Why The Witcher Was Able To Expand Its Universe So Quickly, According To One Netflix Exec

henry cavill geralt the witcher season 2 trailer netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Right now, fans of the Netflix fantasy hit The Witcher are finally getting much closer to being able to watch the long-delayed Season 2. But, we’ve had plenty to think about with regards to the world explored in the series, seeing as how the popularity of the first season quickly led to several other projects in the on-screen universe getting the greenlight, one of which (the anime film, Nightmare of the Wolf) debuted back in August. Now, one Netflix executive is revealing why The Witcher has been able to expand its story on the streamer so quickly, and it has a lot to do with the books that the show is based on.

The Witcher landed on Netflix in December of 2019, and even though some elements of the story confused viewers, it was still a massive success for the service. It was just about a month later that Nightmare of the Wolf was announced, with a live action prequel series, another anime film, and a show for kids announced later. So, why has the series been able to spinoff into these side projects so fast? Here’s what Netflix executive Kelly Luegenbiehl, who helped bring the original series to the streamer, told Entertainment Weekly

It's two things. First, it really starts with the audience. Are they excited to dive deeper into this world and pull back those layers? The second part is, do we feel like there's enough there to do that? It's not just doing story to do story, but that there's really enough soul behind it. Sapkowski created this very rich world, but in some ways only hinted at the potential of it.

One of the things which likely helped Netflix get on board The Witcher train was the fact that the popular books by Andrzej Sapkowski had already been adapted into a series of extremely popular video games (with star Henry Cavill being a big fan of both). So, lots of people are already crazy for any and everything The Witcher. Fortunately for Luegenbiehl, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, and others who are working to give us more of this fantastical and bloody world, Sapkowski’s books give a lot of hints toward events that could easily be explored on the small screen in a number of spinoffs. 

This was very true of Nightmare of the Wolf, which explored a major event in Witcher history (and Geralt’s past) and introduced audiences to Vesemir, who will have a big part in the action of The Witcher Season 2. And, the same can be said about the upcoming limited series, The Witcher: Blood Origin, which will show what happened during the Conjunction of the Spheres, about 1200 years prior to the events of the main series. And, Kelly Luegenbiehl noted that these additional projects are good for being able to give fans more of what they want:

[It's the] broad approach to fantasy. In each subsequent season, we're really able to pull back more layers of the onion and get to know this world and these characters at a deeper level.

While we don’t know when The Witcher: Blood Origin will finally hit Netflix, the show has been filming for a few months, so hopefully it will be on our screens by the end of next year. Meanwhile, Season 2 of The Witcher will drop on December 17.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.