Over the last decade, The Witcher franchise has become one of the most highly regarded series in video games with 2015’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which recently came to Nintendo Switch, widely considered as one of the best RPGs of all time. Following the conclusion of Game of Thrones earlier in the year, it’s no surprise that Netflix is not only looking for the next big fantasy series to take over but that The Witcher would be the perfect fit.
Rather than adapt CD Projekt Red’s popular The Witcher video game series, Netflix has looked toward the original source material for inspiration, an eight-part Polish book series that follows the witcher Geralt of Rivia, a beast hunter with supernatural abilities. With a brand new trailer and release date having just come out, it's time to look at everything we know about The Witcher Netflix series so far!
What is The Witcher Netflix Series?
Originally planned as a film, Vice President International Originals at Netflix, Kelly Luegenbiehl and the producers made the decision to make The Witcher into an ongoing action/fantasy series due to the amount of source material. The Witcher is set to release exclusively on Netflix with an eight-episode first season and is being helmed by showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, known for working as a writer and producer on other Netflix series including Daredevil and The Umbrella Academy. As of right now, no announcement has been made about whether The Witcher will be renewed for a second season.
Based on the book series of the same name, The Witcher follows Geralt of Rivia who "struggles to find his place in the world where people often prove more wicked than beasts." The series takes place in an unknown continent full of mythological creatures, including elves, dwarves, griffins, werewolves, vampires, and more. Geralt is a solitary monster hunter known as a Witcher, described as “beast-hunters” that have developed supernatural powers from a young age in order to combat the monsters.
The official Netflix synopsis reads: "The witcher Geralt, a mutated monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts."
Cast & Characters
The Witcher main cast is fairly extensive with the focus being on three core characters: Geralt of Rivia, Princess Ciri, and Yennefer of Vengerberg. In September 2018, Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, Mission Impossible: Fallout) was announced to play the role of Geralt, followed by Freya Allan (Bluebird) as Ciri, and Anya Chalotra (Wanderlust) as Yennefer in October 20018.
The Witcher's extended main cast includes Jodhi May (A World Apart) as Queen Calanthe, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (Fortitude) as King Eist Tuirseach, Adam Levy (A.D. The Bible Continues) as Mousesack, MyAnna Buring (The Descent) as Tissaia de Vries, Mimi Ndiweni (Mr Selfridge) as Fringilla Vigo, Therica Wilson-Read as Sabrina Glevissig, and Emma Appleton as Princess Renfri.
Netflix released the first teaser trailer during San Diego Comic-con 2019 with the tagline, “The worst monsters are the ones we create.”
The first official full-length trailer released earlier this week on Halloween, with the tagline: "You can't outrun destiny just because you're terrified of it. Henry Cavill is Geralt of Rivia. The Witcher arrives December 20.
The Witcher debuts on Netflix on December 20, 2019. While the series was originally planned for 2020, it was eventually moved up to 2019 with the official release date announced on Halloween alongside the series "main trailer." The confirmed release date wasn't too far off a previously teased date of December 17, following a since-deleted promotional post from the Netflix Netherlands Twitter account.
Principal photography wrapped for the first season in May 2019 with the series filmed throughout Eastern Europe including Budapest and the Canary Islands. The Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski has been confirmed to be working as part of the creative team for series, although to what extent is unknown. “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 thirty years writing,” said Sapkowski in a press release with Platige.
Combining the narrative and world-building of the book series and the aesthetic design of the video game franchise is sure to make The Witcher Netflix Series appeal to both fans of the games, as well as fantasy shows like Game of Thrones. And it sure doesn’t hurt to have someone with as much star power as Henry Cavill in the leading role!
The Witcher debuts on Netflix on December 20, 2019.