'Game Of Thrones' Welcomes 'Deadwood' Star Ian McShane For Season 6

"Game of Thrones" is getting a taste of the Wild West. "Deadwood" star Ian McShane is headed to the HBO smash, Access Hollywood confirmed on Saturday.

The Golden Globe-winning Brit will appear on "Thrones" in a supporting role with "a relatively small amount of screen time," according to Entertainment Weekly, which broke the casting news. Sources told the mag his character will still hold "key importance."

HBO has not revealed any additional details.

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McShane should find himself right at home among the intricate brutality of "Thrones." The actor is best known for portraying pathological "Deadwood" entrepreneur Al Swearengen on HBO, and recently completed an arc as a ruthless billionaire on Showtime’s "Ray Donovan."

As for the fantasy saga, it's entering uncharted territory with Season 6. Author George R. R. Martin's beloved "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels have provided the show with rich source material throughout its run, but in lieu of Martin's as-yet-unfinished next book writers are taking portions of the narrative into their own hands.

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From the sounds of it, there's still plenty of time to explore the creative possibilities within Westeros. 

As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, HBO president Michael Lombardo confirmed plans to continue "Thrones" through at least eight seasons. During the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles on Thursday, the network exec also hinted at the possibility of a prequel series.

However, he explained, current storylines remain of utmost priority.

"I think you're right, there's enormous storytelling to be mined in a prequel," Lombardo said. "But you'd have to have George [R.R. Martin] and Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff] decide they want to tackle that, and at this point all the focus is on figuring out the next few years with the show, so we haven't had any conversations about that at this point."

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"Game of Thrones" is expected to return to HBO for a 10-episode sixth season in 2016.

-- Erin Biglow

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