Amazon Prime Video is recasting one of the main characters in The Wheel of Time, but it may be years before fans see the change take effect. Barney Harris plays the mischievous Mat Cauthon in The Wheel of Time Season 1, which premieres on Nov. 19, 2021. Season 2 of the epic fantasy series is already underway, and according to a report by Deadline actor Dónal Finn will now be playing Mat instead.
The Wheel of Time adaptation has been in the works for many years, and it has been hit with many bumps in the road before, but perhaps none like this. Mat Cauthon is one of the undisputed central figures of the story, and many fans were very pleased with Harris' casting from the start. The news that Harris is leaving and that Mat is being recast so early in the series has some fans worried about the quality of the show - or at least its longevity. For now, that's all hearsay among fans, and it's not clear why Harris left the production.
Here's what we know about Dónal Finn replacing Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon.— Dragonmount.com (@dragonmount) September 20, 2021
tl;dr: not much. Extremely unlikely to be performance-related. Probably due to other factors. Wishing Barney health & happiness.#thewheeloftime #twitteroftime #WoTonPrime https://t.co/cHjmp7v6dq
The Wheel of Time is one of the front-runners to be the "next Game of Thrones" so many streaming services are searching for. Accordingly, Amazon Video poured a huge amount of money into the show, and ordered a second season of it back in May shortly after filming on Season 2 had wrapped. The show has been filmed mostly in the Czech Republic, with occasional delays for COVID-19 when necessary.
Harris generally seemed enthusiastic about the production last year in posts on social media, but he closed those accounts in September of 2020 around the time that filming resumed. Fans felt that the personality he exhibited there was a perfect fit for his character - a charismatic, mischievous boy who parlays a skill for small-town pranks into a globe-trotting adventure. Finn seems to fit the bill as well. He has made appearances in Netflix's The Witcher and Cursed, along with other TV and movie credits.
The Wheel of Time is one of the longest, most fleshed-out fantasy series in the genre, comprised of 14 main novels, one prequel novel and two encyclopedia-style companion books. It is set in a world that was once an advanced magical utopia, but is now a broken remnant of its former self obscured by mystery. Some women are able to use "the One Power" in this world, but men who attempt to do so typically go insane and become violent under its magical influence.
The story centers around a group of rural teenagers - Rand (Josha Stradowski), Mat, Perrin (Marcus Rutherford), Egwene (Madeleine Madden) and Nanaeve (Zoë Robins), who are thrust out of their village and into an adventure that will decide the fate of their world. They are guided by an experienced magic-user - or "Aes Sedai" - named Moiraine, played by Rosamund Pike, and her "Warder" Lan, played by Daniel Henney. The Wheel of Time premieres on Friday, Nov. 19 on Amazon Video.