The Witcher: Sirens of the Deep is the second Netflix anime film set in the Continent, The Witcher‘s fantasy setting. Unlike the first anime film which was a prequel to the main series and focused on the character of Vesemir, Sirens will follow the show’s main heroes in an adventure set between episodes 5 and 6 of The Witcher Season 1. With Henry Cavill moving on from the franchise, The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt‘s fan-favorite Geralt voice actor, Doug Cockle, will reprise his role as the White Wolf. Joining him will be two of the main show’s stars: Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer and Joey Batey’s Jaskier, as well as newcomer Christina Wren’s Essi Daven.
During Netflix’s Geeked Week, the streamer gave a first look at the upcoming anime film produced by the acclaimed Studio Mir, in the form of a teaser trailer. In addition to this trailer, a press release provided an official plot synopsis and more details, such as the above-mentioned cast and the story’s place in the timeline. As always, Redanian Intelligence is here to pick apart every frame of the trailer and cross-reference it with everything else we know about Sirens of the Deep while we wait for the Late 2024 release.
In fact, there were two quick teasers released during the Geeked Week presentation. The first, linked above, was an announcement teaser which revealed Doug Cockle’s Geralt, who looks very much like Henry Cavill did in The Witcher Season 1.
The second teaser, linked below, gives us a look at a few of the other characters who will appear in Sirens and teases some of the action and plot of the anime film.
After re-watching the teaser, let’s dive in. We’ll begin with the official synopsis found on Netflix’s TUDUM website:
Geralt of Rivia, a mutated monster hunter, is hired to investigate a series of attacks in a seaside village and finds himself drawn into a centuries-old conflict between humans and merpeople. He must count on friends — old and new — to solve the mystery before the hostilities between the two kingdoms escalate into an all-out war.
If you’ve read the short story collection titled The Sword of Destiny, this synopsis and the trailer above should be both familiar and unfamiliar. As they have done with the short stories adapted for the main series, Sirens of the Deep will be based on the short story A Little Sacrifice. This short story was perhaps the most enlightening Geralt and Jaskier adventure in the books and also introduces one a beloved supporting character in Essi Daven. Like Jaskier, Essi is a renowned poet famous for her beautiful voice and touching prose. An old friend of Jaskier’s, who is like his little sister, Essi develops an interesting relationship with Geralt as well.
This engaging character study occurs in the backdrop of a witcher contract ripped straight from the fairytales involving the burgeoning romance between the mermaid Sh’eenaz and the human Duke Agloval. Like in The Little Mermaid, Agloval wishes Sh’eenaz to forfeit her tail for legs and join him in the human world. Meanwhile, Sh’eenaz argues that it is Agloval who should forfeit his legs and join her in the underwater kingdom of the mere people. As the situation develops, Geralt uncovers an ancient water-dwelling civilization that threatens to make war with humanity.
Though Sh’eenaz and Agloval, as well as their affair, are not mentioned by name in the teaser or synopsis, there has already been evidence pointing at their appearance in the anime film in Season 3 of the main show. The story of Sh’eenaz and Agloval was told in the song fittingly named “A Little Sacrifice”, and you can listen to Freya Allan’s Ciri sing it in the below video. A detailed breakdown of the lyrics and what they mean for Sirens can be found in the linked article.
Watching the teaser, reading the synopsis, and listening to the lyrics of “A Little Sacrifice”, we can see that the general concept of the story seems to be the same. A burgeoning affair between the female of a water-dwelling species and the male of a land-dwelling human civilization, an under-water threat that may lead to an all-out-war between the land and the sea, the poet Essi Daven known as Little Eye, and amongst the chaos of love and conflict, the witcher Geralt of Rivia and his best friend and constant torment Jaskier.
But where there are similarities, there are also differences. Firstly, Sirens will be diving in (pun intended) with a more detailed take on the underwater civilization. Now, it seems Sh’eenaz will not be a mermaid, but a siren. Additionally, the threatening underwater race of the vodyanoy seems to be part of this faction of sirens. Last but not least, Yennefer’s role in the film, whether it will be a significant one rather than a quick dream or flashback sequence, serves as a change from the short story.
Now that we are done with the basics, let’s dissect every frame of the teaser trailer.
The Announcement teaser: Enter Geralt of Rivia
The Announcement teaser opens with a shot of a seaside ruin enguled in fog, as a violent storm rages. In the darkness, we see massive stone figures, the statues of non-human beings. A flash of lightning fills the ruin with an ethereal, purple light, and reveals the silhouette of an approaching figure.
A familiar voice is heard. This is not the voice of Henry Cavill, but it is unmistakably the voice of another famous Geralt, the voice actor Doug Cockle.
The humans aren’t looking for truth. It’s no longer about sustenance, it’s about greed.
The camera zooms to focus on this mysterious figure. Now we can see he has long hair and glowing amber eyes. The dark silhouette is wearing bulky armor, and carrying a sword on its back. Another flash of lightning strikes, and for a quick moment we notice the glint of a medallion hanging from his neck.
Finally, the mysterious figure with the familiar voice and the witcher getup approaches the camera, and another flash of lightning reveals his face: the face of Henry Cavill’s Geralt of Rivia with the voice of Doug Cockle.
Why does Geralt still look like an actor who is no longer attached to the franchise? Perhaps the likeliest answer is that the anime started its production in 2021, when Cavill was still Geralt and at the time the character was modeled after its current actor. Alternatively, for continuity reasons since Sirens take place between episodes of Season 1.
The main cast of The Witcher: Sirens of the Deep
As an adaptation of the short story A Little Sacrifice, Sirens will star three main characters: the witcher Geralt of Rivia; his loyal friend, the poet Jaskier; and last but not least, the poet Essi Daven, known as Little Eye. The trio can be seen traveling together in the screenshots taken from the teaser trailer. As in the short story, they will be unraveling this mystery together as they try to make peace between the land and the sea and settle the case of an impossible, forbidden romance.
Geralt is the titular character of the Witcher franchise, and he’ll be back in 2024’s Sirens of the Deep, this time voiced by the gamers’ fan-favorite Doug Cockle, who last portrayed Geralt in the award-winning video game The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt. The timeline places Sirens between episodes 5 and 6 of the first season of The Witcher. This means that Geralt has already met Yennefer and Jaskier, but has yet to meet Ciri. Geralt’s relationship with Yennefer at this point is quite complicated, but we’ll get to that later.
Essi Daven, a beloved character from the short story, will make her debut in Sirens. Voiced by Christina Wren, Essi is a renowned poet with a beautiful voice, and we’re certain she will get to sing at least a song or two in the anime film. Perhaps, there’s hope for a duet with Jaskier? What’s clear from the trailer is that Essi, Geralt, and Jaskier will be traveling together, so we can expect these scenes to follow the books quite closely. That means that Essi and Geralt may have a forbidden romance of their own, in addition to Sh’eenaz and Agloval.
But of course, Geralt’s one and only love is Yennefer, and so we are very happy to see that Anya Chalotra will reprise her role in this anime film. Yennefer’s presence is felt throughout the short story A Little Sacrifice, but she does not make an appearance in it. This raises a question of the size of Yennefer’s role. Will this anime film, like the short story, serve as the moment Geralt truly understands and accepts his feelings for Yennefer? If so, we can expect some dreams or flashback sequences involving Yennefer.
But it’s also possible that the film will give Yennefer an active role in the story. For now, all we have is the confirmation and a single frame from the teaser. In this frame, Geralt and Yennefer are seen taking a shower in the pool beneath a waterfall. Whether this is a dream, flashback, vision, or Yennefer is actually involved in the events at the town of Bremervoord remains to be seen.
But of course, we can’t finish this article without addressing Jaskier. Like Chalotra, Joey Batey will reprise the role from the main series. Not much is seen of him in the trailer, only one frame where he is seen from the back alongside Geralt and Essi, wearing his Season 1 getup.
A Little Sacrifice is by far, the bard’s one of the best chapters in the saga. With his protective and brotherly relationship with the young and beautiful Essi, Jaskier shows a different side to himself from the previous short stories. And in this short story more than anywhere else in the saga, Jaskier’s purpose in the plot is clear: to serve as a mirror that reflects Geralt’s true self and forces the witcher to face himself, and the many feelings he has buried beneath layers of armor and muscle. In particular, one scene involving the two comes to mind, where Jaskier and Geralt have a sleepover in an attic. We hope to see a faithful adaptation of that, and of course, the iconic ending of the short story, even if new plotlines and changes are sprinkled in.
Geralt faces the Vodyanoy, warriors of an underwater civilization
Though we get a quick glimpse at Yennefer, Jaskier, and Essi in this teaser, the focus of the minute-long first look is the witcher, Geralt of Rivia. The opening shot of the teaser trailer shows Geralt’s witcher medallion humming, a sign of a magical or supernatural presence nearby. A hand with a blue sleeve grabs the humming medallion. It seems that this immediate threat catches our witcher in his rest.
If it weren’t for the medallion, Geralt would likely not have survived this encounter. As soon as he opens his eyes, he sees a strange creature leaping toward him, with a sharp sword-like weapon aimed to pierce his chest. As we can see in the below screenshots, the creature appears to be part man, part fish. A warrior of the vodyanoy, a sea-dwelling species who has come into conflict with the humans of the city of Bremervoord.
A trained witcher, Geralt quickly dodges the impending blade as he rolls to his side and grabs his sword.
With the witcher up on his feet, and his sword drawn, the vodyanoy warrior no longer has the advantage. And still, it seems that this will be a long and challenging fight for the witcher. At some point, Geralt will be chugging on one of his witcher potions, as we see him fighting the same creature in the same environment in a few other frames from the trailer.
Geralt and the vodyanoy spar in the forest for a while, and then something strange happens, as water seems to swirl around Geralt. This may just be the effect of Geralt casting Aard to push away his opponent, as the forest seems to be swamp-like, and is certainly near the sea.
In another frame from the trailer, we see Geralt fighting a vodyanoy warrior underwater. This may be a completely different scene, and a completely different vodyanoy warrior, but our guess is that the fight leads the two of them from the swampy forest to a rocky beach and into the watery depths, where Geralt finally subdues his enemy.
After defeating the vodyanoy, Geralt aims a blade at its throat on the rocky beach and asks:
Who sent you after me?
A forbidden love between a siren and a human may start, or prevent, all-out war
Throughout the trailer, two shots closely follow a mermaid as she dives into the depths of the ocean. There is a good chance that this mermaid, or rather, this siren, is Sh’eenaz.
Mermaid or siren, Sh’eenaz is an Sapkowski’s allegory, or perhaps a deconstruction of, the Little Mermaid Ariel. Like in the fairytale, Sh’eenaz is a tailed sea-dweller who falls in love with a land-fairing human, the ruler of his kingdom. This forbidden love raises tensions between the powers of land and sea. Though it was not specifically mentioned in the short story, the anime film adaptation may take the comparisons between Sh’eenaz and Ariel a step further by making her the daughter and heir of the King of the Sirens.
Under the sea, beside the beaches of Bremervoord, an army amasses. This army includes the vodyanoy warriors mentioned previously, as well as sharks and mere people who are no doubt Netflix’s version of The Witcher‘s sirens.
The army is gathering in front of its three leaders. The central figure who wears a shell crown is probably the King of the Sirens, and he holds a trident. To his right and left are two female sirens. The one on the right is likely the Queen and the King’s wife. The one on the left may well be Sh’eenaz, the same mermaid or siren we saw in the previous screenshots, and possibly the Princess.
As the army gathers around him, the King says:
We’ve had peace for too many tides to have it end now.
The King is talking, of course, about the peace between the underwater civilization and the land-fairing humans of Bremervoord. Though peace has been long-lasting, a war is brewing. It’s not certain whether the tensions are rising because of the romance of Agloval and Sh’eenaz, or for a different reason. But it seems like the sirens are vying for peace, while the humans, according to Geralt, are pursuing their greed. Perhaps the humans have conquered a stretch of land belonging to the sirens, or are aggressively mining some resource belonging to the sirens, for example, fishing in areas that are not agreed upon.
In another sequence featured in the trailer, we see Geralt leaping to the deck of a ship. On the deck, a group of human and vodyanoy warriors are already engaging in combat, and much blood has been spilled. Now Geralt is leaping forward and casting a Witcher Sign.
Fans will recognize the Sign to be Aard, a spell that pushes enemies away and potentially incapacitates them. Surprisingly, Geralt is aiming not at the attacking vodyanoy, but at the humans. One human specifically, a ginger with green eyes notably not wearing a helmet.
Who is he? One option is that this is Agloval, the Duke of Bremervoord. In the short story, Agloval goes on multiple sea expeditions to barter with his beloved Sh’eenaz and attempts to convince her to forfeit her life at sea. However, there was never a battle on the ship with Agloval in the short story. An alternative option is that this is just a commander of these warriors.
The fact that Geralt attacks him suggests he is likely at least somewhat responsible for the violence occurring on the ship, and Geralt believes that knocking him out with Aard may help diffuse the situation. That being said, the sea would be a fitting location for a vodyanoy ambush, and indeed most of the corpses on the ship seem to be humans. We’ll have to wait and see what exactly leads to this conflict, and why Geralt seems to be picking a side.
We’re excited to see this anime film, but there’s still a long wait ahead of us with the official release window of “Late 2024”. In the meantime, another spinoff is in the works. This one, titled Rats, and following the group of teen outlaws, may debut before the anime film. And before that The Witcher Season 4 will enter production early next year, with Liam Hemsworth replacing Henry Cavill as Geralt.
As always, Redanian Intelligence will continue to deliver news about The Witcher and its many spinoffs. Follow us on our Twitter page for the latest updates, or join our public Discord for more in-depth and frequent discussions.