Dónal Finn wanted to ‘make Mat his own’ after Wheel of Time recast

The Wheel of Time season 2 official trailer

Dónal Finn was eager to make the character of Mat Cauthon his own when he was chosen to replace Barney Harris for the Prime Video series.

Mat was introduced in the first season of Wheel of Time in 2021 as a village gambler whom the powerful Aes Sedai Moiraine Damodred (played by Rosamund Pike) suspects could be the Dragon Reborn.

He joined Moiraine and a group of other potential candidates in a quest to stop the Dark One but abandoned his companions when they entered the corrupted Ways.

“What I thought was the most useful is that I looked at all of the season one scripts as this, kind of, backstory or narrative,” Finn said of his approach to the new role.

“So, when I picked up at the start of season two, it was like meeting any other character.”

READ MORE The first 3 episodes of The Wheel of Time season 2 will be landing in one go

Finn’s predecessor Harris departed the series after the first season was shut down by the Covid-19 pandemic, but an official reason hasn’t been given.

Thankfully, Finn already had the first season – and the novels by bestselling author Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson – to base his performance on.

“What you don’t get with any other character is this massive wealth of source material and the context when you meet them.

“All the scenes that you would have to write in your head I had on the page in eight episodes. And that was a hugely helpful resource to build the picture of where Mat is at that moment.”

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The actor also expressed his hope that fans will understand recastings often have to be made, even after they’ve grown attached to a particular portrayal of their favorite characters.

“I’ve been a fan of things,” he said. “I know what it’s like from the fans’ perspective when there’s a recasting.

“For me it would have been Dumbledore [in the Harry Potter films], the change between Richard Harris and Michael Gambon.

“Ultimately, there was an ease with that because I loved both so much for what they did and I could admire what it takes to do that.

“I just tried to make the thing my own. I thought that’s what was best for the fans, because there’s something uniquely true as opposed to being fixed on something that had happened before.

“It’s just an amazing opportunity,” he concluded.

“It’s a character that I know so many people love, and to be bringing him to life and being able to bring myself to it where it’s suitable feels like a really joyous thing as an actor.”

New episodes of The Wheel of Time will begin dropping on Prime Video this Friday, so hopefully, it won’t take viewers long to warm up to this new version of the beloved adventurer.

The Wheel of Time season 2 releases Fridays on Amazon Prime Video.

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