Up­front

Net­flix ac­cepts a task wor­thy of Ger­alt him­self: to make a great The Witcher TV show

Games Master - - Contents -

A Witcher TV se­ries, the abil­ity to change PSN names, and game stream­ing from Mi­crosoft and Sony.

The Witcher 3 is one of the great­est games ever, and if you haven’t played it yet, you ought to rem­edy that. It looks amaz­ing, and has a fan­tas­tic script wor­thy of An­drzej Sap­kowski’s orig­i­nal short sto­ries and nov­els. Tit­u­lar mon­ster hunter Ger­alt and his world have pre­vi­ously been seen in movie and TV form, via a se­ries and film both known in English as The Hexer, but opin­ion on these is di­vided. Net­flix aims to do bet­ter with its in-de­vel­op­ment se­ries, de­tails of Witcher now start­ing to come out. Due some time in 2019, there will be eight episodes, four of which are to be di­rected by Alik “ooh, he di­rected some of Game Of Thrones” Sakharov. Plot de­tails are un­der­stand­ably thin on the ground, although a script leak tem­po­rar­ily sent some fans on the ram­page. In the snip­pets that es­caped onto the in­ter­net, Ger­alt and Yen­nefer were con­stantly swap­ping wise­cracks, lead­ing to fears that the show wouldn’t stay true to the char­ac­ters. Showrun­ner Lau­ren Sch­midt His­s­rich (whose writ­ing cred­its in­clude Dare­devil and The West Wing) swiftly took to Twit­ter to as­sure peo­ple that, while real, the script ex­tracts were writ­ten specif­i­cally for au­di­tions – and were not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the fin­ished prod­uct.

Speak­ing of au­di­tions, who’s play­ing who? Well, we know (thanks to The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter) that Ger­alt Of Rivia him­self will be played by… Henry Cav­ill. Yes, that bloke who was in an episode of Mid­somer Mur­ders once (oh, and ap­par­ently he’s played the part of some ‘Su­per­man’ per­son in a few movies). Not our first choice – that would ob­vi­ously be sil­ver fox, and Ger­alt looka­like, Paul ‘Bake Off’ Hol­ly­wood – but it’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see how he plays the role.

Be­witcher­ing beauty

Mean­while, the ac­tress who must have im­pressed the most with the sassy scripts that wor­ried fans is Anya Chalo­tra (seen play­ing the sim­i­larly-named Jen­nifer in Wan­der­lust), who’s play­ing Yen­nefer. Ciri will be played by Freya Al­lan (The War Of The Worlds mini-se­ries). Other con­firmed cast mem­bers in­clude Jodhi May as Queen Calan­the, and Adam Levy as the druid Mous­e­sack. Yes, Mous­e­sack.

If your nerves still aren’t set­tled from the leaked script ex­cerpts, rest easy know­ing that Sap­kowski him­self is on board as a creative con­sul­tant. It’s also been re­vealed that the show will be shoot­ing in ‘East­ern Europe’, which surely means at least in part in Poland, the birth­place of the Witcher fran­chise (or

“Plot de­tails are thin on the ground, although a script leak sent some fans on the ram­page”

“Wiedźmin” to give it its orig­i­nal name). Also:Roach con­firmed! We’re on track for an au­then­tic Witcher ex­pe­ri­ence.

Don’t ex­pect the se­ries to lift any­thing di­rectly from the games though, as His­s­rich says that “the videogames are the sole vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of these sto­ries, and we needed to cre­ate our own vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion”. Don’t tell her about the ex­ist­ing film and TV se­ries, eh? Still, she’s shown enor­mous en­thu­si­asm for the project, and we’re ex­cited to see what she does with it. Who wouldn’t be? Free­ing the TV ver­sion from the games is a clever move as they’s have a tough time match­ing up.

Net­flix may have a patchy track record with its orig­i­nal pro­gram­ming (*cough*Iron Fist*cough*), but when it’s good, it’s bril­liant. If it man­ages to mess this up even with Sap­kowski’s in­volve­ment, it’ll look very Ciri in­deed.

We’re not sure if Cav­ill’s old enough to carry off the role, but at least we know he can rock a chin full of stub­ble. In the Net­flix se­ries, as in the games and books, Ger­alt’s horse is named Roach. Why? No idea. He never ex­plains.

The ques­tion is, has any­one warned him about the iconic bath­tub scene? Our pals at PC Gamer will be dis­traught if it’s not in the show. Things have a habit of dy­ing, burn­ing, ex­plod­ing, or turn­ing into were­wolves when Ger­alt’s around. We al­ready know the se­ries won’t be bor­ing. Af­ter Ger­alt, fans were con­cerned about the cast­ing of Ciri and Yen­nefer – but it looks fine.

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