Netflix is getting magnificently monstrous with the upcoming premiere of The Witcher, starring Henry Cavill of Superman fame as the legendary monster-hunting witcher by the name of Geralt of Rivia. That said, the show -- which is based on a series of books and short stories by author Andrzej Sapkowski -- isn't just going to focus on Cavill's character, as Geralt will share the spotlight with the sorceress Yennefer and the princess Cirilla. Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich shared why the series also tells Yennefer and Ciri's stories in-depth rather than solely focusing The Witcher on... well, the witcher.
Speaking with CinemaBlend about all things Witcher, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich explained the decision to fill in the backstories of Yennefer and Ciri as well as Geralt, which may come as a surprise to book fans as much as newcomers to this saga. Here's what she had to say:
This show may be called The Witcher, but that doesn't mean viewers should go into the series expecting eight episodes of Henry Cavill's Geralt from beginning to end. The show, also starring Anya Chalotra as the sorceress Yennefer and Freya Allan as Princess Ciri, has a story of three people to tell and will do so by focusing on all three characters.
After all, book readers know that Yennefer and Ciri are rich characters in their own right, and it's hard to imagine The Witcher doing justice to them without giving them their fair share of screen time. Besides, The Witcher is a TV series rather than a movie, and it has already been renewed for a second season.
So, the show has time to build the world and characters of The Witcher, and that includes more than just Geralt, even though Henry Cavill is remarkably committed to the role. He even did his own stunts for the show! Lauren Schmidt Hissrich elaborated on The Witcher focusing on Yennefer and Ciri as well as Geralt:
Instead of viewers being tasked with investing in these characters and their dynamics with each other right off the bat, The Witcher will evidently allow time to get to know Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri without immediately making their relationships a focus. The saga of The Witcher as told via Andrzej Sapkowski's novels has the advantage of characters' thoughts to reveal events without explicitly saying them; the show will handle events in a different way.
Interestingly, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and the Witcher team did have some source material as a starting point without jumping immediately into the saga. Andrzej Sapkowski also penned a series of short stories of in-universe adventures unrelated to the grand plot that is presumably to come on the TV show. Hissrich explained how the source material impacted and inspired how The Witcher handled Yennefer and Ciri in particular:
Instead of just telling Ciri and Yennefer's stories prior the novel saga via exposition, the Witcher TV show has the opportunity to show what was written and elaborate on it for audiences. This has the benefit of expanding the world of Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri as well as delivering some twists that even the greatest experts in Andrzej Sapkowski's works couldn't see coming.
Now, does the fact that The Witcher is a fantasy saga based on a series of books mean that it's going to be Game of Thrones 2.0? Definitely not, and the comparisons may more or less end at the fact that they're set in the same genre and are adapted from source material, although the trailer suggests that it could be right up the alley of Thrones fans missing epic fantasy on the small screen.
Video | The Witcher Netflix Series: Everything We Know So Far
Fortunately, the wait for the series is almost at an end. Check out Henry Cavill's Geralt, Anya Cholatra's Yennefer, and Freya Allan's Ciri when The Witcher debuts on Friday, December 20 at 12:01 a.m. PT as one of the final big Netflix premieres before the streamer's 2020 lineup kicks off.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).