Why Game of Thrones Recast Ed Skrein’s Daario Naharis

Daario Naharis came back a different man in the fourth season of Game of Thrones. but what led Ed Skrein to leave the show?

For Marvel fans, English actor Ed Skrein will always be Francis, Wade Wilson’s first big screen nemesis in Deadpool. But three years before that, the actor was already on the cusp of a big breakthrough. Cast as the lusty, battle-hungry sellsword Daario Naharis, Skrein portrayed the character for only three episodes of the blockbuster HBO series, Game of Thrones.

However, when the show returned for its fourth season, Daario had suddenly changed his looks. Let’s look at why Skrein left Game of Thrones prematurely, and what became of Daario Naharis after his exit.

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Who Was Daario Naharis?

A high-ranking member of the Tyroshi sellswords, Daario Naharis had enough pull in the mercenary company to negotiate contracts on their behalf. Intrigued by the arrival of the new queen, Daenerys, Daario turns on two of his fellow captains when they decide to assassinate her. Presenting Daenerys with their heads, Daario pledges his sellsword company, the Second Sons, to her service. But after years of service to the Queen’s growing khalasar, Daario was left behind to manage Meereen when Daenerys sails off to claim her Westerosi throne.

Famed for his rakish looks and his custom blades ornamented with nude women, Daario is a wilder character in the books than he is in the HBO series. In George R. R. Martin’s description, Daenerys’ hedonistic lover is a vain, greedy man with his hair often dyed shades of blue. His beard is kept in a trident shape, and his mustache is painted gold. This depiction offered the character a truly exotic air without falling into racial stereotypes, but it’s understandable why the television series looked for a suave man like Skrein to bring the character to life.

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Why Did Ed Skrein Depart Game of Thrones?

When the news broke in 2014 that Daario was going to be recast, a flurry of questions hit the massive fanbase. The first hint that something was up was an article that suggested that Skrein had been “unpopular” with fans, but gave no further details or citations about the claim. Another claim that the issue had been scheduling conflicts was built on firmer foundations, with Skrein confirmed to be replacing Jason Statham as the face of the Transporter franchise at around that same time.

However, it wasn’t until 2015 that Skrein himself commented on his exit from Game of Thrones. He debunked the rumored problem of scheduling conflicts outright but kept a positive spin on what actually happened. He added, “That’s what been reported in the press but it was a lot more political than that. My plan was to stay with Game of Thrones for the long haul. That was always my plan. I would have loved to. It was a wonderful experience, but politics led to us parting ways.”

With the blockbuster series stumbling to a confused halt with its final season back in May 2019, behind-the-scenes “politics” might have seen Skrein kicked out of Essos far before his time, but his career has absorbed the hit. With steady roles on the big screen, from the award-winning If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) to popular hits like Alita: Battle Angerl (2019) and Midway (2019), hopefully, Skrein has taken some comfort in the fact he wasn’t present at the viral table read for the controversial finale of Game of Thrones.

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