Why Arya Stark Was the Hardest Game of Thrones Character to Cast

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

Choosing acting talent for a cast as large as the one in Game of Thrones is a daunting task. It’s hard to imagine the show if the creators chose someone other than Peter Dinklage to bring to life Tyrion Lannister. Or if they had stuck with Tamzin Merchant, who played Daenerys Targaryen in the original (unaired) pilot, instead of putting Emilia Clarke in the role.

What made casting even more difficult is the show’s length. Over the span of eight seasons, certain characters are bound to have some major developments. And the younger characters are going to grow up.

Co-creator and showrunner David Benioff discussed those struggles during a SXSW Q&A in 2017. "[Arya and Sansa] start so young, but we knew if the show worked, [the characters] were going to go to extremely dark places, so it was a tricky thing, casting people and just hoping they would blossom into the women that they've become," Benioff said.

Ultimately, according to Benioff, it was Arya who ended up being the hardest character to cast—which is fitting, as she is often the most hard-headed character on the show.

"I remember we probably looked at 300 girls in England and could not find the right Arya," Benioff said. “We just could not cast her. We were sitting in this hotel lobby in Morocco—the only place we could get wireless—and looking at casting videos.”

The role ended up going to now-21-year-old Maisie Williams, who started playing Arya at the age of 12.

“There was a little thumbnail picture of Maisie Williams,” Benioff continued. “There was just something about that little tiny thumbnail face that just seemed right. She looked about 7. Like she was 12, but going on 7. So we clicked on the audition video and waited about 40 minutes for it to download. When we saw that audition video she was just f***ing awesome.”

In the years since Game of Thrones made its original premiere, Williams has made an indelible impression on both viewers and her co-stars. Sean Bean, who played Arya's dad in season one, believes that Ned Stark's youngest daughter may be the only character to make it out of the series finale alive. Williams herself has described Arya's final scene as "beautiful."

Game of Thrones will begin airing its final season on HBO in April 2019.

Look Back at All 23 MCU Films With the Infinity Saga Box Set Trailer

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

While there had been plenty of popular Marvel movies prior to 2008’s Iron Man, everything changed when Robert Downey Jr. stepped into the role of Tony Stark and began the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that came the Infinity Saga, the culmination of all 23 films of phases one, two, and three of the MCU, concluding with the bittersweet Avengers: Endgame earlier this year. While fans are no doubt excited to follow Phase 4 with all the new, exciting films to come, nothing will ever be the same again.

Now that it’s all over, Marvel Studios is releasing an Infinity Saga box set of all the MCU films so far, and according to ComicBook.com, the upcoming release has also come with an emotional trailer. After debuting at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this summer, fans can now see the trailer on YouTube. 

The trailer features the biggest moments in the Infinity Saga leading up to Iron Man snapping the universe back into place, and sacrificing himself in the process. “What a world—universe, now,” Tony’s voice narrates. He’s got that right.

With Phase 4 of the MCU not picking back up until May 2020 with Black Widow, buying this box set might not be a bad idea. A release date has not been announced yet.

El Camino, the Breaking Bad Movie, Is Coming to Theaters

Doug Hyun/AMC
Doug Hyun/AMC

On October 11, Netflix will unleash El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie on the world at midnight. But for those Los Pollos Hermanos-loving fans who want the theatrical experience, Entertainment Weekly reports that the film will also screen in cinemas across 68 cities from October 11 to October 13.

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan told The Hollywood Reporter that he filmed the movie—his feature film directorial debut—in CinemaScope 2.39 wide-screen format, making it an ideal film to watch in a theater. “Every time we’d put out a new season of Breaking Bad, we would have a premiere in a big movie theater,” Gilligan said. “I always thought, ‘This thing, it looks like a movie. It doesn’t look like a show.’ I really want to be able to share that with fans.”

Not much is known about the Jesse Pinkman movie, which filmed in secrecy last year. However, during this Sunday’s Emmys broadcast, a longer trailer will be released.

Here’s what we do know, though: Gilligan told The Hollywood Reporter he worked with a fairly high budget and was able to film outside of Albuquerque. Ten “familiar” Breaking Bad characters will make appearances, including Jesse's beloved pal Badger. No matter what, the movie—whether watched in theaters, on your couch, or at your desk—will be an epic event.

To find tickets, click here and type in your city. Several shows in NYC are already sold out, so it’s best to purchase tickets sooner rather than later.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]