Daario Naharis Game of Thrones Interview

Ed Skrein (Daario 1.0) Says That He “Didn’t Walk Away” from Game of Thrones

Figuring out why exactly actor Ed Skrein left the role of Daario Naharis after the third season of Game of Thrones is one of the enduring mysteries of the show. The last time the actor sat down to talk about the topic, he said that “[i]t wasn’t as straightforward a decision as it’s been made out in the press…In a lot of ways I would have loved to have carried on and stayed working on that.” Okay, great. But were there other ways in which you didn’t want to carry on, and did those ways outnumber the first kind of ways?

Skrein—who’s currently headlining The Transporter Refueled, an action movie that opens this weekend—recently fielded questions on the topic again with toofab, and his answers clarified…very little. “Contrary to reports, I didn’t walk away [from the show],” he said. “I wouldn’t walk away, there are very few things in my life I’ve walked away from. This is a complicated industry and there’s always politics involved.” Okay, now that answer seems to imply that the producers decided to replace Skrein, but it’s still kind of murky. If he just said “I was fired,” it would really clear things up. And in any case, does saying that he “didn’t walk away” necessarily imply that he was asked to leave? Maybe this is more of a “I didn’t walk away—I decided to pursue other opportunities” situation.

There’s video of Skrein saying this stuff over on toofab, by the way. I hope Skrein can live with himself knowing that I’ll be rewatching it ad nauseam looking for clues in his intonation, because it’s difficult for me to leave well enough alone.


Ed Skrein in The Transporter Refueled. He knows something. WHAT DO YOU KNOW?

Anyway, Skrein also talked to The Huffington Post about the topic.

In this industry you have politics and things like that, so nothing is ever as straight forward as it’s reported. It was a character that I would’ve loved to have continued to portray, and he’s a wonderful character, but you know Michiel Huisman’s done a great job taking over the mantle, and that’s the way it goes, you know?

I’ll just let that comment hang there, beautiful and terrible in its ambiguity. At this rate, Skrein is becoming famous enough that he won’t ever need to clarify precisely what happened on Game of Thrones, which can’t be good for my sleep.


    • Loser. I think you sit by your mommy’s computer just to type the first comment. Now uncross those eyes, and wipe that drool off your chin.

      • Ah, that’s not rude at all. If the site is going to send five notifications to my phone, I’m going to acknowledge it so it will stop. My “mommy’s” computer is many states away so your logic is flawed. Thanks for being classy.

  • I’m sure Michael Huisman is a very nice guy, and maybe a younger Jorah type, but losing Skrein is still one of the bigger blunders on this show. He was a perfect Daario.

      • I was re-watching 501 with my very unsullied wife last night, and she spontaneously blurted out “Why the hell did they switch actors? The first guy was so much better”.

        A few minutes later during the Mel+Jon in the lift scene, she said something along the lines of “Gross! Isn’t she like a hundred years old?”

        It’s funny what she picks up on.

    • Skrein was creepy and sort of gross, like a depraved romance novel villain. I could never envision Dany falling for him and saw no chemistry between them at all. At least book Daario was flirty, the only part of him I liked, and Daario 2 captured that. Although he was a killer in the books his purpose was to influence Dany with a sexual relationship. Bedroom politics. No way to Skrein carrying that out. Sorry. But just no.

      • I agree, Eden. I try to imagine Skrein delivering the bedroom dialogue in season 5 and it just doesn’t work. Huisman is a more personable actor, even if he is a tad on the dull side. Skrein had the bravado down, but he wasn’t likable about it. Like you said, he just seemed kinda creepy.

        Neither of them are true to the book character and I don’t know whether trying to pull off the book character would have worked, but neither version of Daario on the show has really worked all that well for me. Right from the beginning, I thought he was just a strange character that Dany had no reason to trust or like or keep around. I liked him a bit better in season 5 than seasons 3 or 4, though. Hopefully he’ll either keep getting better or get killed off soon.

  • Sure. Now that his Transporter attempt turned out to be a piece of sh*t (as was expected after all), he is trying to cover up his poor career decision. But one has to wonder what’s actually worse – to be fired from GoT, or to willingly accept a role in a Luc Besson produced movie.

    • Poor career decision or not, it was another way for him to not be too dependent on just one entity (not saying the other actors are, given that they have been known for other projects as well as GoT) Who knows Macejko what happened behind the scenes, anytime someone says something about “politics” then it means something else was involved and he wasn’t willing to compromise too much of himself in order to stay “on” if you know what I mean…… take that for what you will folks.

      • I wonder if Skein did not want to do the nude scenes for Dario.

        Emilia stated in an interview prior to the recast that her storyline would involve some romance. Perhaps Skein was uncomfortable with the push for nudity by HBO execs.

        • Sounds like a good possibility red lady. Or that he didn’t get along with Emilia. One thing is certain, he was fired for a reason!

    • Something tells me you’ve never seen Leon the professional or the Fifth Element. Luc Besson is a great director. No comment on Ed Skrein

    • Transporter ha. The reviews are awful and include his bad performance. One if the reviews stated something like “he has one facial expression, a pout” and I had to laugh because that exactly what I thought when seeing him on screen in GoT. No emotion, nothing to read on his face. I cringed and felt bad for him. It was a blessing he was let go, for his own sake. He needs much more seasoning as an actor.

  • He looks much better with short hair than with that long wig. I think his interpretation of Daario was more similar to the book character.I like Michael too, he is cute and has good chemistry with Danny. But he is a completely different character and he doesn’t look as dangerous or believable as an assassin and mercenary like Skrein’s character.

  • Wild speculation on my part, but I’m guessing that he didn’t get along with Emilia Clarke. The “politics” mention is really the only clue, though.

    What I really didn’t understand about the replacement is why they decided to simultaneously change the look and demeanor of the character entirely. I guess they expected casual viewers to remember his name?

    • Adam. I agree on the “Emilia” comment. But word on the street at the time was that viewers seriously disliked his portayal. And I think the show runners realized their mistake with the characterization, so they bit the bullet and went in a new direction. Thankfully!!

    • I agree..I dont think it was his choice at all..I think Emilia didnt want his in the role….I like the new Dario but I really liked Ed better in the role..I think he wss way more believable..I think they just wanted to keep Emilia happy..shes one of the main stars of the show…..I wish Ed all the best….

  • So glad Skrein left. He did not suit the role at all.
    I wont even state the obvious about him not looking or acting anything like the book Daario. He just wasn’t didnt have the swagger to carry the role off – his scene look more creepy then confident. . .

    • More creepy than confident yes, that is well said. Michiel has always come off as confident and with a sense of humor (also true to book Daario) and definitely not creepy. Also so nice to look at. I give him all the points for his bravery in taking on this role knowing that recasts are notoriously difficult no matter the dituation. Kudus to him.

  • From what I surmised, he left the show to pursue “Transporter” as headlining a major action flick sounded like a batter career move than a guest actor on a show. It’s the same reason why Rakharo left the show. He got an offer to be the lead on “Scorpion” and he took it. For Rakharo, that worked out in terms of “Scorpion”‘s ratings. But leaving “Thrones” for “Transporter” seems like a definite mistake, considering the film’s reception.

    Or maybe it’s something else entirely.

    • Headlining an action movie (especially one that has sequel potential) has to pay more then being a side character for several seasons on a TV show. I think he made the smart choice, even if the movie is terrible (which it probably is).

    • Except that he wasn’t a guest actor. Daario is a regular role that has lasted across 4 seasons now. Huisman’s in the title credits. A guest role would be more along the lines of Karsi and Loboda in Hardhome or Ciaran Hinds as Mance. Just one or two episodes here and there.

  • Definitely the hotter Daario, and more of what I envisioned. Huisman is a fine actor but he’s kinda meh…sorta ‘just there’.

  • The general consensus sounds like it’s split 50/50 on new/old daario. I’m neither do anything for me. Where’s the purple hair

  • His path is still better off without Thrones. Let’s see, a bit part as a second tier character with second tier money OR headlining a movie franchise and also being the bad guy in the upcoming Deadpool movie. Oh yeah, GOT is still on his resume. His arrow is pointing up.

  • I’m must be one of the few who actually really liked Ed’s Darrio, except for his hair and make-up designing. That stupid wig made Skrien look weird and it did not convey the Darrio we expected at all. But his performance was spot on, that nonchalant type of devil may care attitude was perfect. This man beheads his friends, betrays an entire city and sleeps like a baby. Some may say it was better writing but I think it was better execution. That F@*$ING wig generated all the negative fan response which led to a “mutual” PR based split.

    I just wish that instead of recasting him they just gave Michael Huisman’s character a different name and a new introduction. He could have been a one off during the war for Meereen. This would have been better for the shows continuity and made a unique situation. Like with Lady Talisa, a new name and altered identity was totally accepted by the community. Darrio is and always was a composite character of Brown Ben, her Bloodriders and now Barristan anyway. A new name and one sentence of dialogue could have exited Darrio 1.0, added Darrio 2.0 and killed all of this controversy and comparison I’m the crib. Just like Trouserless Bob Baratheon would have let Varys do if D&D had taken a page out of Tywin’s playbook.

  • I think Huisman’s performance is closer to the books than Skrein’s. Skrein was a total miscast for the role. It’s too bad Skrein took on that role. He couldn’t have been more polar opposite to Daario in the books. It’s too bad because I think he would have made a really good Arthur Dayne. Huisman is with no doubt an improvement but I kind of blame the casting director for that one. I think there was a role for Skrein. He just picked the wrong role in my opinion. The guy really looks like an Arthur Dayne to me.

  • I’ve wondered about the why’s of recasting Dario often. I thought maybe they decided he looked more like another character we haven’t seen yet. Like a flashback scene with RHAEGAR TARGARYEN!

  • Oh well, what’s done is done anyways whether he really walked away or not, he’s ended up in a bad critically reviewed film and will probably continue to get B list supporting roles while Michiel Huisman is holding both a starring main contract role on a big successful TV show and working on other small successful indie films, I think in the long run Michiel Huisman has gotten the better end of the deal

    • Belinda you are so right. Michiel def got the better deal. He lands far better movies and shows. Orphan Black. Age of Adaline, the Chanel short, Wild, The Invitation (wait til you see that one! Omg), plus 2 movies he just filmed in leading roles. There is no question he is a far superior actor . I adore his Daario.

  • The new guy is just…forgettable, what has Daario done? Banged mother of dragons? I cant even remember a line he said! But I can for almost every other character

    • I always remember the “… and slaughter them all.” line and his whole spiel about big muscled men in Daznak’s Pit, “The big men were always too slow to stop my dagger from going where their muscles weren’t.” That’s probably Huisman’s best scene so far, and I don’t think Skrein could have pulled it off as well.

  • No matter how it worked out, I think they’re both good Dario’s. However, I prefer new(er) Dario because I think he’s able to show a wider variety of emotions and he can be funny; I really don’t think comedy suits 1.0..

  • Sorry, but Skrein’s Daario looked like a plummer in a porn movie… I somehow missed the dialogue:

    – So, these are my Dragons! Wanna touch’em?
    – Yeah, but will you show me your cave first?


  • I’m not a huge fan of Michael Huisman’s Daario Naharis. He doesn’t seem at all intimidating or ruthless. He’s meant to be the leader of a band of the meanest sell swords on the planet, bona fide killers (The Hound was thinking of joining them), but he looks more like the heartthrob in a Hollywood rom-com.

    Ed Skrein wasn’t much better, in my opinion, but at least he looked big enough and strange enough to be a bit more believable as a mercenary.

    If you take somebody like Kit Harington as Jon Snow, you can believe that he’s a tough character despite his pretty boy looks because the character is specifically characterised as having been brought up to be noble and selfless. And he’s shown to be fallible. No dagger thrown into the eye of a cantering horse, for Jonny-boy. No, he’s getting beaten up by White Walkers, knocked out by Craster, shot with arrows by Ygritte, disarmed and stabbed by Clubfoot Karl, and repeatedly humiliated or criticised…

    Nikolai Coster-Waldau also: the character of Jaime Lannister is shown quite clearly to be arrogant and preening, but committed to perfecting his ability as a swordsman, yet still fallible. Matched by Ned Stark and Brienne, humiliated by Robert and Tywin, caught by the Northerners, maimed by Locke and now permanently disadvantaged.

    Daario Naharis, I just don’t buy it when he looks the way Michael Huisman does as well as being seemingly infallible. He’s meant to be a ruthless, battle-hardened sellsword, not the model in an aftershave commercial.

    At least Ed Skrein, with his lantern jaw and dodgy teeth looked like he might have been in a fight before.

    I understand that they obviously wanted to cast somebody who would be believable as a love interest for Daenerys (and some viewers), but they still could have cast somebody with a bit more character to their face and looks, especially if they weren’t going to show Daario to be fallible in any other way.

    • Darrio is written as almost frighteningly amoral. He likes to wax poetic and stroke Dany’s ego but all he really wants to do is f#&$ a queen and kill people. When Darrio 1.0 arrived it was book Darrio the most people complained he wasn’t enough alike.

      “I count no day as lived unless I have loved a woman, slain a foeman, and eaten a fine meal…”

      “My sword is yours. My life is yours. My love is yours. My blood, my body, my songs, you own them all. I live and die at your command, fair queen.”

      “I trust all my men. Just as far as I can spit.”

      “Better the butcher than the meat. All kings are butchers. Are queens so different?”

      Daenerys: You boasted that you’d had a hundred women.
      Daario: A hundred? I lied, sweet queen. It was a thousand. But never once a dragon.

      Daenerys: Where are you going?
      Daario: Out into your city, to drink a keg or two and pick a quarrel. It has been too long since I’ve killed a man. Might be I should seek out your betrothed.

      Daenerys: He has a sellsword’s conscience, That is to say, none at all.

      Daenerys: Her love for Darrio is poison. A slower poison than locusts, but in the end as deadly.

      Now, I just ripped these quotes off the wiki and there are others that further the argument but you get the point, Darrio is extremely single minded. Dany knows that at some point her affair wirh Darrio is going to end in blood. I personally really like Michael H as an actor and I’ve seen most everything he’s done from Treme to Orphan Black over to Age of Adaline and on to GoT. I just don’t get homicidal from him at all. Which to me is Darrio’s defining characteristic or if nothing else my favorite. I did get that vibe from Darrio 1.0 and nothing has changed except the actor.

      • See, that sounds like a far more interesting character. And I don’t think Huisman could have pulled it off. Skrein might have been able to.

        I can only assume that they’ve removed Daario’s most interesting characteristics in order that he doesn’t completely outshine Jorah, who they seem intent on stretching out the unrequited love story with.

  • Skrein is FAR SUPERIOR to MH as Daario. That was and is the still the biggest blunder of GOT to date. Neither guy matches the outrageous look of the book character but who cares. Skrein is the only one that pulls of the mercenary type killer that the show is making him out to be, MH seems very weak and not intimidating at all. Everyone that I know personally loathes the switch to MH. Too bad, I still hope sometimes that HBO fixes this awful mistake.

    • And therein lies the fault in your response. They did not focus on the mercenary leader side (have you even seen him with any of his 2000 men)? Not one real interaction (maybe him nodding to one of his guards is all we got there). They wanted to focus on his relationship with Dany, all sexy like, and that’s what they did. They needed someone believable at that and Ed just wasn’t it. Michiel has done an amazing job with that and with his fight scenes and knife skills. I think people got hung up on Ed’s face and smirk as a toughguy. But the last two seasons have been about being a sex/love interest. Even in the books that is his bigger role. The rest is mostly background noise. If Ed was in the last two seasons as Daario, I would not be able to even watch Dany’s scenes with him. And if Michiel had been in season 3 to start with he’d have done an amazing job with it.

      • It would be a mistake for D&D to “fix it” and create a Daario 3.0. This switch from 1.0 to 2.0 would not have been a big thing except ES portrayed Daario as impulsive man of action type, not considering consequences like Jamie. Where as MH portrays Daario as more strategic. So there was a noticeable change in Daario’s personality when MH took over. That is definitely upsetting to continuity. I think 2.0 is the right one for a leader of a band of mercenaries. Too bad MH wasn’t Daario from the beginning.

        • They should have just made a completely new character for Huisman to play. Just say that Daario got killed or skipped out or something and then introduce Huisman’s character as a new love interest. It’d feel forced, but not as forced as trying to pass off Huisman as being the same character that Skrein played.

          As a general rule of thumb, I say try to avoid recasting a role if you can. It’s just such a fourth-wall breaker. Especially on a show like Game of Thrones that is so believable and immersive. The Mountain, I can deal with because he’s a relatively minor character… Tommen and Myrcella I can deal with because they were minor characters and they’re kids growing up across seasons, so it’s somewhat believable that they would change in looks. But for a character as major as Daario, and actors as different looking as Skrein and Huisman… It’s the biggest hole in the show’s continuity so far and it could have been avoided. The name and character of “Daario Nahaaris” isn’t as important as maintaining a believable world for a show like this. It’d be better to just drop that character and introduce a new one than try to make us buy this huge discrepancy between seasons.

      • From my point of view, MH does not do it at all. He does not seem believable or dangerous. He just doesn’t have the “badass” demeanor that Ed conveyed. As far as the interaction between Daario and Dany I thought it was just fine. I agree with AWS, if they were going to do the switch, make a new character. Honestly for me, everytime MH is on the screen, its painful to watch because he doesn’t have the look of a killer so it destroys his scenes …its really as simple as that. I agree its too late to fix now, too bad they mishandled Daario brutally. The other character changes weren’t really a big deal like AWS said but I think they could have mitigated some of the Daario hate by choosing a better replacement. It was just a poor choice of an actor coming after what Ed did with Daario.

  • You have to remember that most people who watch the show did not read the books. And for Daario, many book readers hated him in the books anyway. If you look at the scenes and hear the dialogue the writers provided, Michiel was a much better fit. People should stop trying to fit an actor into what they think the character SHOULD be and fit the actor to the scenes provided. If you don’t like the direction of the character, well that’s a writer issue.

  • Blahrio aka Daario 2.0 sucked. big mistake letting skrein go. he was kinda dreamy and worth obsessing over the way Dany does of Daario. Blahrio was not. it makes me question dany’s sanity and intelligence. Blahrio is a really bad actor and gives off a hipster-y pretension… hmm maybe he is a good daario after all since book!daario is generally awful and pretentious as fuck. terrible characte. skrein made him tolerable. i enjoyed Skrein’s daario more than book!daario and Blahrio.
    i thought he was super cool and i felt like he and emilia had more chemistry so i actually believed that she was falling for all his lines and smooth guy tricks in a believable way that doesnt belittle her intelligence. Blahrio has the personality of a lobster and not in a good stannis kind of way either. so dany to *heart eyes * over his cardboard personality is like “what?!” especially when she could have had Iain Glen all along. tv!jorah is so dreamy. dany’s a damn fool

    • I’ll never understand “Ed Skrein” and “dreamy” in the sàme breath. He has but one facial expression in just about everything he portrays, especially Daario and Frank Transporter Martin. You can have him. Lol. I’ll take the more perfect Daario.

  • Ed Skrein looks like Nicholas Hoult, right? Hoult could play Rhaegar Targaryen … well, now he is in many movies…