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‘The Witcher’ Netflix Show Release Date, Cast, News
For anyone not familiar with the video games or the indie book series, photos of Henry Cavill with a luxurious long, white wig from the upcoming Witcher series might look pretty bizarre. But the series, which debuts later this year on Netflix, comes from an immensely popular multi-media franchise created by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski that looks to be the streaming service’s buzzy, fantasy response to Game of Thrones.
Though Netflix has been relatively quiet about the series, some new information—and photos!—have trickled out over the weeks. Here’s everything you need to know about Netflix’s Witcher series.
Who Is In It?
The cast is lead by Superman actor Henry Cavill as the Monster Hunter, Geralt of Rivia. As a Monster Hunter, he, naturally, hunts monsters, he goes on quests, he has cool armor, and does all things fantasy. Cavill will also wear Geralt’s famous white hair—for better or worse. The cast also includes Anya Chalotra as the magic slinging sorceress Yennefer and Freya Allan as Ciri, the mysterious princess.
Freya Allan as Ciri, the mysterious princess in The Witcher.
What is it about?
The Witcher storyline follows the aforementioned trio as they hunt beasts and try to distinguish between good and evil on “The Continent,” the fantasy land where the story is set. As the official Netflix synopsis reads, the series “is an epic tale of fate and family. Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. But when destiny hurtles him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a dangerous secret, the three must learn to navigate the increasingly volatile Continent together.”
Netflix has five novels and three video games-worth of stories to pick from. Often, Geralt’s quests involve him seeking out and destroying the true evil hidden deep within the Continent.
What did we learn in the first trailer?
Well it appears that the trailer is pulling from the first collection of Witcher stories called The Last Wish. This includes the origin story of our heroes, how they meet, and a brief introduction to the power players on The Continent. Show runner Lauren Hissrich explained at the SDCC panel this weekend that the first season would follow one antagonist and focus on characters relationships and political discord.
We also get a look at Istridd (Royce Pierreson), who is a longtime friend of Yennefer; Ciri’s quest to find Geralt; and magic users Tissaia de Vries (Myanna Buring) and Triss Merigold (Anna Shaffer). Along with that, the first trailer also opens with a glimpse of the magic school the Isle of Thanned, where Yennefer and Ciri train.
What is going on with Yennefer in the trailer?
The first look at Yennefer in the trailer doesn’t look much like what fans would recognize in the games. That’s because, as is outlined in the books, she’s born with physical deformities and is abused by her father before she learns magic to train (under Tissaia de Vries) her appearance.
Who is making it?
The Witcher comes from Hivemind, the same studio behind Amazon’s The Expanse and Netflix’s upcoming live action Final Fantasy series. Andrzej Sapkowski is acting as a creative consultant on the series with executive producers Sean Daniel (The Expanse) and Jason Brown (The Expanse).
What’s it Based on?
The Witcher is widely known in the west for its hit game series, most notably the recent The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which took home a number of awards including Game of the Year in 2015. Netflix’s series however is planting its roots in the novels by Andrzej Sapowski. While it’s still the same source material, there’s bound to be some differences. That being said, the game is still absolutely worth playing and should give you some nice background on the world of The Witcher.
Do I need to read the books or play the game?
Five books and three games, seems pretty daunting, especially considering each of those games had well over 70 hours of content. In short you probably don’t have to be an expert on either. If The Witcher series is anything like Game of Thrones, it may be better that you don’t know about huge twists like the Red Wedding beforehand. That being said, since it’s based off the novels, I highly recommend picking up The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt for whatever you play games on to get into the universe ahead of the premiere.
Cameron Sherrill is a designer and writer for Esquire.com, where he covers technology and video games.