is easily one of the most anticipated TV series of the year, a show that we’ve been referring to as Netflix’s own Game of Thrones epic adventure. It turns out that description might indeed be entirely accurate considering what showrunner Lauren Hissrich is doing with season 1 of the series. Not only is it going to be a very adult show with plenty of sex and violence, but it’s also going to deliver a collection of mysterious characters that will make it hard to pinpoint the villains.
Hissrich, who also worked on Netflix’s Daredevil before, talked to Entertainment Weekly ahead of San Diego 2019, which is where we’ve been expecting Netflix to drop the first full-length trailer for The Witcher. It’s unclear when that first trailer will drop, although the producer did say that things are ramping up and that she hopes something will happen soon.
Netflix’s The Witcher will be an adaptation of the books, not the popular video games that are based on the same story, Hissrich revealed. She further teased that Netflix is doing something special with this universe:
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.
That’s probably why it’s so difficult to have villains in this particular world, where humans have to battle all sorts of creatures and monsters in addition to fighting for power among themselves. Much like in Game of Thrones, Hissrich revealed that it’d be difficult to find a villain, as your perspective on a character will change as the season progresses:
It’s not a secretive aspect. There isn’t really a villain. One of the things we’re enjoying exploring is all the shades of grey in the books. The characters you’re rooting for in the beginning may not be the characters you’re rooting for in the end. And characters you hate and seem absolutely evil are motivated by something that’s really relatable and human and emotional. I found writing it and then watching it afterward that your allegiance switches a lot. You constantly try to put yourself in the shoes of characters and think what would you do [in a situation]. I think you’ll end up having a lot of empathy for characters you didn’t expect to.
She also said that The Witcher isn’t the kind of PG-13 series you might expect, teasing that it’ll contain some very explicit scenes:
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.
All these remarks sure make it sound like Netflix is trying to replicate the Game of Thrones phenomenon with a magical story of its own. Let’s just hope it sticks the landing.