Chilean actor Pedro Pascal has been confirmed for the role of Prince Oberyn Martell, one of the most anticipated roles of next season. Pascal has never been the featured star of a show before, but has appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Without a Trace, Law and Order, Nurse Jackie, The Good Wife, Red Widow, Graceland, Burn Notice, The Adjustment Bureau, and Burning Bridges.
Prince Martell, popularly known as the Red Viper, is the younger brother of the ruler of Dorne, Prince Doran Martell. Dorne is the southernmost of the Seven Kingdoms and the last to fall under the rule of King's Landing, doing so through alliance rather than conquest. It has been featured little on the show so far other than a mention by Tyrion in passing, when he first became The Hand of the King in season two when he sent Princess Myrcelle Baratheon to Dorne to marry into the Martell family.
“This was a tough one,” say showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss about the casting. “The Red Viper is sexy and charming, yet believably dangerous; intensely likable, yet driven by hate. The boys love him, the girls love him, and he loves them all back. Unless your last name is Lannister. We found a fellow who can handle the job description and make it seem effortless. He wasn’t easy to find and he won’t be easy to stop.”
The Red Viper is a skilled warrior and famous for being brash, charming, cunning, and having slow-burning temper -- a temper currently aimed toward Gregor Clegane, the Mountain. His younger sister Elia, who was married to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, was brutally murdered along with her two children at the hands of Lannister troops and Gregor during the Sack of King's Landing of Robert's Rebellion. So far, Dorne has pursued a policy of isolation until they agreed to accept Myrcelle Baratheon into their family. Season four will see Oberyn headed to King's Landing with revenge on his mind.