English actor Benjamin Chaffin has been cast as “Doppler Cahir” in the first season of Netflix’s The Witcher.
Yes, you read that right. According to Chaffin’s CV — which has now been scrubbed of any mention of The Witcher — we’ll be seeing a doppler version of Cahir Mawr Dyffryn aep Ceallach, a knight from Vicovaro.
While mystery surrounds his part in the story, there are a few things we do know.
Chaffin has considerable experience on the stage over the past few years, as with many of the cast. He’s roughly the same height (1.85m) as Cahir actor Eamon Farren (1.82m). There are visual similarities, too, as seen in the image above (Chaffin left, Farren right).
Before recent changes, his CV suggested he’d be appearing in an episode directed by Charlotte Brändström. She is in charge of episodes five and six. Those are adaptations of The Last Wish and Bounds Of Reason.
Cahir doesn’t appear in either of those stories, and there’s no obvious scope for him to do so – though it’s certainly not impossible for him to be slotted into Bounds. The more obvious answers are that Doppler Cahir will be part of a Nilfgaardian arc or appear in the storyline for Ciri (played by Freya Allan).
So, what is a doppler? To quote Geralt of Rivia: “All a doppler has to do is observe its victim closely in order to quickly and unerringly adapt to the necessary material structure. I would point out that it’s not an illusion, but a complete, precise transformation. To the minutest detail.
“How a mimic does it, no one knows. Sorcerers suspect the same component of the blood is at work here as with lycanthropy, but I think it’s either something totally different or a thousandfold more powerful. After all, a werewolf has only two – at most three – different forms, while a doppler can transform into anything it wants to, as long as the body mass more or less tallies.”
This raises an obvious and important point: why not use Farren, who plays Cahir, for his own doppler? It could be that due to a helmet the face can’t be seen, or it could be that Chaffin is the non-transformed appearance of the doppler. He could even be mid-transformation. Or maybe it’s not a very talented one!
The only doppler who appears in the novels is found in the short story Eternal Flame. Tellico Lunngrevink Letorte, or Dudu, will also be known to fans of CDPR’s The Witcher video games.
He does some shapeshifting for a fight against Geralt in the book, but Cahir is not the form he takes.
The show could simply have been inspired to create its own doppler, or the CV could be using the term loosely. Perhaps this is a version of Cahir in someone’s imagination? Or something else entirely?
This is a talker – so, Witcher fandom, speculate away! We’re doing some follow-up work on this as we speak.