Each year, San Diego Comic Con drops some of the biggest news in film and television, and this year is no exception. One of the most-anticipated properties to make its debut at Comic Con was Netflix’s The Witcher, a live-action adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher novels, which follow the adventures of monster hunter Geralt of Rivia, along with sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg and the Lion Cub of Cintra, Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon.
The Witcher’s panel was held Friday afternoon in the historic Hall H, the centerpiece of the convention that has seen giants like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Game of Thrones draw crowds that push its capacity (a mind-blowing 6,500 people, maximum), which speaks to the draw this series has well before its release. The team behind the series made the most of the spotlight, dropping tons of new content to pore over.
A closer look at The Continent
During the panel, three clips, a short teaser, and an extended teaser were shown to the audience showcasing the core cast led by Comic Con vet Henry Cavill (Man of Steel). Each clip featured one of the three stars: Freya Allan as Ciri on the hunt for a squire named Dara, Cavill’s Geralt fighting alongside a cursed man against a queen’s guards, and Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer speaking from the heart to someone she couldn’t save. Thanks to WheelJack83 on Reddit, we can share descriptions of each below.
Ciri is wandering the forest looking for her friend Dara. She starts hearing voices and strange indecipherable murmers. She’s drawn to some type of glowing light and the voices and whispers begin to rise and suddenly stop. The glow is nothing more than the sun peaking over the horizon seeping into the woods. Ciri is then beset upon by a band of female warriors. I thought they might’ve been Scoia’tel at first, but Lauren Hissrich later confirmed they were a band of dryads. The dryads appear hostile at first. Ciri tries to explain she’s lost and needs help. She doesn’t understand the Dryads’ language. Eventually the leader lowers her weapon and seems to motion Ciri to follow her. Ciri then stops and implores her to help her find her friend Dara. End of clip.Ciri’s featured clip
A very clear adaptation of “A Question of Price”. I did the roundtable interviews later. Lauren Hissrich confirmed this scene was taken from “A Question of Price”. This is our first look at Duny. He’s been unmasked and he’s in his beast-like form. The clip opens with Geralt taking up arms and fighting alongside Duny against Queen Calanthe’s guards and subjects.Geralt’s featured clip
Another man, a noble it looks like, joins the fight alongside Geralt and Duny. I’m paraphrasing, but he says: “The Law of Surprise has been invoked. If you kill them, you must kill me too.” And he starts fighting to defend Geralt and Duny. Calanthe has eventually seen enough and picks up a sword and enters the fray. She crosses swords with Geralt and asks him to stop. Everyone then seems to calm down. I didn’t see Pavetta anywhere or get involved. So it looks like Calanthe is the one who calms the situation down this time.
[Next] is Yennefer. We see Yennefer on a beach with the setting or rising sun maybe. She has a dead infant with her. There’s a buzzard overhead, and she appeared to be asking if the buzzard was there for her or the dead baby. She apologizes to the baby that it has died. She has an extended and sad monologue where she’s talking to the dead child, basically saying the child is lucky because it has “cheated the game” of life. Yennefer sounded sad as a jaded old person who has become fed up with life.Yennefer’s featured clip
You can see the full Q&A portion of the panel below, but note that the clips in question have been cut from the video.
One of the most glaring omissions during the panel was the absence of an official release date. With just five months until The Witcher drops on Netflix, fans were hoping to have something to mark on their calendars. This expectation was underscored by strong rumors suggesting December 20, 2019 is the internally agreed upon release date. Recapped, which has a perfect record calling The Witcher scoops, claims that the series will make its bow on December 20, with the filming on season two beginning just a month later in January 2020. Crew members for the series have verified the December release window, but not the exact date.
While it isn’t normal to announce renewals before the first season of a series airs, there was a glimmer of hope that Hissrich and the gang would throw down the Comic Con gauntlet and announce their rumored three-season pickup in advance. Instead, the panel focused on its number-one job: introducing The Witcher to the world. And it’s hard to be upset about there not being an official renewal (or release date) announcement when so much footage was shared.
The Witcher’s Comic Con debut also gave fans their first look at the cast interacting and answering questions about the series. To start, the trio of leads and Hissrich did a round of interviews before their Hall H appearance, showing a charming contrast between Comic Con star Cavill and the rest of his companions. He led in answering but gave ample space for others to speak up. There was an ease and familiarity among what Hissrich called her “other family”. Long, gruelling months on set might have that effect.
During the panel, the chemistry between the three leads was evident. Walking out on to the stage, Cavill gave his co-star Chalotra a quick squeeze and shot a smile to Allan. Throughout, the soft rapport from earlier interviews continued until finally the panel was over and the teaser and several clips had been shown. All that was left was to take a selfie.
And that teaser!
The panel wouldn’t have been complete without debuting brand new footage of the series. An extended teaser was shown to the audience in Hall H and then shared across the internet by Netflix, with fan reactions coming in swiftly with praise. As of now, the teaser sits at 10 million views on the official Netflix YouTube channel. It’s easy to understand the success: this teaser is more of a full-blown trailer, with impressive early VFX to match (which we’re to understand will only get better from here as there’s still five months of post-production left). If you’re curious for more, dig deeper into the teaser with Redanian Intelligence in our frame-by-frame analysis.
Thus concludes The Witcher’s first ever panel at San Diego Comic Con. Teaser analysis and Comic Con news and interview roundups are on the way – Redanian Intelligence will have more on that front soon.