While The Witcher’s sets might be gathering some well-earned dust for now, the show must go on. Joey Batey, playing Jaskier (also known as Dandelion), has been hard at work recording his “tuneless warbles” for season one of the show. So, what can we expect from the beloved troubadour later this year?
Joey has been battling through illness for a week, which is a commitment to his profession Jaskier himself would appreciate, we’re sure. The actor explained what he’d been up to in a post on Instagram which included our first look at the show itself! Though, that look was only the part that says “A Netflix Original Series”…
Quoting Baptism of Fire, he wrote: “A lovely week tunelessly warbling in the studio for #thewitcher. A huge thank you to everyone at #northsevenstudios for providing a sick man with a steady supply of lemon and honey.
It was a nice bit of expectation management from Joey, but not everyone was so keen to talk down his talents. Replying on Twitter, casting director Sophie Holland said: “Errrrm I doubt it was tuneless hun. I’ve heard you sing.
You can judge for yourself how tuneless Joey is, as he’s a frontman for The Amazing Devil group. Below is a sample of their work.
In fact, Joey’s bard-esque skills are very likely to have helped him land the part. He played court musician Mark Smeaton in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s award-winning, five-star Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. That involved learning the lute – and it’s paying off with this role.
He isn’t the only one who we know has been in the studio, it should be noted. Jason Thorpe, who will play Lord Ostrit in the show’s version of The Witcher short story, did ADR (automated dialogue replacement) last month. ADR can be used to clean up audio or slightly tweak dialogue. Asked when the show was to release, he replied: “I’m not sure. I just did some ADR in it and it looks good.”
Back to Jaskier, we know a few of the key notes he’ll be having to hit in the first season of the show. The Edge of the World, The Last Wish and Bounds of Reason are three short stories he features prominently in and which will be adapted for the show. A Little Sacrifice and Eternal Flame appear not to have made the cut. He also turns up in part of Something More, and that excerpt could very well end up in the show.
Of course, there’s every likelihood that – as with the sorceresses – the move from page to screen and from short stories to a single season of television will mean an amped up role for Joey’s character. While suggestions that a stunt co-ordinator’s IMDb proved Jaskier would be appearing in the first episode don’t appear to have held up, the suggestion that Jaskier will go with his Witcher to Blaviken seems an entirely reasonable one to believe.
We also know that Henry Cavill’s Geralt of Rivia and Joey’s Jaskier filmed at Tata Castle together. The sorcerers and sorceresses were busy in Poland at the time, so it could have been their entrance to Rinde in The Last Wish. That takes place at night, and there were some spectacular photos of two “moons” in the sky above the location while filming was based there.
And, of course, we can’t conclude without mentioning the few peaks we’ve had of Joey on social media. They were somewhat on brand for the man he’s playing.
Alas, Joey isn’t listed as being on the San Diego Comic Con panel later this month (though could still be), and it’ll be our loss if he isn’t there. We’ll forgive Netflix for that snub if there’s a teaser or trailer released with some Jaskier tunes. And, naturally, we’ll be expecting a full in-character album. While we’re eager to hear the official soundtrack, they can’t deny us that…