Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss told Entertainment Weekly, "The Red Viper is sexy and charming, yet believably dangerous; intensely likable, yet driven by hate. The boys love him, the girls love him, and he loves them all back. Unless your last name is Lannister."
Pascal's casting announcement is the first major casting news for Season 4, but some fans are wondering if Pascal was truly the right actor for the part. While the show usually nails its casting, there have been some exceptions to that rule. For example, the role of Gregor Clegane was recast after Season 1, and some fans would still like to see the role recast yet again!
Here are three reasons Pascal might have been the wrong choice for the role of Oberyn Martell.
1. Low name recognition
Other than recurring roles of "The Good Wife" and "Graceland," Pascal is rather unknown to most TV fans. Obviously, an actor's ability is more important than their fame; however, the casting of fan-favorite Oberyn was a chance for the producers to generate a ton of buzz for the new season.
The casting of a more recognizable actor would have had another bonus: fan retention. While it's not likely that "Thrones" is going to start hemorrhaging viewers in Season 4, there are some fans of the show that are wary of getting invested in new characters after the events of the Red Wedding.
The show is so popular now that it would have been easy to get a really big-name star to join the cast as Oberyn, and that likely would have drawn in more fans.
2. The fans didn't want him
In the lead-up to the casting announcement, plenty of TV critics and bloggers weighed in with their thoughts about who should play Martell. The AV Club's Les Chappell argued that the former "Borgias" star François Arnaud should have been considered for the part, while Wetpaint's list of dream actors for the part of Oberyn included Idris Elba, Naveen Andrews, Oded Fehr, and Cliff Simon.
While fans shouldn't have absolute authority over casting decisions, it's odd that producers went with an actor who didn't even appear to be on the radar of any "Game of Thrones" devotees.
3. The role could have been filled by an actor from a different ethnic background
Most of the actors on "Thrones" are white or look like they have an predominantly European background. This is something the show has taken a lot of flack for over the years. Many fans were hoping that the actor cast as the Red Viper would have an African or Middle-Eastern look about him.
George R.R. Martin has previously stated that Dorne was partially inspired by Palestine and Moorish Spain. For a show that is often criticized for a mostly Caucasian cast, this was a missed opportunity to silence critics and improve the show's racial balance.
While Pascal's Chilean background is a plus, there are many fans who lament yet another missed opportunity to showcase the talents of actors of African or Middle-Eastern descent, who are often marginalized on TV.
- Arts & Entertainment