Netflix has snapped up the rights to a series based on the The Witcher, and describes its take on the story as the tale of "a mutated monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts". The eight episode series will be based on the original novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich - veteran of Daredevil, The Defenders and The West Wing - will be showrunner.
The Witcher series release date
Hissrich has promised the show will be done "as soon as humanly possible" but has only put a possible date of 2020 on the finished product. Lucky for us, she's a regular tweeter so we're getting all sorts of updates as the show moves through the creative process.
"We're moving quickly ahead with everything -- like, my head is spinning around Exorcist-style, except with enthusiasm, not evil possession -- but one thing is certain: quality comes before speed," she says.
On May 25, Hissrich tweeted that the season one narrative arc was completed, and in the hands of her entertainment overlords.
This is my work bag. That manila folder is the detailed season one arc for The Witcher, that we just pitched to @netflix. And that bottle of wine is my celebration. pic.twitter.com/xTKOA6sJNsMay 25, 2018
The Witcher Netflix series plot
There are a veritable library of short stories and eight novels to choose from, but we'd bet our Nilfgaardian florens that the Witcher Netflix series will focus on the saga made up of five novels, which focus on Geralt's relationship with Ciri. Writer Sapkowski has already confirmed he'll be acting as a creative consultant on the show.
"I’m thrilled that Netflix will be doing an adaptation of my stories, staying true to the source material and the themes that I have spent over 30 years writing," he said when the show was announced last year.
Executive producers Sean Daniel and Jason Brown added: “The Witcher stories follow an unconventional family that comes together to fight for truth in a dangerous world. The characters are original, funny and constantly surprising and we can’t wait to bring them to life at Netflix, the perfect home for innovative storytelling."
Just recently one of the writers on the series let us know what to expect from the first episode, and it is going to be wild.
YOU GUYS. Today we finished breaking and blending my first episode of television and I am so excited. There will be demon deer and an evil palace goose and a country western ballad. It’s gonna be LIT. #WitcherJuly 21, 2018
While showrunner Hissrich gave us a (slightly spoiler flavored) warning:
Spoiler: the end we're driving toward makes me weep.July 14, 2018
The Witcher Netflix series character list
From another Hissrich Twitter thread, we got a good idea of who we could expect to see in the show, and how she sees their character.
Geralt: "Stoic. Circumspect. Balanced. Fierce. Soft-and-squishy-in-a-tiny-place-in-his-heart-that-he'll-never-reveal-until-maybe-the-end-and-even-then-it-will-just-be-a-hint."
Yennefer: "Fiery. Proud. Shrewd. Contradictory. Seeking-to-fill-a-family-sized-hole-in-her-heart-even-though-she-resents-it-and-swears-she's-just-fine-on-her-own-but-she-is-not-and-we-love-her-for-being-both-independent-and-vulnerable."
Ciri: "Resilient. Relentless. Brazen. Growing. She's-going-to-change-the-world-and-what-the-hell-is-she-supposed-to-do-except-be-scared-and-be-bold-and-learn-and-adapt-and-find-a-family-who-can-walk-by-her-side-no-matter-what-and-maybe-just-maybe-teach-her-the-meaning-of-love."
Roach: "Ladylike. Faithful. Extrasensory. Steady. Really-annoyed-with-this-game-because-we-can’t-pretend-all-Roaches-are-the-same-so-she’d-prefer-some-singularity-and-individual-recognition-instead-of-all-being-lumped-together-by-blatantly-horsist-people."
Dandelion, known in the books as Jaskier: "Extravagant. Caddish. Loose-lipped. Loyal. Hides-behind-the-exterior-of-an-idiot-when-in-actuality-he-is-the-keeper-of-Geralt’s-realities-(even-if-he-exaggerates-his-own-heroics)-AND-the-truths-of-the-world-which-means-he’s-far-more-important-than-we-realize..."
Triss Merigold: "Spunky. Idealistic. Insecure. Conflicted. Young-and-naive-and-lacking-the-confidence-of-sorceresses-which-means-she-is-ripe-for-manipulation-but-when-she-finally-transcends-the-crap-she-has-a-chance-to-be-loved-as-herself-and-not-as-'the-third-wheel-with-Yen'"
Cahir: "Conflicted. Charismatic. Haunted. Pure of heart. Despite-being-young-he's-like-a-relic-of-a-simpler-time-when-knights-in-shining-armor-always-won-the-girl-but-now-in-the-face-of-harsh-reality-he-must-learn-what-it-means-to-actually-be-heroic-and-brave-for-others."
Regis: "Eloquent. Ensconced. Worldly. Haunted. The-worst-of-the-worst-who-transforms-into-the-best-of-the-best-or-at-least-he-strives-to-be-and-it's-the-most-incredible-journey-to-watch-as-an-evil-addicted-monster-becomes-the-essence-of-"humanity-personified"-in-the-hansa."
Vilgefortz: "Mercenary. Conspiratorial. Power-hungry. Ruthless. Handsome-as-all-get-out-which-is-important-because-(as-Geralt-says-“one-could-expect-anything-from-a-man-looking-like-this”)-he-is-the-essence-of-evil-hidden-behind-beauty-which-makes-him-very-very-dangerous."
Emhyr: "Mercenary. Conspiratorial. Power-hungry. Ruthless. Handsome-as-all-get-out-which-is-important-because-(as-Geralt-says-“one-could-expect-anything-from-a-man-looking-like-this”)-he-is-the-essence-of-evil-hidden-behind-beauty-which-makes-him-very-very-dangerous.
Milva: "Saucy. Savage. Conciliatory. Commonsense. The-epitome-of-the-novels'-shades-of-grey-who-embodies-unrequited-romance-and-also-unbelievable-strength-and-also-the-skills-to-kill-and-also-the-ability-to-crusade-for-peace-and-also-and-also-and-also."
Leo Bonhart: "Saucy. Savage. Conciliatory. Commonsense.The-epitome-of-the-novels'-shades-of-grey-who-embodies-unrequited-romance-and-also-unbelievable-strength-and-also-the-skills-to-kill-and-also-the-ability-to-crusade-for-peace-and-also-and-also-and-also."
Borch Three Jackdaws: "Perceptive. Protective. Merciful.The most beautiful. An-observer/-philosopher/-seeker-of-freedom-which-means-he-didn't-kill-just-because-he-could-but-rather-sought-to-understand-why-others-wanted-to-kill-him-which-is-EVERYTHING."
The Witcher Netflix series cast list
The casting process has started, with scripts going out to the writer's top picks.
Normally, when casting a show, the casting director pulls character-specific scenes from the pilot script for actors' auditions. However, because we're casting internationally (which means lots of emails and self-tapes) and because we know by now the internet keeps no secrets --June 23, 2018
-- if you start seeing Witcher scenes floating around the internet in the coming weeks -- yes, they're probably real! But no, they won't give anything away as to the stories we're telling, or the ways we're telling them. You're safe. For now.And hells yes, his name is Jaskier.June 23, 2018
Locking down actors is probably a little while off, but Luke Skywalker and Superman have already volunteered.
I have no idea what this is or what it's about but agree it could/should be played by me. 👍March 6, 2018
Henry Cavill, AKA Superman, recently finished The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and started reading the novels, and told IGN he'd love to play Geralt. "Absolutely. Yeah, that would be an amazing role."
Of course, fans have suggestions for the most important character of them all...
This is my favorite tweet today. Also, can I cast all three? Roach and Roach and Roach. https://t.co/DXm3BkEnTXJune 28, 2018
The Witcher Netflix series will be filmed in Eastern Europe
"This show couldn't exist anyplace else. Period," declares Hissrich.
The novels are originally from Poland, and the country certainly has plenty of lush, mysterious woodland and postcard perfect vistas to play the part of Temeria, Kaedwen, Aedirn of the Northern Kingdoms and more.