The series first premiered in 2021. Starring Rosamund Pike, the show is based on a series of beloved books of the same name by Robert Jordan. Pike plays Moiraine, a member of the Aes Sedai, a group of women with mystical powers. Moiraine travels to a small village where she collects a group of young people all with the potential to be the reincarnation of the Dragon. Whoever is the Dragon possesses the ability to save the world from a great evil, or destroy the world if they so wish. As the group embarks on a journey, each person realizes their important role in the world’s future.
Season 1 starred a number of newer faces, who, similarly to the cast of Game of Thrones, would no doubt have had The Wheel of Time as a major breakout role. One of the show’s notable characters, Mat Cauthon, was originally played by Barney Harris in Season 1. In the second season, however, Harris is no longer part of the cast. Instead, he’s been replaced by Dònal Finn.
But fans who weren’t paying attention to any news leading up to the premiere of The Wheel of Time Season 2 probably have some questions. When did the casting change happen? Why? Are any other characters changing actors? We’ve got all the info you need.
Why Did Barney Harris Leave The Wheel of Time?
In September 2021, two months before Season 1 premiered, Deadline reported Harris would no longer play Mat Cauthon, and instead, Finn would take over.
Although there’s no official reason why Harris left the show, according to Insider, the COVID-19 pandemic paused production on Season 1. Harris only filmed the first six episodes of the show, and did not return when production resumed. Viewers will likely notice the final two episodes of Season 1 feature less of Mat Cauthon than previous episodes.
Who Is Dònal Finn?
Prior to his The Wheel of Time casting, the Irish actor was best known for his work on The Witcher, Cursed, and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.
During an Insider interview for Season 2, the search for the new Mat Cauthon was “exhaustive” according to the show’s director Thomas Napper. “He has a real lightness of touch. He’s a really, really wonderful spirit and a great sort of team player. So he just was like a duck to water,” Napper says.
Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.