Jessica Henwick has been so busy with other projects that she almost had to bail on returning to Game of Thrones.
After being cast as Colleen Wing in Marvel’s Iron Fist, The Force Awakens actress was so slammed that when the HBO drama tried to summon her back for season 7 last year to reprise her role as the deadly Nymeria Sand, she initially told them she couldn’t make it work.
“I wasn’t able to do it,” Henwick tells EW. “My schedule clashed. I was filming Iron Fist for six-to-seven months and they wouldn’t give me the time off. [GoT] was so massive for me in terms of my career and building my profile and as an experience in itself, I wanted to return. [A GoT producer explained], ‘It’s really important that you come back otherwise your character will just disappear.’ So I spoke to Marvel and I managed to get a release. I literally was flying back and forth while I was doing Iron Fist in New York to Belfast, even during Christmas break.”
Even so, the actress admits to feeling tempted to pull a T.J. Miller (who’s her co-star, by the way, in next year’s deep-sea thriller Underwater, and who just left Silicon Valley).
“I’m not going to lie, a part of me was like, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t do it … maybe Nymeria does just disappear!'” Henwick says. “And then fans will never know what happened to her, just like with Joe Dempsie. It would be like: ‘What happened to her?’ ‘No one knows…‘”
Dempsie plays King Robert’s young bastard blacksmith son Gendry on GoT and was last seen rowing away from danger in season 3 and is an ongoing point of fan curiosity — just like the Russian gangster who forever vanished into the woods in The Sopranos.
But since Henwick’s bullwhip-lashing Sandsnake does show up, what can she tease for her character?
“When we left Nymeria she was newly aligned with Olenna Tyrell [Diana Rigg] and was going to start a war,” she says. “We pick up right where we left off and get into the nitty gritty very quickly. There is no time wasted this season.”
Game of Thrones is back on July 16.