The Netflix Witcher TV series recently dropped its first teaser trailer at San Diego Comic Con, giving us our first good look at what Henry Cavill and co. will look like in action. There’s a lot to be gleaned from the two-minute video, so let’s get right into it and then break it down below.
The setting of The Continent fits cleanly with what fans will have experienced before in the Witcher video games. The wilds are a windswept and muddy mixture of scrubland and sparse woods, whilst settlements are suitably grubby – drenched as they are in oily woodsmoke and human filth. The unwashed masses regarding Geralt with equal measures of fear and disgust as he makes his way through the crowds that throng the streets.
After the initial mixed reactions from fans towards Cavill’s Geralt, it’s been good to see a lot more positive feedback emerge following the release of some promotional images last month and now the trailer. The first time we saw the ex-Man of Steel star as Geralt of Rivia he looked too clean, too pretty. Now though it seems those fears were unfounded, with most of the trailer showing-off an unshaven Cavill caked in varying degrees of mud and blood.
Ciri and Yennifer got some screen time too, giving us a better insight into how Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra will bring their respective characters to life. We see Ciri stood in a cave with what appear to be a tribal people, possibly Aen Seidhe elves. The cave is verdant and open to the sky, with shafts of sunlight punctuating the scene. Despite the difference in aesthetic, Freya Allen still comes across as the same mischievous and adventurous Ciri. Yennifer on the other hand appears frail, broken. More like a frightened child than the raven-haired beauty with the noble bearing and steely gaze. But it’s still early days yet, Chalotra might not LOOK much like Yennifer in the trailer but if nothing else hopefully Chalotra’s portrayal will perfectly capture the sorceress’s fierce intellect and commanding aura. After all, Yennifer of Vengerburg is an exceptionally powerful and experienced magic-caster, as well as a significant political figure.
Lastly, we get a look at a couple of the series’ monsters. The first is a humanoid monster, possibly a Striga judging from the urban environment, whilst the second is a large arachnid or insectoid creature we see Geralt confronting in swampy/boggy terrain. This second monster could be a Zeugl or maybe even a Kikimore. There seems to be a good amount of costume and make-up present as well as the expected CGI, which is a blessing. We’ve all seen what CGI overkill can do to an otherwise excellent story. (*cough* The Hobbit Trilogy *cough*)
Following the reveal trailer, the Witcher series’ showrunner, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, clarified a few points and nagging concerns raised by the community:
Geralt absolutely DOES still use two swords in his trade as a Witcher. However the Netflix Witcher series will remain faithful to the original Andrzej Sapkowski books by having Geralt wear only the steel blade at all times, his silver sword is stowed in his saddlebags when he’s not using it to hack up Drowners and Bruxae.
The Netflix Witcher series will honour small memorable moments from the books and games, such as the infamous bath tub scene, which spawned a host of memes as well as its own statue. Another moment that Hissrich was adamant on doing justice is the ‘A Question of Price’ short story, which tells the tale of how Ciri becomes Geralt’s surprise child.
Hissrich confirmed that the show won’t be watered-down for younger audiences, but also that any explicit content will be purposeful and not there just for the sake of it: “It’s a very adult show. I will add it was important to me that any violence or sex drives the story and is not there just for shock value. I think audiences are really savvy and know when we’re doing stuff to just shock them versus do stuff that really drives the story.”
Sadly no release date was announced, but the show is still due to air sometime in the fourth quarter of 2019.