Director Alik Sakharov explains why he left The Witcher


If you have been following Redanian Intelligence from the beginning, you might know that during the production of Season 1 of Netflix’s The Witcher, director Alik Sakharov was replaced by Marc Jobst and some of his scenes were reshot including the iconic Blaviken fight with Henry Cavill. For over a year it has been a quite a mystery what happened exactly and why, but now Alik Sakharov himself commented on the situation.

First, to quickly recap what happened for those who don’t know: Alik Sakharov was supposed to direct episodes 1, 2, 7 and 8, but ended up doing only the second episode in full.

Marc Jobst reshot the entire Blaviken storyline for the first episode and took over the last two. Moreover, Emma Appleton and Packy Lee replaced Millie Brady and Shane Attwooll as Renfri and Nohorn respectively.

RELATED ARTICLE: What Millie Brady’s Renfri was supposed to look like in The Witcher

A few weeks earlier, we asked showrunner Lauren Hissrich about this in her impromptu Q&A:

Alik himself hadn’t really talked about his work in The Witcher before, but he was finally asked about it in his recent inteview with Forbes Russia. Here’s what he had to say:

Forbes: “I’ll be honest, I was blown away by your work in The Witcher.”

Alik Sakharov: “Really? It’s the opposite for me. I judge my work quite critically there.”

Forbes: “Why?”

AS: “You see, in my perception, Eastern-European literature has a completely different pace. It is no coincidence that Andrzej Sapkowski has so many storylines and characters. The producers set the task of setting the adaptation at an action pace and filling it with colorful special effects. That was their vision. My vision was very different and I tried to convey it to them, giving my arguments. Unfortunately, I was not considered convincing enough, so I decided to leave the project.”

Forbes: “Sorry to hear that. During my interview with Henry Cavill, he said you were one of the few directors who has the right approach to actors. You explain things softly, but very clearly.”

AS: “Glad to hear it. By the way, Henry Cavill is the best thing in The Witcher, in my opinion. He absolutely nailed the role. Moreover, he is a very flexible actor who is able to listen and learn. I sincerely hope that he has many interesting and good projects ahead.”

Alik Sakharov with Andrzej Sapkowski

This sounds like a classic Hollywood story about creative differences that we’ve heard about countless times, but it would be interesting to see “The Sakharov Cut” one day. Speaking of which, here’s an article from last year where you can get a glimpse of the Blaviken fight by Alik Sakharov.

16 comments on “Director Alik Sakharov explains why he left The Witcher”

  1. Thank you for posting this. Creative differences can be a roadblock to any project. The director followed his vision. A loss for the project going forward

  2. That’s sad to hear. I would love to have his input on the series. The more different opinions the better imo. I agree with him that Henry Cavill is the best thing in the series and Sapowski agrees too. (Anya, Joey and Freya are all outstanting).Henry not only he’s the best Geralt but he cares about the series as a whole. I’d love to see him in a more active role bts, he could really pull it off. I also love what Lauren brought in the series (Yennefer’ backstory and a bigger lence to the world) but with a strong partner who would manage the things she can’t (she admitted she’s no fan of fantasy), so with someone who is a huge fan of fantasy and understands it they could hold each other’s back and make something amazing. Just my opinion. BTW I loved s1, I had some complains but I loved the characters so much and I can’t wait for s2.

  3. I don’t think it’s something as simple as difference of opinion I think it’s more of a Americanizing a story that needs to be made (as it should be) in a more Eastern European style to quote Sakharov “Eastern European literature has a completely different pace.” Furthermore nothing against Hissrich but I don’t believe she knows what has made the Witcher soo popular and/or why people are up in arms about things they decided to change. For example the actress they picked for Triss and the design of the Nilfgardian “armor”. My hope is that the second season will improve upon what the first season lacked; if not I’m sure there will not be a third season.

  4. Sorry but Hissrich was right for starting long series for masses.
    Only criticall bad thing in your episodes was mask for Sylvan.

  5. I feel like that guy would have done a lot more justice to the Witcher and understands fantasy genre. I hate the show its like they removed the good stuff and expanded on the bad stuff.
    Feels like a flashy crappy show like most of the netflix shows
    Lauren s hisrich didnt seemed to have any experience which this type of stuff also. Focused on stupid stuff like drama, feminism instead of the lore, grore and realistic feeling world.

  6. I think you misunderstood. What I’m saying is they shoved too much of the story in too small of an time window. Instead of just picking specific individual story’s at a time; like how it is in the first two books, they decided to do the NETFLIX standard of inflating each episode with soo much information that is never fully explained. I’m not sure how much you know about the Witcher series as a whole but there were A LOT of things wrong with the story, characters and costumes. I’m not hating on the series I’m being critical of it knowing and seeing the potential it has to usurp game of thrones entirely.

  7. I loved the whole Season 1, but, having never read the books, I came at it from the love of the genre.
    As a Henry Cavill fan, I love his character Geralt, and found myself liking so many of the characters. There were times when I was confused, and sometimes down right lost, but, I really loved it. I’m hoping to get my hands on the books, just because I love to read. I hope to see more if Geralt’s backstory in Season 2. I wonder how much different the whole season would have been if Alik Sakharov had directed all his episodes?

  8. you can clearly see on the photos, that Mr Sakharov version was very much closer to the books – Renfri looks like Renfri from the books, people in town look how the should be looking in medieaval europe. He is even honest about what got him fired – it was his vision of sticking to the books!!!! which is insane!!!!

    the only positive is this great fightscene, but at what cost? Asian blokes stoning Geralt and those ridiculous eels

    The tweet from showrunner is pathetic – his vision was discarded as we may see, but writing such cheap PR BS is really low blow. I have Regis is gonna be gay, because why not

  9. I think he is just being polite. And actually left because he was maneuvered into directing bad writing with bad dialogs, bad costumes, cheap props, clueless actors and overbearing showrunner.

  10. they lost one person in the production that was irreplaceable and had a grasp of how Witcher sh could be told. and all because of their arrogance and not taking his perfect advice, its only downhill from this…

  11. the Blaviken story is one of the most complex and powerful in all written Witcher stories. I don’t think it was done in the series at all. there is a video by a fan on YouTube that it summarizes very well: ‘how to fail at an adaptation’ if I remember correctly

  12. Episode 2 is my least favorite of the whole season and is the lowest rated on IMDb….it may have been for the best that he moved on.

  13. I love his comments and I agree with his vision for the series but episode 2 was my least favorite. Idk how much of the episode is “his” but it felt boring to me. Also the reshoots of blaviken fight is the best thing that happen to the series. I’d like him to still be part of the show tbh bc it would be closer to the books and the slavik culture and some decisions of Lauren Hissrich scare me while I loved others. Idk, I wish they could have worked it out and we’d get the best of both worlds but it’s late now. I hope at least the show runner took some of the criticism for s1 and for s2 she remained closer to the spirit of the books.

  14. Agree with Alik. Making this story shorter and smaller is the most stupid thing of 2019. Remove Helen from this project.

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