Harris filmed the first six episodes as Mat Cauthon before production was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When production resumed, Harris did not return to set. The ending of episode 6 was modified so that Mat did not enter the Ways with the group. Harris as Mat appears briefly in episode 8, reusing footage of him from episode 5.
The reasons for Harris not returning to set and for the recasting have not been officially revealed. On January 4, 2022, Small Screen reported that the reason Harris left had to do with the production's strict COVID-19 vaccination policy, indicating that Harris may have refused to get vaccinated.
Mat is probably seen as the sort of light relief of the books and of the series, but he's much more complicated. I think his inner monologue is very much like, "I'm a bad person. I don't deserve this." Something to do with maybe the poverty that he has, and the ideas of reincarnation, and the stuff you don't agree with have coming into the fore. So yeah, he sees himself as quite a bad person, but his actions are always good. Mat's relationship with Rand is like they've grown up together, they've known each other since they were kids, and they're very banterous with each other. I think I see [Rand] as quite stubborn and quite serious all the time, which [Mat finds] quite irritating, I think [Mat finds] them both irritating, I'm not sure why [Mat] is friends with either of them. But they're loyal and loving and good friends to [Mat].Barney Harris, IGN, October 29, 2021
- Barney Harris and Sophie Okonedo both worked on The Hollow Crown, where Okonedo played the mother of Harris's character.
Kae Alexander • Hammed Animashaun • Priyanka Bose • Ceara Coveney • Fares Fares • Kate Fleetwood • Michael McElhatton • Álvaro Morte • Johann Myers • Sophie Okonedo • Ayoola Smart • Alexandre Willaume • see all
- at the Internet Movie Database