The December 17 release of The Witcher‘s second season is fast approaching, and this means a lot more marketing is coming our way, including interviews with the fantasy series’ cast and crew. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Lauren Hissrich discussed the upcoming second season, but also the other projects set in the “Witcher Cinematic Universe”.
Besides The Witcher season 3 (which has already been confirmed and is set to begin filming in the first quarter of 2022), Netflix is producing a prequel show titled The Witcher: Blood Origin, a second anime film (after this summer’s The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf), and a child-friendly series. Hissrich took the time to elaborate on each of these projects in her interview with EW, so we’ll recap the new details.
A family-friendly show set in the Witcher universe
The article confirms that, like Nightmare of the Wolf, this project will be animated but “there’s a much different plan in place“. This could mean that, though the project is animated, it will go for a completely different art style.
During the interview, Hissrich explained why they chose to develop a child-friendly series, and how that is even possible in the Witcher universe: “That process came out a ton of conversations, which of course broached, if we do a kids and family show, is it going to be The Witcher at all? How do we do The Witcher without all of the gore, all of the violence, all of the brutality that we see in the Witcher world? Those things to me are the bells and whistles of this world. If you peel away those layers, you come back to basic tales of morality.
“That’s what all of Sapkowski’s short stories are. They’re morality tales, they’re fairytales. They’re based on a bunch of folklore and mythology, the exact sort of tales that Grimms’ fairytales do, that frankly, Disney movies do. So, it was about, how do we take those same fundamental lessons, those same tales, keep them in the world of The Witcher, but make them more appropriate for kids?“
Hissrich also explained that one of the things that convinced her was that her own children were very eager to watch the main series, which is not appropriate for their ages. “They get to see the trailers before anyone else does, which is great, but it’s just not something that they’re ever going to be able to watch. And I want to bring them into this world.“
Hissrich is aware that some essential parts of the lore are too dark for young audiences, such as the Trial of the Grasses which transforms young trainees into monster slayers. “We won’t be telling that part of the story,” Hissrich told EW. “But I do want to initiate a new audience into this world. I want my boys to grow up watching this animated series and getting so excited to the point that they can dig into the main series, as well. It’s an entrance point in my mind.”
A second anime film, but more standalone
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, the first anime film set in the Witcher universe, was generally well-received by fans and critics. For that reason, it’s no big surprise that a second anime film is now in production, but this one is not coming any time soon.
In the interview, Hissrich explained that the new film “is going to be way, way, way in the future” and that she has “no idea what it will be, ’cause we’re just now getting started on it.“
Nightmare of the Wolf focused on an iconic character in the Witcher saga, Vesemir, who is set to reappear in the main show in the upcoming second season. Besides that, the show included another character who will be at the forefront of season two, the elf Filavandrel. And of course, the main setting in the film was Kaer Morhen, which is a central location in season two. Clearly, the anime film was conceived as a direct tie-in to The Witcher‘s second season. According to Hissrich, this will not be the case with the second anime film.
“I hope that the anime is a little bit more of a standalone project that will bring new eyes onto the franchise but also really be able to stand out there on its own.”
The prequel series, set 1200 years before the main show
Joining Hissrich for the interview was Declan de Barra, a writer of two episodes of the main series and, more importantly, the showrunner of the upcoming prequel The Witcher: Blood Origin. Of all the upcoming Witcher projects (besides season two), Blood Origin is in the latest stage of development, with filming currently underway in the United Kingdom. Despite that, we don’t know much about the series, mainly because it is not based on any source material.
“We were trying to understand what the world was like for elves right before the Conjunction of the Spheres,” De Barra explained to EW. “It’s very vague in the books as to what happened. I got out a whiteboard and sketched out this plan of what I thought: what elves wanted in this world and what the society was like pre-colonization. That kind of stuck.
“This whole time in [Sapkowski’s] books, he reinterprets folktales and history. And when you look at our own history, societies that had been at their height, like the Roman Empire or the Mayan Empire, would be right before the fall, and then we’re in dark ages again. That fascinated me to wonder what that [elven] world could have been and what society would have been like. That’s what we’re going to explore here.“
According to the article, De Barra feels that “there’s a definitive end to Blood Origin” but says a second season would be “up to the fans.”
The “Witcher Cinematic Universe” is expanding, with four projects in the works following the upcoming second season.
When asked if that isn’t too much, Netflix executive Kelly Luegenbiehl (who was also interviewed by EW) explained: “It’s two things. First, it really starts with the audience. Are they excited to dive deeper into this world and pull back those layers? The second part is, do we feel like there’s enough there to do that? It’s not just doing story to do story but that there’s really enough soul behind it. Sapkowski created this very rich world, but in some ways only hinted at the potential of it.
“With shows of this size and scope and scale, you really do have to plan years and years in advance,” the Netflix executive explained to EW. “So I think in best execution — and as long as people are still loving the stories — there’s a lot more that we can do in this world.“