Netflix’s upcoming “The Witcher” series has been a hot topic for fans following the release of the first official images of main character Geralt, played by Henry Cavill.

Questions of whether or not this live-action series would be following the source novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski rather than the popular video game series were prevalent, and showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich has cleared that up a bit.

While speaking with Entertainment Weekly ahead of the show’s San Diego Comic Con panel tomorrow, Hissrich answered some burning questions:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There are books, short stories, and videogames — a lot of potential story material laying around. Which is the focus of the first season?

We’re not adapting the videogames, it’s a straight adaptation of the books. Which is great as the videogames are also an adaptation of the books. They went one direction, we actually get to go another. We’re kind of holding close to our chest what we’re doing in the first season. There’s a lot of obviously epic excitement that starts in the saga of the books. But the short stories provided a lot of world building and lay the foundation of this Continent and the politics of it and the understanding of the people of it and those really came into focus in the first season.

EW: Landing Henry Cavill coming off Mission: Impossible – Fallout and playing Superman was a huge score. How did that go down?

Henry is a huge fan of this property. He’s read all of the books. He’s played all the games. I met him at the very beginning of the process. He said, “I would love to play this character.” I said, “Henry, you’re amazing, but we haven’t even started thinking about casting yet.” Then I met 207 other possible Geralts. And I came back to Henry at the end. He was my very first meeting and four months later I called him and asked if he was still interested and he was. The first time I met him I hadn’t even started writing the scripts yet. And once I started writing I couldn’t get Henry’s voice out of my head for the character. Looking at the final product, it’s really exciting. He embodies Geralt in a way that I don’t think anybody else could.

EW: You started to address this at the end of that answer, but what’s he like in the role?

In the books, Geralt is largely silent, to an extent. He tends to take in what’s around him and process that internally. But you can’t have [a lead character] process everything internally in a television show. So in the first episode, I wrote Geralt with a lot of lines. Henry shot them all, and in the edit we started pulling some of them out. Henry brings subtitles to this character, finding emotional resonance in small moments, and playing it in such a subtle way that you understand what the character is going through without necessarily having huge chunks of dialogue. By the time we got to episode 108 — the finale of the first season — we didn’t even shoot half the dialogue because we knew there was so much Henry could do with Geralt that didn’t require my words.

And, how about the general audience for this particular show? Are we looking at something more young adult, or full-on “Game of Thrones” style?

EW: I take it you guys have more of a PG-13 vibe vs., say, Game of Thrones? Or is that an inaccurate assumption?

HISSRICH: That’s a pretty inaccurate assumption! I’ve been rewatching dailies and my kids aren’t allowed to look at the screen anymore after one of them snuck around and saw something they shouldn’t have seen and it scared him. It’s a very adult show. I will add it was important to me that any violence or sex drives the story and is not there just for shock value. I think audiences are really savvy and know when we’re doing stuff to just shock them versus do stuff that really drives the story.

Theoretically, we’ll be getting an expected release date for “The Witcher” after their panel tomorrow, and hopefully- a real trailer.

ABOUT >> Mary Anne Butler
  • BIO >> Mary Anne Butler (Mab) is a reporter and photographer from San Francisco California. She is a lifelong geek, huge music nerd, occasionally cosplays at conventions, does Renaissance Faires, and in general lives the life of a True Believer. She may be short, but she makes up for it with a loud voice.
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