The Hunger Games: Mockingjay has only two weeks of shooting left in Atlanta, Georgia before it moves to Europe to complete filming and news has just come in that there’s been a last minute casting replacement. Deadline is reporting that it has confirmed with Lionsgate that Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth, will be replacing actress Lily Rabe as Commander Lyme in the final installments of the Hunger Games franchise.
Rabe, who reportedly had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict due to a previous commitment to Much Ado About Nothing with Shakespeare in the Park, was originally announced as Mockingjay’s Commander Lyme back in September 2013.
Warning: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay spoilers follow from this point.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay will reportedly be filming in Berlin and Paris, though the scenes being filmed are still unclear. Christie’s casting comes late in the production, and the fact that scenes for the character primarily center around District 2 point to filming in a mountain region, since Katniss and the rebels must go to break through a mountain stronghold nicknamed The Nut.
When Katniss first meets Commander Lyme, who is described as a middle-aged woman “standing over six feet tall and heavily muscled,” she is struck with the feeling that she’s met her before. As the commander from District 2 takes the rebels on a virtual tour of The Nut, Katniss finally realizes that Lyme is a former Hunger Games victor from a generation ago and that she’d watched footage of her games while preparing for the Quarter Quell. Since Christie stands at 6’3″ and certainly has shown that she can play the domineering type, her Mockingjay casting actually seems like a more accurate one than Rabe’s.
Although Rabe was originally announced as a cast member of both Mockingjay 1 & 2, it’s believed that filming for the first part has already completed, so it’s unclear whether Rabe filmed any scenes that will need to be re-shot with Christie.
The announcement also rekindles another talking point, which is when the split for the two films will occur. Many have speculated that the split between the two Mockingjay films would come after a rescue mission to the Capitol to get prisoners Peeta and Johanna, since that would serve as a proper climactic ending to the first film. After Peeta’s rescue in Mockingjay, Katniss finds herself unable to be near him in his tortured state and finds retreat in joining the war with Gale in District 2.
Christie’s Game of Thrones makes its return in season 4 this Sunday on HBO. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 will be released November 21, 2014.