlys was born into a noble family; his great granduncle was the very first Lord Commander of the Kingsguard for Aegon the Conqueror. But he took his already fortuitous birth and made something even greater out of it.

Corlys designed and built his own unparalleled fleet of ships and used them to sail the seas in search of trade, treasure, and political opportunity. In "House of the Dragon," Corlys is played by Brit Steve Toussaint. Sadly, the Black actor was racially abused online by people who wanted a white actor in the role after he won the part, despite the fact that the character's skin color isn't even mentioned in the source material.

If HBO is planning on illustrating all nine of Corlys' fabled voyages, they'll have to cast someone who can play him from his teenage years into his late 30s. John Boyega is yet another Brit who often uses an American accent for work. He shares Toussaint's commanding presence and magnetic personality if not quite his proportions (Toussaint is taller, but production designers have their tricks). His filmography thus far — he's been seen in "Pacific Rim" and the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy, to name a few — proves he can handle the necessary action and adventure to headline this series.

Anya Taylor-Joy as young Rhaenys Targaryen

Viewers have already been introduced to Rhaenys Targaryen, the Queen Who Never Was and wife of Corlys Velaryon, in "House of the Dragon." She's played with grace and steely determination by Eve Best as a woman who's lost out on her own chance at the Iron Throne, but who has two children who may yet wear the crown. If there's going to be a Corlys origin story, at some point, it'll probably include an appearance by his bride, a young Rhaenys. The Sea Snake married Rhaenys when he was in his 30s (by which point he'd already amassed a fortune and earned a reputation as the greatest seafarer of all time) and she was in her teens... a completely un-shocking age difference by Westeros standards. But "House of the Dragon" has already altered some details, and Toussaint and Best are roughly the same age, so it's possible a Corlys show could continue to change the particulars.

If producers do cast a teenage or young adult Rhaenys, Anya Taylor-Joy has previously demonstrated that she can age herself down and then grow with a character as she did in "The Queen's Gambit." She's also at home in period pieces: She starred in the 2020 film adaptation of Jane Austen's "Emma," as well as Robert Eggers' 2022 Viking epic "The Northman." And, she doesn't just look like a Targaryen, she looks like Eve Best enough to pass for the newlywed version of her. Taylor-Joy also exudes the poise and resolve that Best has brought to the role thus far, making her a perfect choice for this role.

Adam Driver as a villain in Jon Snow sequel series

With so many prequels and spin-offs having been announced, "Game of Thrones" fans were surprised when The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that a true sequel starring none other than Kit Harington as Jon Snow was in the works. This will probably be an opportunity for existing characters, like Tormund or Sansa, to fill out supporting roles or make cameos. But since this new series isn't based on any pre-existing source material (that we know of), new characters will have to be created, too. Chief among them, the show will need to give its apparent protagonist a worthy antagonist. Who better to square off against one brooding dude with long, black hair than an even bigger, even broodier dude with long, black hair? 

Adam Driver is one of the most talented actors of his generation. He's as effective in prestige dramas like "Marriage Story" as he is in popcorn movies. His tenure as the petulant Kylo Ren was one of the strongest parts of the inconsistent "Star Wars" sequel trilogy. But those who caught him in Ridley Scott's criminally underseen "The Last Duel" know that Driver and brutal Medieval stories go together like swords and shields. The former Marine has the physical prowess to go toe to toe with Jon Snow. He's got a face that looks ready to be carved into marble, and he's the type of performer who can imbue a villain with unexpected nuance and sympathy. And if that doesn't work out, with the right hair and makeup, Driver would be a captivating choice to play Aegon the Conqueror.