Geralt of Rivia’s story is being told in a new form.
Netflix has already proven it’s possible to make a great video game adaptation thanks to the Castlevania animated series. Now they’re looking to repeat that accomplishment in live-action, as the streaming giant prepares an adaptation of the massively popular action RPG series The Witcher starring Superman himself, Henry Cavill.
From the cast to the release date to the plot, here’s everything we know about Netflix’s Witcher series so far.
The Release Date
The Witcher doesn’t have a firm release date yet, which is pretty much par for the course with most Netflix projects. The streaming service has been known to make announcements mere weeks or even hours ahead of time, so we may not get an official release date until shortly before the series makes its debut.
Currently, we wouldn’t expect The Witcher to debut sooner than late 2019 or early 2020. Given that production only commenced in October 2018 and shifted from Hungary to the Canary Islands in March 2019, anything sooner than that seems unlikely at this point, especially given the special effects work involved.
The Witcher Season 1 will run for eight episodes. Netflix hasn’t revealed what the general run time for these episodes will be. However, given the relatively lean episode count and the fact that Netflix is directly targeting Game of Thrones fans, we’re assuming each episode will be roughly an hour long.
If eight episodes seems like too little to do justice to the saga of Geralt of Rivia, don’t worry. Netflix seems to have long-terms plans for the series. The company is reportedly pleased with development on the series and is interested in greenlighting multiple new seasons. Again, though, we may not hear any official news on that front for a while.
The Cast & Crew
The Witcher TV series was created by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, who previously worked on shows like Parenthood, The West Wing and Daredevil. Andrzej Sapkowski, who wrote the novels on which the Witcher games and TV series are based, is serving as creative consultant. That’s a positive sign in itself, as Sapkowski has never been shy about voicing his disdain for The Hexer, the previous live-action adaptation of his work.
Henry Cavill will star as rugged monster hunter Geralt of Rivia. Other cast members include Freya Allan as Princess Ciri, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg, Jodhi May as Queen Calanthe, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson as King Eist, Adam Levy as Mousesack, MyAnna Buring as Tissaia, Mimi Ndiweni as Fringilla, Therica Wilson-Read as Sabrina and Millie Brady as Princess Renfri.
Netflix’s official summary for The Witch Season 1 teases, “Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. But when destiny hurtles him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a dangerous secret, the three must learn to navigate the increasingly volatile Continent together.”
Beyond that, little is known about the plot of Season 1. We do know that the show will be based specifically on Sapkowski’s Witcher novels rather than the video games. That being said, the first image of Cavill as Geralt proves that the series won’t necessarily be deviating far from the look of the games, either.
For those not familiar with the Witcher Saga novels or the games, the series takes place in a fantasy realm called The Continent, one where human settlers have subjugated the native elves, dwarves and gnomes. The southern half of The Continent is ruled by the the Nilfgaard Empire, which is constantly at war with the Northern Kingdoms (where most of these stories take place).
Witchers like Geralt are superhumanly powerful hunters renowned for their skill in tracking down and killing rare, dangerous creatures. The main books in the series revolve around Geralt, his lover Yennefer and their adopted daughter Ciri. Ciri’s powerful magical potential makes her a person of great interest as a new war in The Continent brews.
While Netflix has largely kept the plot of The Witcher under wraps, new announcements have come fairly regularly since the series was first revealed. Here’s a quick breakdown of the big announcements so far.
November 2015 – Polish company Platige Image announces plans for an English language Witcher movie.
May 2017 – Platige Image partners with Netflix to create a streaming series instead of the originally planned movie adaptation.
December 2017 – Lauren Schmidt Hissrich is announced as showrunner.
January 2018 – The pilot script is completed.
April 2018 – Schmidt Hissrich reveals the first season will be eight episodes and that filming will take place mostly in Eastern Europe.
May 2018 – After rumors of his involvement surface, Andrzej Sapkowski is confirmed to be serving as creative consultant.
August 2018 – Casting scripts leak online, but Schmidt Hissrich confirms the material isn’t being used in the series itself.
September 2018 – Henry Cavill is confirmed to star as Geralt of Rivia.
October 2018 – The rest of the cast is revealed. Production begins in Hungary.
March 2019 – Production moves to the Canary Islands.