BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-CINEMA-GET SANTA"Game of Thrones" has cast Oscar winner Jim Broadbent in the first new Season 7 role. Entertainment Weekly reports that the veteran actor will play a "significant" role, though the details are -- of course -- still unknown.

It doesn't appear that Broadbent fits the criteria of any of the Season 7 casting notices that leaked a couple of weeks ago. Then again, those roles might've been tweaked, or Broadbent's part simply not included among them (more likely, as he's a major actor and likely hand-picked).

Broadbent has had a long, distinguished career. He won an Academy Award for "Iris," and he's appeared in "Gangs of New York," "Moulin Rouge," the "Bridget Jones Diary" movies, and two "Harry Potter" films as Professor Slughorn.

Broadbent's casting resembles that of Ian McShane's in Season 6. That was also announced well in advance, but kept shrouded in mystery. McShane ended up acting in just one episode, but in a pivotal and memorable role tied to the return of the Hound.

Fans are already speculating whom Broadbent might play. Though the show has outpaced the books, there are several characters he'd be a good fit for, including Archmaester Marwyn -- a figure who meets Samwell Tarly in Oldtown.

"Game of Thrones" Season 7 will begin filming this winter for a summer 2017 premiere.

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