CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher franchise is tied to a well-deserved reputation of being one of the gaming greats around, and it’s easy to see why Netflix has gone with the live-action approach for the revered RPG title.
Where initial reports placed 2020 as the air date of the upcoming series, it seems the streaming giant has decided to move the release window forward. Instead of a one-year wait, fans can now expect the pilot episode to drop in the fourth quarter of this year, following an announcement by chief content officer Ted Sarandos.
Considering how delays have grown to become the industry norm, that certainly spells good news – albeit a little surprising. The series is currently in production in Hungary, so an early release does come across as unexpected (not that we’re complaining, of course). Still, fingers crossed: there’s always a chance that the show will be pushed back to a later date.
The early release window isn’t the only reason for fans to cheer. The Witcher will retain the signature elements of its game counterpart, where there are often harsh graphic depictions of violence, sex, and monster hunting, such that it has been granted the “not-for-kids” rating by showrunner Lauren Hissrich.
Make no mistake, though – despite references to the actual game itself, such as Geralt’s mount Roach, The Witcher will be based on the original short stories and novels written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, rather than the game trilogy. Man of Steel actor Henry Cavill is set to lead the acting front as Geralt (though he does look more like Legolas in the official poster), with Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra stepping in as Ciri and Yennefer respectively.
With the revival of the fantasy hype birthed from Game of Thrones, 2019 seems to be a good year for fans of the genre. The lack of a teaser makes it difficult to gauge the potential promise of The Witcher, but hopefully Netflix is able to correctly execute their live-action vision – if only to honour the game and books properly.