Most famous for the 2015 Game of the Year, The Witcher adaptation by Netflix comes to our screens this December. After the series was first announced in 2017, Man of Steel‘s Henry Cavill takes up the mantle of the titular Witcher Geralt of Rivia; the casting announcement in September 2018 led to some controversy, however since the recent release of the trailers, Cavill has received praise from fans for his portrayal. Cavill himself is a long-time fan of the video games, apparently calling up his casting agent every day until the role of Geralt was confirmed.
Much like Stranger Things, the cast contains a few major names like aforementioned Cavill, but most of the principal cast is made up of less well-known thespians. Princess Ciri, heiress to the throne of the Cintra, is portrayed by Freya Allan, while sorceress Yennifer of Vengerberg is played by Anya Chalotra. Neither actress has had many major television roles, so I am excited to see how both portray these much-loved figures.
Other characters from the novels and games are billed to make an appearance, including fellow sorceress Triss, played by Anna Shaffer, and the bardic Dandelion. Geralt’s horse Roach also makes an appearance, and no doubt the vast hoards of monsters are going to follow from script to screen. While mentor Vesemir has yet to be confirmed for the show, I do hope that later series will bring him to life.
With no single main foe for the main characters to be battling against throughout the series, the show will instead be focusing on the moral shades of grey that exists across The Continent; in the time of war, people are going to pick the lesser of two evils when making decisions. The concept is reflected in the posters and advertising for the series, with lines such as “The worst monsters are the ones we create.” Geralt’s fight sequences from the trailer have been speculated to include some from the incident where he earned the moniker “Butcher of Blaviken”.
The concept of choice and destiny seems to be a key focus for the series, with Geralt, Ciri, and Yennifer all setting off on their own quests because of it. Each much overcome their own challenges, whether learning about their true destinies, or just turning away from the simple “monsters and money” mentality. For someone who is perhaps more familiar with the video games produced by CD Projekt RED, the jump away from Geralt seeing Ciri as his adopted daughter might be jarring, but I look forward to seeing how the dynamic changes over time.
Chosen locations already revealed in the trailers look stunning, and the line between bloody realism and stunning fantasy is balanced in the way that shines. And only time will tell as to what influences from the games will make their way over to the show. For me, I long for the day that I see Kaer Morhen, infamous home of the Witchers.
The Witcher joins the lineup of live-action fantasy adaptations that are coming in the aftermath of Game of Thrones‘ final series. With His Dark Materials already on our screens, and Amazon producing shows inspired by both Lord of the Rings and an animated series of Critical Role, it is definitely the time to be a fan of fantasy television. With a fantastic cast and more series destined to follow, being able to see these stories play out on screen cannot come soon enough.
The Witcher arrives on Netflix on December 20th. Watch the trailer below: