Game of Thrones to film soon in Villa Sheherezade – with Illyrio?

Sheher

Thanks to a tip from a reader, we’ve learned of a new filming location in Croatia for Game of Thrones season 5.

Reader WillDo has captured several images in Dubrovnik of GoT production crews working on a new site that is being readied for use in the next few days- the Villa Sheherezade. Our reader spotted the crews and took note of prop boxes waiting outside marked “Illyrio’s.”

Illyrio MopatisFans of Game of Thrones will recall the character Magister Illyrio Mopatis, introduced in season one and played by Roger Allam. Illyrio, the wealthy merchant of Pentos who sheltered Viserys and Daenerys for a time, has not been seen since episode five, “The Wolf and the Lion.” Arya came upon him mysteriously plotting with Varys in King’s Landing at that time.

These are the photos our reader has shared of the villa being set up for the show. The luxurious coastal villa would be a very suitable location for Magister Illyrio’s Pentos home.
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Sue the Fury: Fans have been dying to confirm Roger Allam’s return for ages, due to Illyrio’s role in A Dance with Dragons. If our reader’s sighting (and he is very positive about what he saw) is correct, then it sounds like we can expect the magister to receive a visitor soon, and the plotting to begin again.

76 responses

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    1. Please tell me Roger Allam is coming back to reprise the role? I love that guy, he was hilarious in The Thick of It.

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    2. It does look remarkably like the place in Malta from s1. But as was pointed out in last thread by Ser Florian, Allam is doing a play at the moment that goes until November 1st.

      I guess he could fly in for the weekend? (a recast isn’t an option because the entire point of him showing up is to connect with him being around at the beginning of the show).

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    3. Hurrah – I hope the speculation is correct. The Illyrio – Varys plotting has always intrigued me.

      Another amazing location in Crotia. Such a beautiful country!

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    4. This is great news!

      I hope we get to see Roger Allam as Illyrio,

      along with Varys and Tyrion, in the next couple days (they were filming on Sunday right?).

      But maybe that’s hoping too much. At least I hope we do get to see how they dress the set to look more like Illyrio’s manse.

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    5. Greenjones:
      It does look remarkably like the place in Malta from s1. But as was pointed out in last thread by Ser Florian, Allam is doing a play at the moment that goes until November 1st.

      I guess he could fly in for the weekend? (a recast isn’t an option because the entire point of him showing up is to connect with him being around at the beginning of the show).

      Maybe Illyrio is seen only inside the house, in which case he could film his scenes any time in the Belfast studios.

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    6. Yeah I’ll be pissed if they recast. Roger Allam is an amazing actor. I don’t care if he’s not fat enough or whatever. He’s just great, and could shine with the ADWD material.

      edit: yeah he may not actually need to be in Croatia, which makes things much easier.

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    7. Sue the Fury,

      Honestly, what’d be the point? I’d love to have Illyrio back, but he’s not “crucial”, especially for show-watchers, who probably don’t expect him to come back ay all. If Roger couldn’t come back, Varys could take his role and most people would be none the wiser. If they are bothering to have the character back, I cannot imagine not having the same actor.

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    8. Sue the Fury,

      I guess it could be just Tyrion and Varys in a scene out in the balcony, the rest could be indoors.

      We’ll know soon enough, I guess. But that scene isn’t likely to involve many extras. Someone will need to snoop around. Maybe we can too off seeknewtravel(?) so they can go check the place out in Saturday.

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    9. Ohhh man, Varys/Illyrio conversations will be fantastic! Maybe it’s finally time for the end game curtains to be lifted for show Varys.

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    10. Some cross-series spoilers related to this news-

      Allam is in this mystery show, Endeavour (he’s great in it and it’s a great show), and at the end of the most recent season, his character was seriously wounded, possibly fatally. Not that it’s uncommon for actor’s to film multiple things at once, but he’s quite likely free of his commitment to that show.

      Great to hear the news, and had had a thought on general plot trajectory-

      Even though I know upfront that just because Illyrio might return doesn’t mean Aegon, I will say that it seems extremely unlikely that Varys is going to remain with Tyrion indefinitely. I don’t really see Varys ending up a slave, and in my head, I kind of see him letting Tyrion get captured and then showing up at Illyrio’s place later in the season.

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    11. This is amazing news. I was nervous about D&D cutting Illyrio but this looks like pretty solid evidence that he’s back. I hope Allam reprises the role he did a good job in the first season.

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    12. All we need is a Varys sighting and puzzle pieces may start coming together. However, I am still having difficulty noodling through this scenario without the Griffs.

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    13. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Has everyone given up on them ,then? Not impossible they could still show, Wyman Manderly hasn’t been cast yet, and there’s no way they would have bothered casting someone as a very distinctive Wendel Manderly to die at the Red Wedding if they weren’t planning on bringing him in. So reckon there’s some casting news to come yet.
      (And if it isn’t Brian Blessed or Robbie Coltrane, I shall be very disappointed.)

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    14. Fall_Of_Byzantium,

      (fingers-crossed) I’ll never give up hope. Imho, the Griffs are essential to complete many storylines and justify some prophesies, including dance-with-dragons/Targs, Blackfyre rebellions, and HotU unfinished business.

      (fingers-also-crossed for Ashara Dayne — I mean Septa Lemore — as well) 😉

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    15. I’ll post what I posted in the previous article’s comments…

      On Illyrio… Roger Allam is currently appearing on stage in London in a play called Seminar, up until the 1st of November, with no breaks of more than 2 days. I’m not sure if that would rule his return out completely… maybe he can pop over to Croatia for a day or two. But I’d imagine they’d be dressing the place in order to film there shortly, and certainly not next month. Mayhaps, Illyrio won’t be in any exterior shots, and will only shoot interior scenes in Ireland? Maybe they’re reusing some props from the first season? Or, maybe it’ll just be Tyrion and Varys, making use of the place while Illyrio is absent and we won’t see him?

      Edit: Or, Ian McNeice will be the new, recast Illyrio.

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    16. Ser Florian,

      You could well be right that he won’t be needed for exterior shots, so will shoot his material later in Northern Ireland. However, if they did need him for an exterior scene, or two, especially if there are two day breaks in the play’s performance schedule, it can be done. It is not unheard of, especially if a theatre really wants a certain actor, to cast them knowing there is a performance or two for which they will not be available, in which case the understudy will perform. I’ve seen it happen more than once. That would give him enough time to get to Croatia, shoot for a day or two, then get back to the play. I’m not trying to suggest that’s absolutely the case, but it is certainly possible.

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    17. I want to believe Aegon is in, I really do ….T_T

      Please D&D, You already took away Victarion, Aeron, Arianne, Quentyn….just give us Aegon. Please. Ill forgive those POV character omissions….

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    18. I really hope they bring back Roger Allam.

      Last year I got pretty into Les Miserables for the first time, and found out he was the original Javert. That makes him even cooler.

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    19. After all these years, I’m STILL bitter about not getting pilot-episode Ian McNeice Illyrio. He was a goddamn beautiful sight to behold.

      But I love Roger Allam too, so it’s not too too bitter.

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    20. Annara Snow,
      Ser Florian,

      I don’t think a flight to Croatia would be TOO much for him, so it’s possible they’d get him in for a very short period of time for some quick exterior shots/short outdoor scenes. But it would be much more leisurely for him to shoot the bulk of his scenes in N.I. indoors.

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    21. Without

      “Aegon”

      , I’m not as excited for Illyrio to return, but it will be nice to see the actor again. Now, Little Birds, bring me news on ‘Lord Too Fat To Sit His Horse’.

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    22. Wonderful !! Thank you ! I was about to go to bed and now I’m wide awake

      I hope we get some news for the Griffns 🙁

      Edit : mushrooms ! Have one my friend , have two ! 🙂

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    23. That villa is spectacular. Is it a private residence? If so, what a lucky person/s that get to live there.
      Also, nobody likes a recast, so here’s hoping they can avoid one with Illyrio.

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    24. Beautiful villa! I’d rule out Varys and Tyrion plotting inside Illyrio’s villa without him. Hope he can do scenes in his 1-2 day breaks from his current engagements.

      Excellent scoop btw Will Do.

      jentario,

      Per Natalie Dormer’s tweet, they did.

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    25. Strider,

      Most of it will be interiors anyway, and they can shoot that after Roger Allam’s play is done (hopefully). And I doubt that that was the real Natalie Dormer, considering her other tweets. Come on now, TW.

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    26. jentario:
      Strider,

      Most of it will be interiors anyway, and they can shoot that after Roger Allam’s play is done (hopefully). And I doubt that that was the real Natalie Dormer, considering her other tweets. Come on now, TW.

      I can verify that it isn’t her… Anyways, the fact the name is spelt wrong should be a huge indicator that it isn’t.

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    27. “SeekNewTravel” has seen Lena Headey (or just maybe a body double, but she’s pretty sure it was Headey) during the famous Walk scene. She describes it like this:

      I wouldn’t have taken a photo of it even if there weren’t a dozen security guards there to stop me. Raw, vicious and brutal is the only way to describe what I saw of the end of the “walk.” Damn, Lena Headey is a brave badass (it could’ve been an extremely good body double, I was far away and tried not to stare as I walked by, but I’m pretty sure it was her). It was honestly hard to look at and I kinda wish I hadn’t seen it. Covered in blood and dirt, wearing nothing, hair cropped extremely short, walking past City Watchmen, Lannister guards and nobles – this is not the Cersei show watchers have come to know.

      And… filming in Dubrovnik is done now! But not Croatia: in a couple days they’ll film in this villa and we’ll see if Illyrio is indeed back. At least, I hope we see something.

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    28. excellent news. I also hope Roger Alams is back to reprise Illyrio’s role. Illyrio returning is crucial because if he doesn’t it leads the story with a plot hole since he was scheming with Varys in season 1 ep 5

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    29. Jordan,

      This would work especially well if they’re planning on setting up Griff and Young Griff for next season. Tyrion doesn’t have to have any contact with them for him to get sent on his way in the plot and them to get sent on theirs.

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    30. Fat Walda,

      Wasn’t it a bit weird already that a character as game-changing as Young Griff came so late in the game, in the fifth book out of a planned seven? That was already late enough, and you think it’s a good idea for the show to push him to the sixth season, which will the second-to-last season?

      As I see it, if he was going to be in the show at all, he would’ve been heavily foreshadowed already, or maybe even brought forward. They’ve done this with many other elements, compared to the books, like pushing forward all of the Iron Bank storyline so that their introduction seems more organic. We heard about the Bank a lot during Seasons 3 and 4, and in the middle of Season 4 Stannis and Davos went to Braavos in order to negotiate with them before going to the Wall, instead of the other way around (in the books, after Stannis goes to the Wall the Bank sends Tycho to negotiate with him.) In my opinion, they’d done something similar with Young Griff if he was going to appear at all. I may be wrong, of course, but if he suddenly appears in Season 5, I’ll consider it as weird as in the books —in fact, it could be even weirder because there has been even less foreshadowing; and if he appears in Season 6, I’ll consider it a big mistake, an unjustified deus ex machina.

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    31. Luka Nieto:

      As I see it, if he was going to be in the show at all, he would’ve been heavily foreshadowed already, or maybe even brought forward.

      – Oberyn never explained his time in Essos
      – Varys suggesting that his role is “for the realm” as he gazes longingly at the iron throne
      – Varys working with Robert to “faux-assassinate” Dany; also having Jorah spy on her (protect her…she is the “visible” one…as Yoda would say: “there is another…”)
      – Varys and Illyrio discussion in S1 ep5
      – 3 dragon eggs preserved by Illyrio (D & V & A….he doesn’t know about R+L=J)

      Could be just BS, but there has been some indication that another Targ is somewhere. I can’t believe that they would disregard the books on this issue.

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    32. Luka Nieto,
      That sounds perfect.
      Lena’s approach to this role has always intrigued me, to me it seems she really gets Cersei and I think she will absolutely own this scene.

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    33. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I always find it so funny that the conversation between Illyrio and Varys is brought up as evidence of Aegon. If anything, it’s evidence of his non-existence when that was written. They were pretty explicitly discussing Viserys. In fact, none of it would make any sense if it was about Aegon: they both thought internal turmoil in Westeros would help Viserys invade Westeros with the Dothraki, but they were arguing because Illyio pointed out that the conflict between the Starks and the Lannisters could become a civil war, which would be way too soon for their plans, and Varys retorted that the war was going to happen anyway so the Dothraki would better hurry up. That’s it. No more, no less. They pointed out it was “no longer a game for two players”, and Illyrio replies that “it never was.” Is that evidence for Aegon? Well, if you want it to be, sure, but those closing lines have a context inside that conversation, and that context is the complication of the Stark vs Lannister feud in the planned Targaryen/Dothraki invasion.

      VAYRS: “He’s found one bastard already. He has the book. The rest will come.”
      ILLYRIO: “And when he knows the truth, what will he do?”
      VAYRS: “The gods alone know. The fools tried to kill his son. What’s worse — they botched it. The wolf and the lion will be at each other’s throats. We will be at war soon, my friend.”
      ILLYRIO: “What good is war now? We’re not ready. If one Hand can die, why not a second?”
      VAYRS: “This Hand is not the other.”
      ILLYRIO: “We need time. Khal Drogo will not make his move until his son is born. You know how these savages are.”
      VAYRS: “‘Delay,’ you say. ‘Move fast,’ I reply. This is no longer a game for two players.”
      ILLYRIO: “It never was.”

      And when Varys agreed to help assassinate Daenerys, she wasn’t the leader Varys and Illyrio had in mind. Viserys was. Daenerys only became a possibility after his brother had died and she had proven herself. So Varys supporting Dany makes perfect sense in the show. In fact, it does in the books as well, and people seem to forget Varys and Illyrio DO support Dany: their plans are for Aegon and Dany to marry. They do need Dany and her dragons. If there’s any inconsistency in the show with Varys supporting Dany, that inconsistency exists in the books as well. And my point is… that it doesn’t, there is no issue. Aegon can be excised and it creates no inconsistencies for the character motivations of Varys or Illyrio.

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    34. Will do,

      I think its entirely possible that some shots were done by the body double and some by Lena. I highly doubt the extras you talked to had the full scoop of the entire production of the scene. Lena has talked about how she’s ok with going nude for this scene too many times for me to believe she completely refused to do nudity when the time came.

      The body double may have filmed scenes yesterday and Lena did them today, we didn’t hear any news of a large amount of extras being on set today but apparently security was even tighter, so I think it’s very possible that Lena did some of the nude shots today.

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    35. Indila,

      That’s all the confirmation we need, really. Filming is done, and Peter is flying to Dubrovnik? No no, filming isn’t done. Good stuff! Also justifies the 5 episodes he supposedly spends before running into a certain character and changing his course.

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    36. Luka Nieto,

      Perhaps my argument is weaker when considering the show only, but I’ll maintain that Dany/Viserys were the “visible” Targs preserved and A was the covert one. Illyrio/Varys made a deal with JonCon to protect him.

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    37. jentario,

      Does Tyrion change his course? I always found it kind of funny and clever that he doesn’t, not really. In the books, Illyrio’s plan was for Aegon to go to Meereen. They only changed course once Tyrion had already been kidnapped, and that’s because ironically Tyrion had convinced Aegon to use the Golden Company to invade Westeros and prove himself, instead of going begging to her aunt at Meereen. So he was heading to Meereen, got kidnapped, and he was still heading to Meereen. This is even more straight-forward in the show if Aegon is cut: Tyrion will head to Meereen with Varys after staying at Illyrio’s manse, he will get kidnapped by Jorah at a Volantene brothel, and… Jorah will still take him to Meereen.

      Hodor’s Bastard,
      Of course that’s the case. I don’t argue with that. I only mean to say that what’s been shown of Varys, Illyrio and everything else allows comfortably for the non-existence of Young Griff. No inconsistencies are created by his absence. Can his appearance be explained in the show? Of course, but it has been foreshadowed even less than in the books, and the books have been criticized for not foreshadowing it more.

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    38. Johnny:
      Some pics from today.
      Is that Lena or the body double?

      Thanks for the pics link!

      The way her back looks corroborates rather well the description of the SeekNewTravel that Luka Nieto brought upthread. Dirt and “blood” (I think tomatos thrown at her). This should be epic.

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    39. Luka Nieto,

      Mind the fact that not everything has to be foreshadowed, and why not have a game-changer this far in? Technically he appears in Act 2 out of 3, so it’s not that extreme. I, for one, would find it extremely predictable if Daenerys ends up on the throne. And GRRM is not a predictable writer, as he’s shown.

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    40. Maybe I’m late to the party on this but, given that Varys got on the boat with Tyrion at the end of season 4, and these new shooting pics, I would hope that we get a scence (interior or exterior) with Illyrio, Varys, and Tyrion to come up with an agreement Tyrion will go to Daenerys. Then they can all go separate ways. Everyone in one scene would be awesome! Even with Allam doing the play, I’m sure they could fit him in (in Croatia or Belfast) as many suggested. Seeing as we had shots a while ago of what looked like Jorah and Tyrion on a boat together, alone, I would bet at least some of Luka Nieto’s guesses will be correct. We know we are getting a brothel scene at least because of the casting calls. I take no stand on the Young Griff situation… I think it works either way, but I am always for staying closer to the book if that’s an option.

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    41. Luka Nieto,

      lol. It’s hilarious that you say “I’ll find it weird” – you’ve already predicted your own response. And dude, you’ve already “foreshadowed” its appearance, so I don’t see how it could genuinely be all that “weird” if they showed up. Enough with the hyperbole.

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    42. Ser Florian,

      What days is the play dark? It’s not unusual for a lead to skip a day or two during the entire run for a particular reason.

      If play is dark Monday’s and Tuesday’s and he has the u/s play his role on Wednesday and Thursday that give him 4 days of filming and then he’d be back in time for the weekend shows.

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    43. Sue the Fury,

      Apologies but not really sure how I was starting trouble? Was just referencing how the previous piece of news turned into an argument (debate may have been a better word as it didn’t really get nasty) and it started to swamp the actual news discussion.

      Must admit I’m not a big fan of the ‘Varys supported Dany the whole time’ plotline if it comes to pass. Think it’s a bit of an anti-climax for Varys character and for me doesn’t work based on his previous actions.

      Trystane being revealed to be Aegon could work ok as would explain why Dorne is being fleshed out and would keep them relevant.

      But Varys being revealed to be a Dany backer makes me want her to claim the Throne even less than I do in the books as it’s far too obvious (hoping GRRM throws us a swerve on that front but we shall see).

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