The 25 Most Controversial Recasting Decisions in TV and Film History

“House of the Dragon” has officially swapped Emily Carey for Millie Alcock and Olivia Cooke for Emma D’Arcy. IndieWire rounded up the more controversial actor shakeups, from “The Mummy” to “Bewitched.”

Most controversial restructuring decision

Most controversial restructuring decision

Everett Collection / HBO

Just five weeks into its run and HBO’s “House of the Dragon” looks wildly different from the series’ pilot.

Titled “We Light the Way”, the fifth episode in the widely-watched “Game of Thrones” prequel incorporates a decade-long leap: effectively leading the Machiavellian maneuvers of conciliatory courtiers at its center. Wartime drama to enhance and keep Westeros on the fast track. It’s a smart enough strategy to use a sweeping fantasy epic, but the resulting aging of multiple characters also meant saying goodbye to many “House of the Dragon” stars when the audience got to know them.

So far, Rainera Targaryen has been played by the fiery Millie Alcock: a 22-year-old Australian actress who has garnered widespread praise for her reserved but still mischievous role on Dragon-Riding Princess. The part has since been taken by 30-year-old English actress Emma D’Arcy, best known for films such as Eva Hussein’s “Mothering Sunday” and TV series such as Nick Frost and Simon Pegg’s “Truth Seekers”.

Queen Alicent Hightower has also been recast. The cunning ruler was initially played by 19-year-old British actress Emily Carey, who previously portrayed the younger counterparts of both “Wonder Woman” and “Tomb Raider” heroines. 28-year-old English actress Olivia Cooke—who most recently played a key role in Apple TV+’s “Slow Horse” but also appeared in films like “Ready Player One,” “Thoroughbreds,” and “Me and Earl and the Dying” have been given. Girl” – now reigns as the second wife of King Viserys Targaryen.

Other “House of the Dragon” characters you’ll see later played by new actors include Lenore Valerian (formerly Matthew Carver and Theo Nate, now John Macmillan); Lana Valerian (formerly Nova Foulis-Mosse and Savannah Stan, now Nanna Blondel); among other smaller Westeros players. Only time will tell how fans react and relate to the massive mid-season overhaul, but the personnel pivot will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable in TV history.

To honor the occasion, IndieWire looks at 25 of the most controversial decisions in the “The Mummy” franchise, from Evie O’Connell to “Bewitched”’s Darin Stephens, on the big and small screens.

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