SDCC (San Diego Comic Con) is the time of year when fans of fantasy, comic, sci-fi, and action movies get all the great goodies and trailers for upcoming projects that are due out within a year. Recently, Netflix has kept a pretty tight lid on their newest series due out, The Witcher. A couple of weeks ago (maybe a month) Netflix released the first principal photography images of the main characters we were going to see, we got Geralt, Yennefer, Ciri and Roach (Geralt’s Horse). These photos were enough to wet everyone’s whistle while we waited for the highly anticipated trailer, luckily we didn’t have to wait long.
This past weekend (Friday night to be specific) Netflix dropped the first teaser trailer for The Witcher series. For those who haven’t seen it, check it out below.
I will admit that when I saw the costume tease of Geralt that Netflix released a while ago showing Cavill in the armour, I was skeptical. As someone who’s only exposure to the world of Witcher were the video games, this new look for Geralt threw me for a bit of a loop. He was younger, clean shaven and didn’t have as raspy a voice (the voice wasn’t shown until the trailer). Now, once the trailer dropped and I was able to watch it, I will admit I came around to Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, BossLogic helped too (more on that later).
The main point that I have seen a lot of people making online is that “This doesn’t look anything like the games”. First off, good for you! You managed to decipher the first piece of information they ever released about the series, it’s NOT based on the video games. The show will be taking the original source material (the Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski) and adapting it for their run. This means that all the things that happened in the games will NOT be happening in the show. CD Projekt Red did some great work with the games and won dozens of awards, but the story line for the games is not the same one of the books. The author of the entire series Andrzej Sapkowski, who wrote the first Witcher book in 1993 in Polish (the English version wasn’t printed until 2007), has stated that while he is supportive of the work CD Projekt Red has done with their games, “…it’s not his story or his universe and should be looked at as something completely separate from his work”.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE SERIES
From what the teaser shows, it looks like we may be getting a version of the first book in the series The Blood of the Elves. Technically, the first book was called The Last Wish but that was just a collection of short stories that was turned into a book after the first three original novels had been written. So while Last Wish takes place first in the timeline, it was not the first book written.
Now the story of the Witcher novels is not one of heroes and might as with most fantasy. In fact, humans are widely regarded as the villains in the Witcher universe. As the trailer suggests, Elves were the original inhabitants of the continent and the original magic users. Elves taught the early humans how to harness and focus the chaos into magic, then in true human fashion, humans slaughtered elves. Humans used their magic to become the dominant species and view all non humans as little more than beasts.
Humans are just awful no matter whether it’s historical fact or fiction…
Moving on… So when humans arrived on the continent as did all sorts of monsters and dangerous creatures. The Witcher schools were founded by subjecting children to mutagens which then augment their abilities making themstronger, faster and giving them witcher senses. These “Witcher Senses” allow them to track animals and people through scent, sight and hearing; think Superman’s augmented senses but not as drastic.
These kids are then trained in tracking, trap making, sword play, etc and travel the continent slaying monsters, curing curses and ending hauntings for coin. Due the nature of the mutations undergone by the Witcher initiates, their eyes turn yellow (like a cat) and they become infertile, much like human magic users. This leads many humans to condemn and distrust Witchers, unless they absolutely need them.
The series is going to show us a young Geralt as he moves around the continent taking contracts and slaying various monsters. We will be introduced to Yennefer, Triss, Ciri and the Lodge of Sorceresses. I hope we get introduced to several other key characters like Radovid, and Emhyr Var Emreis, but from the cast like, that might be saved until Season 2. I don’t think they’ll throw us right into the war between Redania and Temeria but there will definitely be some political machinations throughout the series that will lead to it.
Netflix is banking on this show taking off and giving them at least three if not four seasons of material to work with. From the general consensus of everyone who watched the trailer when it was released, that seems to be the case. Most fans are extremely excited for some original Witcher stories influenced heavily by the books. I know that several of my friends who ripped through the games are very excited to see what Henry Cavill can bring to the role.
The main cast for the series is as follows:
Henry Cavill – Geralt of Rivia
Freya Allan – Princess Ciri
Anya Chalotra – Yennefer of Vengerberg
Jodhi May – Queen Calanthe
Björn Hlynur Haraldsson – King Eist
Adam Levy – Mousesack
MyAnna Buring – Tissaia
Mimi Ndiweni – Fringilla
Therica Wilson-Read – Sabrina
Emma Appleton – Princess Renfri
Henry Cavill is obviously the big name draw for the series. Having starred as: Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman in the DCEU for the past few years as well as Mission Impossible: Fallout, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Immortals and The Tudors; he has become quite the household name. I will admit that this casting threw me for a big of a loop when it was first announced, I thought that Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen was the obvious choice. Once again, BossLogic came to the rescue and did a mock up of Cavill as Geralt once the show was announced. The mock up used Witcher II: Wild Hunt for inspiration and showcases Cavill with a beard, but once I saw that I was sold.
Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra are relative new comers to the industry having only starred in a few things before this series, but the trailer definitely makes them seem like they’ve been doing this for years.
The one thing that I have to point out that kind of irks me is the medallion. Each school of Witchers wear a medallion that represents their school around their neck: Wolf, Bear, Cat, etc. Now, once again, as someone who played the games, the medallion was always more of a 3D looking object, like an actual carved wolf’s head. The medallion is important because it will hum and glow when the Witcher is near magic. The medallion for the show is more of a pendant with a Wolf’s head. This isn’t something major, but it just kind of irked me, like I already said, because it’s not something that’s hard to make accurate. I may be completely wrong and this may be the way that Sapkowski envisioned it when he created the entire universe, but I personally think it should be more like the games.
This show is due out in late 2019 and I for one am keeping my Netflix subscription solely for this show. See you next week!