Game of Thrones and the Marvel Cinematic Universe have a lot in common. Both are expansive fantasy realms that include numerous characters and storylines. Both were based on pre-existing material, and both dominated pop culture in the 2010s, culminating with the Games of Thrones finale and Avengers: Endgame being released within weeks of each other in 2019.
Another thing that Game of Thrones and the MCU have in common is that both like to use the same actors. No, really. Many actors have carved out time to appear in both of these colossal franchises, and we aren’t the only ones surprised by the overlap. Emilia Clarke is also blown away by how many of her Game of Thrones brethren have crossed over to become superheroes.
Clarke was talking to Entertainment Tonight about Secret Invasion when she was told that she was the 11th Game of Thrones actor to join the MCU. “Oh my god,” she exclaimed. “I did not know that! That seems like a lot… That’s a lot of people!” It’s a valid response, given that most of the actors who have appeared in both franchises have only done so in the past five years.
Here’s the thing, though — there are actually more than 11 actors. When tallied up between the MCU films and shows, a whopping 18 actors have pulled double duty. It will eventually reach a point where fans will be counting off the Game of Thrones actors who don’t appear in the MCU, as it will be a shorter list.
The first Game of Thrones actors to break the seal actually did so before they were cast in the HBO series. Natalie Dormer and David Bradley both appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), two years before they appeared as Margaery Tyrell and Lord Walder Frey, respectively. Joseph Gatt had a brief role in Thor (2011), while Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Richard Brake, and Clive Russell appeared in Thor: The Dark World (2013). The connection between Game of Thrones and Thor is perhaps the most logical, given that both deal in royalty and family intrigue.
Ralph Ineson and Enzo Cilenti played minor characters in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), while Hannah John-Kamen had the distinction of being the main villain in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018). Rhys Ifans gets in on a technicality as he reprises his non-MCU character Lizard in the MCU film Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Then there’s Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick, who co-starred in Netflix’s Iron Fist (2017).
The overlap seemed to kick into high gear when Games of Thrones aired its final episode. Peter Dinklage had a brief but memorable turn as Eitri in Avengers: Infinity War (2017). It then seemed like an MCU release couldn’t happen unless it had at least one Westeros inhabitant among its cast. Richard E. Grant stole the show in the first season of Loki (2021), followed by the one-two punch of Richard Madden and Kit Harrington in Eternals (2022).
Clarke plays a Skrull named G’iah in Secret Invasion, and she’s joined by another Game of Thrones alum: Richard Dormer, as Agent Prescott. For anyone looking to predict the cast of future MCU projects, we suggest just looking through the IMDb credits of Game of Thrones. Chances are, you’ll be right on the money.