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'Game of Thrones' producers: Leaving out Bran is like 'Return of the Jedi'

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That’s right: Bran will return in Game of Thrones season 6 to take on Jabba the Hutt, and demonstrate his wicked sorcerous powers! Maybe just one of those?

So hint the showrunners of HBO’s fantasy saga, who benched Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) from season 5. The fledgling warg will receive his training from the Three-Eyed Raven and the Children of the Forest off-screen this year. “Like, it would be far less interesting, after The Empire Strikes Back to have an hour-long movie in between Empire and Return of the Jedi where Luke is training,” showrunner David Benioff says. “It’s so much cooler to cut from end of Empire to beginning of Return, where he’s become the Jedi.”

Previously, Benioff further explained to EW, “The fact is, even though we’re making changes to the books and adapting as necessary, we’re trying to keep the various storylines the same [as the books] and trying to keep them roughly [chronologically] parallel. And [in season 4] we caught up to the end of Bran’s storyline [in George R.R. Martin’s most recent book, A Dance with Dragons] last year. So if we pushed him forward this season, then he’s way ahead of where the other characters are.”

Thrones certainly has plenty of other characters to focus on in season 5. It also adds some new ones, like Dorne’s Prince Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig) and King’s Landing cult leader the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). The only risk in sidelining characters for a season is that actors are typically released from their contracts, and could book other roles that might conflict with returning to the show. Plus,Thrones has chosen to re-cast some of its actors along the way—for example, this year the character of Myrcella Baratheon is played by Nell Tiger Free.

But Benioff says he expects Wright will return. “I certainly hope so,” he says. “Unless he goes off to college and decides he doesn’t want to come back”—like Jack Gleeson, who quit acting last year after his role as Joffrey Baratheon concluded. 

So this year, while the Thrones action plays out, just keep in mind that somewhere, far North of the Wall, Bran is learning some wild new talents.

For more on Game of Thrones season 5 scoop, pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly where we devote 30 pages to the HBO hit and traveled to three countries to go behind-the-scenes of the mega production. Get all four collectible covers here. Previous news: HBO discusses how many years the show has left, we reveal first photos of Arya’s new look and the Sand Snakes. For ongoing Thrones news, follow @jameshibberd

In a related video, the cast of Thrones recaps the show in 30 seconds:

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