The Witcher prequel Blood Origin lands on our screens on Christmas Day 2022. The Laurence O’Fuarain and Sophia Brown starring series, which also has acclaimed actors Michelle Yeoh, Minnie Driver, and Lenny Henry has been long in the making.
After wrapping filming in November 2021, the series had reshoots after six months in April 2022 with a new director. However, everything seems perfect now and Blood Origin is confirmed to release in December.
Showrunner Declan de Barra in an interview with Tudum revealed some more interesting insights into some of the important characters in the series.
What we know of the lead characters
Eile, played by Sophia Brown (Marcella, Giri/Haji), is from a Clan of Elves that uses knives as their primary weapon.
The cast announcement describes her as: ‘A warrior elite endowed with the voice of a goddess who has abandoned her tribe as a protector of the Queen’s heart as a traveling singer. A great calculation on the continent drives her to return to the sword in search of revenge and redemption.’
Sophia Brown in Tudum also revealed that the instrument her character Eile plays is based on the nyckelharpa, a Scandinavian instrument that features heavily in the soundtrack.
Fjall, played by Irish actor Laurence O’Fuarain (Vikings, Rebellion), is from the clan of elves that uses axes as their weapon. He is described as physically powerful, crude, sticky and visceral.
His casting announcement reads: “Born to a tribe of warriors who swear the protection of the king, the death of the man who perished in the battle to defend him has been a profound heart in Fjall’s heart. A scar not allowing him to settle or the world around him. Fjall will battle with the most improbable of the friends in his quest for atonement as he carves a path of retribution through a troubled continent.”
Fjall also has a very distinctive back tattoo written in the Hen Linge. It translates to “As you carried me, now I shall carry you into every battle, every brawl, to slay those who meet us on the field so that you may live as long as I hold breath.”
Scian, played by Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Everything Everywhere All at Once), was written in consultation with the acclaimed actress, reveals showrunner Declan de Barra. “You write to the strengths of that actor. You know what they’ve done, so you also know she wants to do something fresh. “
“You don’t want to repeat the same things. That had a lot to do with this character, and how we wrote her,” says De Barra, “She thought Scian wouldn’t swear, based on what her history was. I went back and went, “That’s right, actually.” Her tribe was very separated from the rest of society. It was a very elevated separation and she carries herself differently than all the other characters. Even though she’s part of the team, she feels very otherworldly. Not aloof but elevated.”
Michelle Yeoh via Entertainment Weekly adds: “An expert of the sword, Scian was a member of the Ghost Clan until the old King of Xintrea sent the Dog Clan to poison her entire tribe for refusing to fight for his kingdom.”
“I was saved by Raven Clan, who adopted me and I became the sword mother of Éile, who is the Lark, and that was our bond,” Yeoh says. “Unfortunately for the Queen of Pryshia, I taught Éile more than swordsmanship.”
Scian is living as a hermit out in the Black Sands when we meet her. “It is totally her choice because this is where she finds peace, she communicates with her ancestors to find out what the future holds,”
What Tudum reveals about the other characters
Seanchai, played by Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting, Phantom of the Opera), who is also the narrator of the series, is a shape-shifting collector of old lore with the abilities to travel between time and worlds, a tour guide of sorts for audiences.
“Where The Witcher came from is a whole world and you need some help understanding that,” Driver tells Tudum. “So I’m pivotal in helping people understand where this origin story comes from.”
Merwyn played by Mirren Mack (The Nest, Sex Education) is a princess trapped in a patriarchal monarchy. “She’s born into a monarchy, but all she is really is a vessel for birth and a piece to be traded in the future. But she has a fire in her — she wants more in life. Because she was locked away in this palace, devoid of real friends, she found solace in books.
Merwyn just adored the stories of the elves arriving in the Continent with this famous conqueror, Solryth. She was a female warrior who conquered the dwarfs and took over the Continent and brought high elven art and culture to the place. Merwyn would love to do that, but she’s hamstrung,” the showrunner adds.
Chief Sage Balor, played by Lenny Henry (The Rings of Power, Zog), is “a product of class in society,” de Barra says before adding, “A little bit of backstory that people might not know is he was found abandoned as a lowborn child, but he was taken in because flowers had grown up all around him on this patch of ground where he was abandoned. It was like, “The magic is strong with this lad.”
It turned out to be true, but he was never going to be more than lowborn. Balor would not accept this. So, he used his talents to work his way up and eventually become the right hand of the king, the advisor. But Balor knew that everybody still looked down on him, even though he was above them on paper. That’s his motivating factor.”
Syndril and Zacaré played by Zach Wyatt and Lizzie Annis respectively are “celestial twins” according to the showrunner. “There’s a different type of magic in this world. In the timeline of The Witcher, chaos magic reigns. Blood Origin has an early elven form of magic. It’s more earthbound and has more to do with the elements.
Syndril and Zacaré were born in the same village, under the same comet that had appeared in the sky. They were bound by that essentially as celestial twins, although they had different mothers. They had the same powers and the same connection. And then there was a calamitous event that drove them apart. They’re forced back together by the circumstances of this story. They have to work together and use their magic together to survive and to save the world.”
Apart from these characters, fans will also get to see fan-favorite characters Jaskier, played by Joey Batey and Eredin played by Jacob Collins-Levy.
Season 3 of The Witcher is in post-production for a Summer 2023 release. The live-action prequel The Witcher: Blood Origin has been set a Christmas 2022 release. Stay tuned to Redanian Intelligence and do pop into our Discord server to join in on The Witcher conversation.