The Witcher is coming to Netflix

Netflix are developing a series based on The Witcher. The press release says it’ll be based on “the globally popular fantasy saga from Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski”, with only passing mention of the games. As for what it’ll be about, the producers Sean Daniel and Jason Brown (of The Expanse) have this to say:

“The Witcher stories follow an unconventional family that comes together to fight for truth in a dangerous world. The characters are original, funny and constantly surprising and we can’t wait to bring them to life at Netflix, the perfect home for innovative storytelling.”

It’ll be English language and I look forward to my Netflix recommendations to suggest “IF YOU LIKE THE WITCHER YOU SHOULD WATCH THE WORST WITCH”.

I reckon there’s a few distributors and production companies out there wondering if they can fill the hole that Game of Thrones will leave when it ends this summer (including HBO themselves, with their prequel spin-offs). The Witcher could be a good replacement, even for people who know nothing about the games or novels. More than half of the people I know who watch GoT wouldn’t be seen dead with a fantasy RPG, but they enjoy the scope of the show, and sex and violence still draw a crowd.

Not having read the books, I couldn’t tell you whether they fall into the same subgenre of guts ‘n’ grit fantasy, but the games certainly do, or are at least in the vicinity. Andrzej Sapkowski, the original creator of the Witcher world and author of the books, will serve as creative consultant: “I’m thrilled that Netflix will be doing an adaptation of my stories, staying true to the source material and the themes that I have spent over thirty years writing”, he press released earlier today. In the past, he’s been less supportive of adaptations, including the games, as Eurogamer’s Rob Purchese learned recently.

This won’t be the first television adaptation of the series. Wiedźmin (aka The Hexer), which aired in 2002, was a Polish show based on two short story collections, The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny. There’s no word yet as to whether the new series will follow specific storylines and characters from the books, or be a looser adaptation using the setting.

It’s under development at Netflix with Polish visual effects and production company Platige taking on co-production duties. Tomek Baginski and Jarek Sawko of the latter company say the series will “go beyond genre”: “There is a moral and intellectual depth in these books which goes beyond genre. It is a story about today and today’s challenges, hidden under a fantasy cover. It is a story about us, about the monster and the hero inside all of our hearts.”

My heart is full of heroes. No monsters.

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58 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    “IF YOU ENJOYED CGI SEXY TIMES YOU SHOULD WATCH AMERICAN GODS”.

    • Snowskeeper says:

      Only ever read the book, and it wasn’t that excessive, aside from Bilquis; is the show significantly worse?

      • Booker says:

        There are penises everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I don’t know the book, so no idea if this is normal. Can’t wait for South Park to parody this thing. :P

        • malkav11 says:

          Everywhere? There’s been one scene (involving gay lovers) in three episodes.

          • Minglefingler says:

            There was also a naked man with an erection last week. I wouldn’t say they’re everywhere but relatively speaking there are a lot of penises getting out and about on the show.

          • Chalky says:

            Don’t forget the dickpick on his wife’s phone.

            Three episodes, three dicks. They’re on a real roll! Lets see if they can keep this impressive ratio up. So to speak.

          • Alberto says:

            My wife accuses Game of Thrones of being clearly underpenised and overtittied.

            Hope The Witcher comes properly penised so the real Golden Age of tv it’s a reality.

            I don’t watch tv, I’ll stick with the games and novels.

      • Premium User Badge

        distantlurker says:

        I wouldn’t say ‘worse’, no. It’s clear they’re meant to be quite jarring but because of the CGI, the aimed for unreality of them just comes off as awkward.

        All IMHO ofc, ymmv.

    • Blad the impaler says:

      Gods, I tried to read the book. I really tried.

  2. HellFell says:

    Game of Thrones won’t end this summer. There will be 1 more season in 2018.

  3. Vitz says:

    Erm, Game Of Thrones isn’t ending this summer. The last season will be broadcast in 2018.

    link to gameofthrones.wikia.com

    Edit: Damn, beaten by a few seconds.

  4. megazver says:

    So it seems the grumpy old fart will actually get paid for this adaptation. Good, I’m happy for him. He’s ornery, but lovable.

    • Premium User Badge

      Henke says:

      Hah, yeah, I’m reading the linked Eurogamer article and noticing that. Some great quotes like “Back then, in Poland, fantasy was considered something for stupid children who couldn’t even masturbate properly,”.

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      He actually got paid for the games, too. It’s not CD Projekt Red’s fault that they offered him royalties and the dipshit insisted on a lump sum.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        I really enjoyed Sapkowski’s undisguised greed in the Eurogamer article, basically saying “you want to adapt a work of mine? Then I want a big bag of money! CDPR gave me a big bag of money and I was happy with that”, although he would have been even happier if he had chosen royalties.

        Who knew that the Witcher games would get that big? It’s like one of those fairytales that Geralt likes to deride.

  5. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    The Witcher books are more like traditional fantasy than A Song of Ice and Fire (AKA Game of Thrones), but there’s still a fair bit of medieval-ish politics in there, but generally less characters, hence less points of view. Also, Geralt is clearly the main character, which ASoIaF doesn’t really have, so most of the books are from his or Ciri’s perspective.
    There’s definitely some good material for TV in there, and I can see why Wiedźmin started with the short stories, and not only because they tend to come first, chronologically speaking.

    • Orazio Zorzotto says:

      There’s much more magic than in GoT to be sure, but I found the Witcher books more like “literary” fiction than genre fiction, especially later on. The games and GoT are definitely still firmly genre fiction so it’ll be interesting to see if they take that approach or try and adapt some of the more heady elements.

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      Well, technically only the short stories feature Geralt as the single POV. The novels tend to jump around between a LOT of characters, including ones that don’t get more than a single scene. Heck, the first novel doesn’t feature Geralt’s POV until around the midpoint, switching between Ciri, Dandelion and Triss as the plot demanded.

    • DragonOfTime says:

      The short stories in particular also feature a lot of faitytale deconstrunctions, and the series in general has a much more satirical tone than GoT.

  6. pendergraft says:

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed for Stuart Townsend or one of those Hemsworth boys.

  7. Booker says:

    I dreamt of this for years, I can’t believe it’s finally happening. :D

  8. Auldman says:

    Pretty excited for this! I enjoyed the short stories and novels and found them richer and more enjoyable than the games (the last game does come closest to capturing the feel). If handled right this could definitely succeed. The last Witcher game only hinted at how important Ciri is to the overall saga. The books went further into developing her as a major character in her own right. Looking forward to this.

  9. fco says:

    netflix is nowdays like the telltale games of tv

  10. Provender says:

    I really enjoyed the Polish TV series, available with subtitles on youtube, production values reminded me of 1980s Robin of Sherwood but its heart was in the right place. Then again I was a bit obsessed with the whole Witcher universe and still occasionally find myself asking “What would Geralt do?”

    Still, high hopes that a bigger budget will iron out the bumps.

  11. JB says:

    Well, I guess I will continue to keep my fingers crossed for an adaptation of Joe Abercrombie’s books too then!

  12. Lim-Dul says:

    A bit of smart-assery regarding journalistic research:

    The company of Tomasz Bagiński is called Platige Image, not Platige. It|s actuallz quite famous, considering his short film “Katedra” (The Cathedral) was nominated for an Oscar.

  13. Podarkes says:

    For me Wiedzmin show was surprisingly good. Even ended up watching few episodes in the woods — unforgettable experience. Just don’t confuse it with “The Hexer” — the edited movie version which is not worth it. “Wiedzmin” covers a vast field of philosophical questions and Geralt’s motivations as well, and you’ll be stunned how much was borrowed by “The Witcher” developers from it.

    • Imperialist says:

      I would completely agree. The production values were shoddy, the picture quality for a bootleg english sub version is no greather than 480p, and the design of the steel and silver swords was pretty lame, but it ultimately had the exact atmosphere and overall feel of the novels.

      In fact id say it did a pretty good job adapting The Last Wish’s story collections overall, even molding it into something a little more structured.(The stories in TLW are merely being recalled by Geralt while he recovers from his wounds, where in the show they occur in a natural sequence over the course of the series).

      Theres some terrible CGI, even by 2000s europe tv standards, and some weird editing and sound issues, but overall it was enjoyable and faithful enough. Heres hoping they can strike gold with this new show though.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      Oh crikey, yes. I watched the movie and was baffled by how nonsensical it was. Loads of subplots, characters appearing for a few seconds then disappearing forever, and a bizarre narrative arc; it was only after I watched it that I found out it was the edited highlights of a whole TV series.

  14. kalirion says:

    I heard the Shannara adaptation wasn’t very good. Hopefully this one’s better.

    • Philopoemen says:

      It wasn’t that bad, but it was definitely in the CW-teeny angst realm of things. Which given who made it, is no real surprise.

  15. jeremyalexander says:

    Here’s the thing, this news should get me really excited, but people are missing the big problem here. CDPR isn’t involved and the author of the books is a first rate douche bag that has “creative control”. So this might be totally different from the games, and the games are how 99% of the world knows this world and these characters, and because Sapkowski is such a toxic human being, this whole thing might not get off the ground. My hype meter is zero until I actually see an episode and that probably won’t be for a long time.

    • Auldman says:

      CDPR is a video game company. They should not be involved in a TV show. They would not want to be involved even if asked, I can assure you. It’s not their thing and they are focused on their next game.

      As enjoyable as the games are, and they are enjoyable, the books were better and there’d have been no games without them. I don’t see why Sapkowski is a “douchebag?” Why? Cause he does not like video games? So what? Cause he never played one of the games? So what? He didn’t have to allow CDPR to make the games and the games exist only because he allowed that. Why should he not be involved in the TV project? He created that world and the TV show has the potential to reach more people than the games. I think you are overreacting or too big a CDPR fanboy rather than a fan of that world or those characters!

    • Imperialist says:

      Im sure if you wrote a novel series, that your nation hails as a national treasure and is beloved by all, and someone came along and made a sequel/adaptation that became hugely popular compared to your novels, merely on a basis of having a broader medium, youd be pissed too. The books were mostly just translated to English recently, and CDPR made a product accessible to all major markets.

      Therefore, if you woke up one day and people were talking about your series, but only through the eyes of the sequel/adaptation, surely you would feel a bit cranky? Especially since the games essentially changed the ending of your last novel, and brought in new takes on your characters. Thats probably how he sees it. As a fan of the books, the tv series, and the games, i prefer to see them as one continuity, simply because both book and game alike are crafted with such heart and reverence for its characters. But in the shoes of the original creator, who may very well hold his ideas as sacred…i can certainly see some grumbling going around.

  16. eeguest says:

    FUN FACT:
    Hexer was originally meant to be a male counterpart for Hex.
    Same goes for CD-Projekt’s Witcher (Witch). Now can somebody explain to me why there is Witcheress now and not Witch?

    • Imperialist says:

      Probably because the term “witcher” is an incredibly loose translation.
      A male dark magic user is a Warlock. A female occultist is a witch. A witcheress, is most likely a term intended not to confuse the denizens of the world. “Hi, I’m a witch” seems more likely to get you burnt at the stake.

      • GameCat says:

        “Wiedźmin” is a masculine word derived from feminine word “wiedźma” that translates directly into “witch”.

        But since witcher profession is very different from witches, it’s a standalone word which feminine counterpart in Polish language is “wiedźminka”.

        Hence witcher and witcheress.

    • Booker says:

      Because all of the Witcher games are heavily based upon the Witcher books written by Sapkowski. And that’s how all this is handled/named in the books too.

  17. sfury says:

    Wow, is it wrong that I like the games, currently reading the books, but still found this the most exciting fact:

    “It’s under development at Netflix with Polish visual effects and production company Platige taking on co-production duties. Tomek Baginski and Jarek Sawko of the latter company”

    Tomek Baginski made two of the best short 3D films my 2000s teenage self had seen – “The Cathedral” and “Fallen Art”
    link to youtube.com
    link to youtube.com

    And his studio is still going strong, check out their site for examples – link to platige.com – Total War: Warhammer cinematics, recent Frostpunk video…

    So at least I’m 100% sure effects will bnot be underwhelming at all. Books are pretty good too, if they follow them they’ve got good enough material for this to be success.

    • Abacus says:

      Cheers for linking “The Cathedral”, it’s been close to a decade since I first saw it and it’s still one of my favourite animated short films.

    • Werthead says:

      They already have Witcher form: they did the intro cinematics for Witcher 1 and 2, and I believe contributed shorter cinematics to all three games (as well as doing that teaser for Cyberpunk 2077).

  18. Phantom_Renegade says:

    Well, considering how dark the series gets as it goes on, it’s definitely something for the people who like the rape/torture parts of GoT:P

  19. harcalion says:

    So the movie rumour which started around November 2015 has finally come to a TV series. It’s weird that this widespread rumour is not mentioned in the article because even Platige acknowledged that they were working on a live-action something about The Witcher. But I think a series is even better.

    By the way, I have just discovered that there is a German Blu-ray version of the original Polish series but apparently its quality is on par with the English fansub. Or worse.

    • Rich says:

      Quite glad we’re getting a series, since a movie adaptation won’t have time to explore much of the story.

      Plus the producers of The Expanse are involved, who’ve done a pretty good job with the TV series. Only seen the first series though.

  20. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    A witcher, hide your women!

  21. Hunchback says:

    Oh god, i was so hoping this wouldn’t happen!

    What are the chances that this won’t be another soft-porn, bullshit-story cash-cow?

  22. Isometric says:

    Now if only somebody would make a Gotrek and Felix series, I’d be a happy man.

  23. 4004 says:

    I hope it’s not as close to GoT as you seem to expect

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