Out on X, fans waiting for any drip of news regarding House of the Dragon or any other Game of Thrones successor got their wish today ... maybe. This casting call began to make the rounds of fandom, fromthe official account of British casting director Lucy Bevan:
**OPEN CASTING CALL** - we're currently searching for two leading roles in an upcoming HBO series. Details on the flyer below. Please share! Thanks so much.#casting #castingcall #opencall #audition pic.twitter.com/gppnlTSEil— Lucy Bevan Casting (@CastingLucy) October 20, 2023
It’s an open casting for an HBO show, presumably filming or about the UK, and they’re looking for just two characters right now which suggests they’re leads: a young boy of 9-10 with green or blue eyes, pale skin, and a “neutral English accent”, and then a “soldier” who is at least 6’4” tall with a “humble disposition” who is also “perceptive and thoughtful” and of any ethnicity. This seems suspiciously like what HBO would call for when casting for the roles of Egg and Ser Duncan the Tall, respectively, for the straight-to-series A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight!
Obviously, “any ethnicity” will draw the eye of some. Those who want characters to look as much like how they’re described in GRRM’s writing will, of course, wince at that, as Dunk is quite thoroughly described and has been depicted by many artists (including in the graphic novels by Mike S. Miller and Ben Avery) and he’s a pretty typical Kingslander writ large (in fact, he’s nearer to 7’ than he’s 6’4”, but obviously actors of that height are few and far between.)
However, one could say there’s only a couple of truly key features of Dunk: that he’s tall, that he’s a peasant from Flea Bottom, and… well, he’s the ancestor of Brienne of Tarth (a detail GRRM has confirmed outside of the text, but the details of which have only been hinted so far), played by Gwendoline Christie in Game of Thrones. Our guess is that he is her great-grandfather, considering his birthdate.
For those who’ve followed both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, the fact that the peasantry of King’s Landing have variously been cast from Malta, Croatia, and Spain certainly has given the smallfolk a deal of range of appearances. And King’s Landing is, of course, a great port with visitors from far afield. It’s not even necessarily the case that Dunk is Brienne’s ancestor within the TV show universe. As I understand it, it’s never directly established in the TV show, although of course writer Bryan Cogman’s season 8 episode, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, the episode in which Brienne gets her knighthood, was intended as a nod to GRRM’s intentions. Regardless, Dunk’s appearance seems to have flexibility for casting purposes… well, unless one particular theory on his relation to Brienne (involving speculation about one of Egg’s sisters and a lovechild passed off as her Tarth husband’s) is true (we personally are undecided among the competing theories—we can see arguments for all of the non-tinfoil ones).
But again, the TV show universe can establish its own thing, especially as regards to characters who may never be featured on the show. It certainly poses no real worldbuilding questions in the way that House of the Dragon did and which that show’s showrunners acknowledged directly.
One of the more exciting aspects of the show, besides the fact that George and Ryan Condal are both involved to some degree (but not showrunning, that’ll be handled Ira Parker), is that earlier this year an HBO executive indicated that they hoped to film at least three seasons (for the three novellas) in consecutive years, basically returning to a yearly release schedule:
“As to how long The Hedge Knight is envisioned to run, “ideally year-to-year and arcing out a three-season series, which maps out the three novellas that George wrote,” Orsi said. “Of course, we’d like more beyond that, and George is continuing to think about the remaining novellas that he still wants to write but at this point, we have our eye on three seasons that would map out each book, each novella.”
Given that a show like House of the Dragon, with its extensive need for VFX, takes more like a year and a half to complete, the fact that the Dunk & Egg story would have a lot less need for that level of VFX (particularly for dragons, of which there are basically none outside of dream visions in the novellas), would help make that a reality and perhaps make it a nice way to have some sort of Game of Thrones successor on every year rather than occasionally getting them every other year.
We’ll keep our eyes open for any other suspicious casting notices, particularly for some likely characters for the first season, like the Chivalrous Lord, the Brooding Prince, the Mad Lordling, the Wastrel, the Green Youth…