Hey, if Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson can do it, why can't Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin?
During the "Evening with Game of Thrones" event Tuesday at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, executive producer David Benioff announced that the popular fantasy author would be making a cameo appearance in the third season of the epic HBO series, premiering March 31.
"You will see him," Benioff revealed, noting that Martin was originally slated to make his HBO on-screen debut with a cameo he filmed for the Game of Thrones pilot episode. However, like Ned Stark himself, Martin felt the sharp blade of the infamous cutting room ax when "90 percent" of the pilot had to be re-shot after Emilia Clarke replaced Tamzin Merchant in the role of Daenarys Targaryen.
During a web chat last year, Martin explained that he had played a guest at Daenarys' wedding to Khal Drogo filmed in Morocco, but her role was recast and the scenes were re-shot after Martin had left the country. Regarding a future cameo appearance at the time, he mentioned his suggestion to the producers that they feature him as a severed head on a stick. No word on whether or not that is the plan.
While serving as a writer and producer on CBS's Beauty and the Beast, Martin scored his first cameo role during a 1988 episode of the contemporary fantasy series. He also appeared in digital form as a character in the Game of Thrones video game released by Cyanide Studios last year.
The event in Hollywood was sponsored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and featured a panel discussion with many of the show's stars, including Emmy Award winner Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark). Rob McElhenney, creator and star of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, served as the moderator.
As for the content of the series itself and where the battle for the Iron Throne will lead, Martin has quite a journey mapped out, revealing only, "There'll be a few people on the throne before it's over." Along with fellow executive producer D.B. Weiss, Benioff joked that George had already told them the ending of the series. Benioff received audible groans from the audience when he followed up with the news that HBO had yet to place an official order for Season 4.
Judging by comments from HBO executives in attendance, the greenlight is just a formality and will likely come after the Season 3 premiere posts the show's usual impressive numbers. CEO Richard Plepler described Game of Thrones as "modern-day Shakespeare," adding, "It re-imagines all the archetypes of our most memorable literature." Programming president Michael Lombardo was equally as effusive, praising the series as "a testament to what inspired producers working at the top of their game can do."
Although no spoilers were revealed for the upcoming season, Martin talked about the origins of his deal with Benioff and Weiss going back several years to a long lunch meeting at the Palm restaurant. "They took the ball and ran with it and next thing I know we're in business with HBO," he remarked.
Hard at work writing The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the book series entitled A Song of Fire and Ice, Martin recently signed a two-year overall deal with HBO to develop and produce new projects for the network. With so many irons in the fire, many fans are skeptical that he will ever finish his series of lengthy novels, which so far cover a total of 4,273 pages. Martin himself expressed concern that he isn't writing fast enough to keep up with the TV show. "They're moving faster than I am," he told the crowd.
Just writing this article makes me want to re-watch Season 2 of Game of Thrones. Good thing I picked up the Blu-ray recently. Will you be watching on March 31?