If the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Netflix’s new project The Witcher is a half-naked Henry Cavill with a decidedly pretty bad wig, well, we can’t blame you. But this weekend’s The Witcher panel at MCM Comic Con London has proven that there is a lot more than meets the eye.
Creator Lauren Schmidt and actress Freya Allan (Ciri) took to the stage on Sunday afternoon to offer UK fans an exclusive first look at never-seen-before footage of the series. The clips were able to provide an insight into the world of the series and included both pretty epic fighting sequences and more nuanced dramatic scenes.
Schmidt confirmed that while The Witcher will incorporate all the elements that make a good fantasy drama, including love, sex, action and violence, is ultimately grounded in genuine emotions.
“There’s some really great moments of pure drama, and characters struggling with things that all people struggle with, and that’s the interesting part, right?”said Schmidt. “It is normal people in abnormal situations and places”.
But don’t expect The Witcher to become the nextGame of Thrones. “Game of Thrones is irreplaceable,” said Schmidt. “The Witcher will have its own place”.
Ultimately,The Witcher is based on the book series of the same title by Andrzej Sapkowski, which Schmidt has taken as source material. Some changes have been made – The Last Wish was Schmidt’s favorite book within the series, so that’s where she started, but the female characters, particularly Ciri (Freya Allen) and Yennifer, were not featured a lot. “
I really wanted them to be big characters in the series from the beginning, I didn’t want to wait until season three to meet them, so one of the first changes I made was I really elevated the stories of Ciri and Freya and brought them more to the forefront”.
The series also sees the addition of new characters, such as Dara, who is a crucial part of Ciri’s story this season. He offers Ciri another point of view and “he is vital in keeping her going”, so Freya. “They do become a team, and what’s so interesting is that they are from two so opposing backgrounds, and they have been brought up in totally different ways, and yet they find a commonality in it”.
With Ciri on the run, the writers “needed to create a character to mirror her experiences in so many ways, but also broaden her experience in others”, added Schmidt.
Schmidt finally spoke about Andrzej Sapkowski, who “was wiping tears away at one point” while visiting the set during production. “I think he was so excited to see this world come to life but also how dedicated we were”, she said. While Sapkowski has access to scripts and dailies, he refuses to watch any footage before the season is finished. “He has not seen any of the episodes yet. He doesn’t want to see the ingredients of the soup; he wants to taste the soup at the end”.
An official release date for The Witcher has yet to be announced, but a giveaway at MCM Comic Con seemed to confirm a premiere taking place on December 16.
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