Deadline Hollywood reported today that actor Dónal Finn, known for various acting roles including in The Witcher, will replace Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon for season 2 and beyond of Amazon Prime's upcoming Wheel of Time TV show. This news has been confirmed by Amazon Studios.
This is a major surprise because it's almost unheard of to re-cast a main character before season 1 of the show even airs. As of this time, there's no reason given for Harris' departure. It's highly unlikely that it was due to a poor acting performance. If that were the case, then that would've likely been identified very early on during the production of Season 1 and corrected. Harris finished the entirely of season 1. The acting performances of the entire cast were highly praised by showrunner Rafe Judkins and the rest of the team.
In situations like this, it would probably take a major reason for the young actor to be unavailable for season 2. We will not speculate at this time, but overall, the thoughts and well-wishes of the entire Dragonmount community go out to Barney. We hope he is healthy and well.
This re-casting likely caused major headaches for the production of Season 2, which is currently being filmed in the Czech Republic and other European countries.
For more thoughts on this re-casting, check out our TV blogger Adam Whitehead's article on this topic.