Actor Michiel Huisman took over the role of Daario Naharis from Ed Skrein in Game of Thrones season 4 - but what was the real reason behind the recast? The character of Daario Naharis debuted in the season 3 episode "Second Sons". Skrein portrayed Daario for three episodes that season before notably being replaced by Huisman for the following season and beyond.
Daario played a prominent member in the HBO series as one of Daenerys Targaryen's key allies. The highly-skilled fighter and commander of the Second Sons disobeyed his leaders and pledged his allegiance to Daenerys. Alongside Grey Worm and Jorah Mormont, Daario succeeded in conquering the city of Yunkai and Meereen, but he was left behind when Daenerys took her army west to Westeros. And so, Daario Naharis hasn't been seen on-screen since the Game of Thrones season 6 finale, but why was the character recast in the first place?
After Skrein's short-lived portrayal as Daario came to an end, many viewers questioned the recasting decision. Early reports indicated that the English actor left the series to star in The Transporter Refueled. But it looks like that wasn't exactly the case. During the time of the Skrein's replacement, the actor revealed the truth about why he left the series. In an interview with EW, Skrein hinted that the recast came as a result of "political" reasons after being questioned whether he left because of the Transporter film.
"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. And from there I just said, “Okay, look forward, be positive. Keep calm and carry on.” That’s my mentality when things go well, so I stay grounded and not get to overwhelmed by the hype, and it’s my mentality when the plans change."
According to Skrein, his original plan was to play Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones for the long-term. It certainly seems like Skrein leaving the series was not his decision. It's very common in this industry to use the term "parting ways" to describe a situation when two parties can't come to a resolution. Whether it be creative decisions or contract disputes, the team behind Game of Thrones felt like the best option was to move on to another actor.
Considering how Huisman's portrayal as Daario differs greatly compared to Skrein, it indicates that the recast efforts moved fast. The switch of actors threw fans for a loop considering the change of appearance. The long-haired and fresh face of Skrein quickly turned to Huisman's short hair and bearded, brooding face in season 4. It's important to note that the situation didn't derail Skrein's career, though. He went on to appear as Ajax in Deadpool and had roles in films such as If Beale Street Could Talk and Alita: Battle Angel. Skrein will also play the villain in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which debuts this October and Roland Emmerich's Midway, which is set for a November release.
With Daario Naharis still in Meereen, will fans see him return in Game of Thrones season 8? It's very possible that Daario will make an appearance for the series last handful of episodes, given that this season wraps up the Game of Thrones story. It would be perfect if he arrived just in time for the Battle of Winterfell as a final act of heroism in the presence of the woman he loves. Even if he falls in battle, his death in such a meaningful fight would be a fitting end for a sellsword like Daario Naharis.