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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The Witcher panel started out with a sizzle reel from the show, and in spite of all the bad press we’ve had for the movie in terms of the costuming and whatnot. If you’ll recall, we saw a lot of weird walnut-looking costumes. From the sizzle reel we saw, they were nowhere to be seen, and the armor flashed looked pretty solid…though we only saw quick glimpses.

Panelists:

Lauren Hissrich (Showrunner)

Freya Allan (Ciri)

Henry Cavill (Geralt)

Anya Chalotra (Yennefer)

Lauren Hissrich stated her exposure started with The Last Wish, and that she instantly fell in love. In fact, Netflix asked her if she was interested and she initially turned it down.

Henry Cavill said he’s a big gamer and that he put a lot of hours in the game, and that there was something in Geralt that struck a chord with him. He’s not your typical character who won’t treat everyone perfectly…and in spite of that, he’s a real hero. 

When asked why Hissrich chose Cavill, she said he was very annoying because his agent kept calling her, even before they’d made any progress in the writing. Four months later, they’d seen 207 different actors for the character, but she realized as she was writing that Cavill was in her mind. He then read for her for the first time, and the rest was history.

 

Cavill said he pushed hard for the role, and in the midst of all this pushing, he had to acknowledge that there was no showrunner yet. So he had to wait.

After revealing that Henry Cavill had no stunt double in the film, we saw a clip. The clip consisted of a royal hall that broke into a huge fight, with Henry Cavill, among others slicing each other to bits.

Anya Chalotra discusses Yennefer’s character and that she’s a survivor in search of unconditional love. We then dive into a new clip from the film that shows off the nuance of the character. The scene shows her sitting on the beach, a dead baby next to her. She speaks to it coldly, telling the baby that it cheated the game by dying before its life started, and therefore won’t have to go through the turmoil of life.

Chalotra recalled the day filming the scene, thinking it was the best day ever because she couldn’t believe where she was. It’s a huge moment in Yennefer’s life. Hissrich also added that this was the first time she saw the clip without the VFX slug saying “Make baby dead.”

Freya Allan is the last one to speak, expressing how nervous she was, and how surreal it is to be on this show as her first big projects. Ciri starts off the show as a protected princess and as a result, she’s very naive to the real world.

Hissrich said there is one key difference in the show. In the novels, the readers meet the other characters through Geralt’s lens, but in this show, we see more of these other characters before they meet him. They give the secondary leads more breathing room before their stories collide.

The next clip shown shows Ciri walking in a dense forest, only to be confronted by a bunch of native women. She pleads for them not to hurt her, and they proceed to lead her away.

Next up are discussions about Roach, Geralt’s trusty steed, who Cavill calls an “anchor to his true self.” Geralt has gone through a few “Roaches” already, but she’s the one access point to humanity.

Cavill says that the idea that Witchers are cold and have no emotions is a lie and that he’s had to deal with this perception, even if it does help him in some way.

And then we have a trailer for the show, and if there was any concern that it looks super cheap…you can lay those to rest. It looks as expensive as any episode of Game of Thrones. But the question remains: can it be the next Game of Thrones? It’ll all depend on the development of the characters and overall writing. From what limited scenes we’ve seen, it seems pretty on point, but it’s still hard to tell whether or not it’ll live up to the hype surrounding it.

I remain solidly excited for this, but am still a bit uncertain. Out of context, these scenes can come across a bit silly, so we’ll have to wait for the full episodes of the show before we make any real judgments, but I have a suspicion that many fantasy fans will be pleased with the trailers shown.

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.