John Bradley will forever have a place in the hearts of Game of Thrones fans as Samwell Tarley, the bookish Night’s Watchman who began as a coward and grew into one of the most loyal and steadfast characters on the show. These days, Bradley’s doing quite a few other projects. He recently appeared in the rom-com Marry Me opposite Jennefer Lopez and Owen Wilson, and he also stars in the new Roland Emmerich disaster flick Moonfall, which hits theaters tomorrow.
Bradley’s been doing press tours and talking up the film, but of course, with a series as monumental as Game of Thrones under your belt, it’s pretty inevitable that people are going to ask about it, especially when the ending was so controversial. Bradley has some thoughts about the much-discussed fan backlash to the show’s final season. He’s hoping that with the heat of the moment behind them, people might eventually come to warm up to the show’s closing episodes.
“It is highly unlikely that we were ever going to please everybody,” Bradley said on an episode of the Just for Variety podcast. “Chances are we were going to please a fraction of people… We almost couldn’t win. It almost meant too much to people for them to really ever be satisfied. And who knows, when the wounds have healed a little bit in a few years time, maybe people will reevaluate it and be able to see it as a complete thing.”
John Bradley defends Game of Thrones showrunners
In Moonfall, Bradley plays a conspiracy theorist whose wild theories prove to have some serious truths behind them. Game of Thrones was certainly no stranger to wild fan theories during its run, but there’s one in particular that Bradley has found frustrating: that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss “didn’t care anymore” by the time the final season came around.
“If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t choose to be standing in a field in Belfast at 3 o’clock in the morning for months on end,” Bradley said. “They wanted to make it as good as possible, and it’s a shame if people didn’t like it because we did try our best to make something very special.”
Bradley happens to be one of only two Game of Thrones alums that Benioff and Weiss have tapped for their upcoming Netflix project The Three Body Problem, based on the monumentally popular sci-fi novels by Chinese author Cixin Liu. (The other is Davos Seaworth actor Liam Cunningham.)
“It’s a real joy. I’m so delighted that they picked me and just really grateful,” Bradley told The Hollywood Reporter when asked about reuniting with Benioff and Weiss. “And you know, it’s no secret some of the feedback they’ve gotten [about the final season of Game of Thrones]. And what they haven’t done is take the easy way out. They’ve given themselves another show that’s so ambitious. Elements of it make Game of Thrones look like it was playing it safe. I’ve never read a script with more scope to it, with a wider degree of themes and characters, and there’s all sorts of scientific principles. They picked a very ambitious project. I just really hope I can play a part in making a great success and maybe right a couple of wrongs and get them back to where I think they deserve to be in the public eye. So, fingers crossed.”
"I think the legacy of [Game of Thrones] is only becoming more and more apparent as time goes on. The fact there seems to be a brand-new blockbuster TV show on every week now. You almost forget that when we started our show there was none of that. We were the first to do appointment TV that had the entire world talking, or the first to do that for a long time or maybe ever on that scale. Now things like Squid Game and the Marvel stuff has the world talking. But it feels like our legacy is that we set a template for what TV could be doing then raised the ceiling. People should remember what a special show it was and how it was like no TV we had ever seen before. All the shows now we think are great owe a bit of debt to what Dan and David and HBO and everybody involved did."
You can catch John Bradley in Moonfall, coming exclusively to theaters on February 4.