The Witcher: Blood Origin showrunner on why the show was cut from six to four episodes

The Witcher Blood Origin
(Image credit: Netflix)

In 2020, Netflix announced it was developing a six-episode Witcher spin-off. Now, with The Witcher: Blood Origin finally ready to reach the streaming service, the series has been whittled down to just four episodes. What happened?

As showrunner Declan de Barra tells SFX in the new issue of the magazine, featuring Violent Night on the cover (opens in new tab), pacing was the issue. 

"You can’t hang around too long," he says. "The beauty of this being a limited series is there are no rules. We didn’t have to follow a path. Netflix were great like that. It was treated like two movies, and like any movie, we don’t want you to be sitting there and looking at your watch after enjoying it for so long, going, 'Come on guys. Start to wrap up.' It was just about timing. 

"You rewrite the script a million times before you even shoot a frame. And you shoot as much as you can before you get into the edit room. Then the edit room is like the second time you get to rewrite everything."

The Witcher: Blood Origin is set more than a thousand years before the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, Ciri, and Yennefer in the mothership series (with The Witcher season 3 coming soon), and unfolds in the Golden Age of Elves. This supernatural species has occupied the continent for a long time, but they weren’t the original settlers. That honor belongs to gnomes and dwarves. As the elves established themselves and reached new heights in terms of science and magic, all the races blended together. De Barra compares the landscape to "Rome, or any great empire, before they fall."

“But like any great civilization, we tend to mythologize them,” de Barra says. “Of course, if you lived in them, they were quite horrible, as well. They did shitty things to get on top of the pile and create these cultures.

"In the elves’ case, it was driving the dwarves out of the continent and treating them as second-class citizens. It’s ironic because that is what happened to the elves when the humans came. I’m sure dwarves’ history got buried by elven conquest. The theme running through this is stories are written by the victors. You might not know the whole story since stories get lost with the fall of cultures."

That's just a snippet of the long read on The Witcher: Blood Origin, available in the Violent Night issue of SFX Magazine (opens in new tab), available now! For even more from SFX, sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.

Freelance Writer

Bryan is a freelance writer who contributes regularly to SFX, along with ET Canada, Sci-Fi Magazine, SYFY Wire, Scream Magazine, CBR, and more. He's a sci-fi expert in the movie and TV space, and also has a great knowledge of comics.