Last Friday, the highly-anticipated television adaptation of The Witcher finally hit Netflix. Although the new series primarily takes inspiration from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s series of novels rather than the popular video games, the trailer teased an infamously steamy moment that gamers know all too well: Bathtub Geralt. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's cutscene-turned-meme was recreated in live-action thanks to Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel bod, revitalizing its popularity.
When The Witcher’s showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich was asked about her decision to include Bathtub Geralt in the first season of her Netflix adaptation, here’s what she said:
Yes, I am a member of the human population, so I have seen that meme. What was fun for us… obviously, we’re not adapting the video games. The video games are an adaptation of the books, too, so they’re pulling from the same source material that we are. But I also know especially, being an American myself, that a lot of especially American audiences are mostly familiar with the games. They didn’t even know the books existed. So they are part of our hopeful fanbase. It’s just a little wink and a nod to them to say that we see them, too.
Geralt’s bath time has clearly become such an iconic visual from The Witcher franchise that the showrunner just couldn’t help making it part of her show. As Lauren Schmidt Hissrich pointed out, many fans of the fantasy saga know it first from the video game adaptations (including series star, Henry Cavill), so adding this detail to the show was a way of summoning in gamers to let them know they weren't being ignored.
The bathtub scene wasn't exactly brand new to The Witcher 3, either. It holds its origins in Andrzej Sapkowski’s 1993 short story collection about Geralt, titled The Last Wish. Of course, the visual approach skewed close enough to the digital version to work as a clear video game nod.
Geralt takes a bath in not one but two episodes of The Witcher, which can be found in the fourth and fifth episodes of the eight-episode first season, which not only follows Henry Cavill’s monster hunter, but also Anya Chalotra’s sorceress Yennefer and Freya Allan’s fugitive princess Ciri. For those non-members of the human population, here’s an image of The Witcher 3 moment that inspired meme-ry all across the internet in all it’s glory:
This moment, which came during the opening scene of 2015’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, has become a Rickroll to a certain degree. The site PC Gamer especially had fun with Bathtub Geralt, often attaching the image to their The Witcher articles, and photoshopping other elements within it. That bit happened so often that The Witcher game's publisher CD Projekt sent the site a Bathtub Geralt statue!
Despite initially unkind reviews from critics, The Witcher has become immensely popular in its first days of release. Having already been officially renewed for a second season on Netflix, The Witcher could already begin filming again as early as spring 2020, with Lauren Schmidt Hissrich showing confidence in writing another seven seasons of the show if fans call for it.
If you’ve already binged The Witcher, check out Season 3 of Castlevania and these seven other shows streaming on Netflix while waiting for Season 2 news to come.