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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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