Netflix’s The Witcher is an adaptation that homes in on its horror elements rather than the fantasy features of the book series, as stated in an interview with SFX magazine (via games radar).
Visual effects supervisor Julian Parry explained exactly what that means for the look of the show. ‘I definitely think it leans more towards horror,’ he said. ‘We’re definitely taking the fantasy out. I can honestly say we’re not fantastical. I mean, it’s fantastical but in a grounded horror sense. For example, with Striga [a woman cursed to live as a monster], that’s one gnarly-looking thing. That’s very unpleasant!’
This ‘grounded horror’ is sure to satisfy some, but Parry had a rationale for why the show hasn’t gone for a sword and sorcery extravaganza. ‘We’ve got the Nilfgaard armies, which can’t exist because there are 10,000-plus of them. Same with the Temerians and the Cintrans. The armies physically can’t exist here on set,’ he explained. To be fair, that’s a lot of people and I’d salute the catering service that could feed them in a calm and collected manner, allergies and intolerances and requirements and all.
In addition, the emphasis on the horror of the Witcher world will serve the ‘really human stories’ present in the upcoming series, whereas a focus on fantasy could distance viewer and character. ‘Yes there are monsters, and yes, there will be a lot of blood – but there’s also a family coming together,’ showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich revealed. ‘To me, that really has been the theme of the first season: “What makes a family? How does a family find each other? Why are they meant to be together?” People who may not think they are fantasy fans will come and find that they are.’
Hissrich said that she is hoping for a second season of The Witcher, and a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh. It is Netflix’s decision, at the end of the day, but it has poured a lot of dollar into the adaptation to ensure it rivals the quality of Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.
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