Ahead of The Witcher Netflix’s San Diego Comic-Con panel today, an interview conducted by Entertainment Weekly with writer Lauren S. Hissrich has given us some interesting new details on the hotly anticipated show. It’s the first opportunity we’ve had to hear about the production outside of Netflix’s own description and several tidbits via various Twitter channels.
Hissrich was asked a number of different questions about the origins of the show, casting, and comparisons the video game version. I’d encourage you to read the interview for yourself in full, but for convenience sake, the most notable takeaways have been listed below:
- The show will portray “defining moments” in Yennefer’s life in more detail than the books, which only cover them in flashbacks.
- Hissrich had read The Last Wish before being contacted by Netflix and “really loved it.” Professionally, though, this is her first fantasy gig.
- The focus for the show is the novels and not the video games. This is something Hissrich has said before but she was careful to categorically mention it once again during the interview.
- The story is still something they aren’t willing to discuss quite yet, but the first season will focus on the world-building and politics established by Andrzej Sapkowski’s short stories.
There isn’t an outright villain in the show. Instead, the intrigue will mostly come from the morally ambiguous nature of the show’s characters. Hisrrich thinks “you’ll end up having a lot of empathy for characters you didn’t expect to.”
Casting & Production
- After 207 auditions, Hissrich recontacted Henry Cavill, who had shown an interest in the project long before production ever began because he added something to the character that others did not. “Looking at the final product, it’s really exciting. He embodies Geralt in a way that I don’t think anybody else could,” she said.
- “Henry brings subtitles to this character, finding emotional resonance in small moments, and playing it in such a subtle way that you understand what the character is going through without necessarily having huge chunks of dialogue.” By the time we got to episode 108 — the finale of the first season — we didn’t even shoot half the dialogue because we knew there was so much Henry could do with Geralt that didn’t require my words.
- Fans should expect that post-production will improve the look of the characters dramatically. When asked whether Geralt’s eyes will appear cat-like as in The Witcher books and video games, Hissrich thinks “everybody will be impressed by how he looks.
- And casting Ciri? Obviously, there was some online controversy around casting that role.
- In response to casting controversy, specifically in regards to the Freya’s Allan’s portrayal of Ciri, Hissrich said it’s impossible to “make everyone happy.” Ultimately, “She (Freya Allan) was able to bring a depth to this character. When Freya is in a scene with Henry they really rival each other.
- As for how explicit the show’s themes are in comparison to something like Game of Thrones, Hissrich insists it’s far from a PG-13 production. But for her it was important that “any violence or sex drives the story and is not there just for shock value.”
- Finally, Hissrich believes the show’s unique approach to fantasy will make it stand apart from others. In particular, the monster and horror aspect. Fans will, apparently, be surprised by how many monsters they were able to do and how each sub-plot weaves into the show’s overarching narrative.
There’s still no word on a first trailer, unfortunately. We’re still hoping that’ll debut today as part of the Comic-Con panel. After all, we’re surely not all that far off the The Witcher show’s release date given that it’s slated to arrive sometime this year. Expect coverage of whatever new info comes from the panel later today.
In related news, you can check out the first official image of Geralt riding Roach. And don’t forget about Alzur’s Legacy, the fan-made Witcher film that’s looking very good in its latest trailer.