‘The Witcher: Blood Origin’: What We Know About Netflix’s Prequel Series
Redanian Intelligence is here to take you through everything currently know about the upcoming Netflix live-action prequel series, The Witcher: Blood Origin coming soon to Netflix.
As the holiday season is nearing, Netflix has gotten a lot of work done filming season two of the epic fantasy saga The Witcher, starring Henry Cavill. All things going well, Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri will reunite on our screens in a few months, but that isn’t the only witcher content we’ll be getting in the near future. Netflix is going all-in with the franchise, with two spinoffs currently in the works:
- The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is an animated feature film, focusing on the early years of Geralt’s mentor Vesemir. You can read our report on the project here. Since announcing Nightmare of the Wolf, Netflix has been ominously quiet leaving us to guess how far along in the process they are (most believe it will air sometime before season two).
- The Witcher: Blood Origin is a live-action six-part limited series about the events leading up to the Conjunction of the Spheres and the creation of the first witcher. Recently, a lot of new information has come in and we have covered most of it on Redanian Intelligence. Now that we have a much better picture, this article will break down everything from when to expect The Witcher: Blood Origin to drop, to what it is all about, and who is involved in making it happen. If you’re a fan and just heard about the project or a longstanding reader feeling a bit overwhelmed by the quantity of news, this one is for you.
When will The Witcher: Blood Origin release on Netflix?
First, to the most important question: When can we expect to see The Witcher: Blood Origin on Netflix? At the time of writing, no release date has been announced by the streaming giant. However, we can make an educated guess. The blog recapped, which has a proven record of getting things right as far as The Witcher is concerned, reported that filming will take place between May and December 2021. However, the dates have since been changed and filming is now reportedly scheduled to begin in August and will end in November 2021.
After filming is done, there are still several months of post-production ahead. Post-production on The Witcher season one took six months. We expect a similar period for season two. Post-production on Blood Origin may not take quite as long as there are only six episodes to work on instead of eight. Just how long it will take to finalize the show is hard to say but it seems a fair bet that everything could be done by late spring to early summer 2022.
Keep in mind that this is just a guess. Release windows depend on a variety of conditions and it’s possible that Netflix may want to hold on for bit longer with Blood Origin. That being said, season one of The Witcher dropped fairly close after the final editing was done. So here’s hope!
When is The Witcher: Blood Origin set in The Witcher timeline?
With the announcement of The Witcher: Blood Origin, Netflix also released a short synopsis:
1200 years before Geralt of Rivia, the worlds of monsters, men and elves merged into one, and the first Witcher came to be.
This tells us that the show is set on the Continent but 1200 years before the events of the main series. It also tells us, that the six episodes will explore the story behind two of the most important events in Witcher lore: The Conjunction of the Spheres, which merged the worlds of monsters, elves and humans into one, and of course the creation of the first witcher.
At the same time, this raises an important question: How can the show cover both events considering that they are several centuries apart? While the Conjunction of the Spheres happened around 1200 years before the start of The Witcher saga, the first witchers did not start to roam the land until much later. Indeed, Netflix’s official accompanying map specifies that the first witcher was created by mages 967 years after the Conjunction.
We think the answer could be in the format. From a recent casting call (which we discuss in the characters section below) we know that Blood Origin will be an episodic series. Presumably this means we’ll have six episodes, each telling another story, perhaps comparable to Disney’s The Mandalorian. However, with the show covering almost a thousand years of witcher history, it’s likely that there will be some big time-skips between the episodes. Maybe we’ll get several stories bridging the centuries. Maybe we’ll get an even split between the events with the first episodes focusing on the Conjunction and the last ones telling the story of the first witcher. Lots of possibilities…
The Witcher: Blood Origin story explained
Most of you will know that Netflix’s The Witcher is based on a beloved series of books written by Andrzej Sapkowski, that also inspired CD Projekt Red’s popular Witcher video games. While Sapkowski sometimes touches on events like the Conjunction of the Spheres, it is clear that Blood Origin‘s story will be much more reliant on the imagination of the writers because very little is known about this period in the Continent’s history.
That being said, there is a foundation of early history that the show could lean on. The world of The Witcher was originally populated in waves. First by the gnomes, then came dwarves and finally elves. While these Elder Races weren’t exactly co-existing in peace, the Conjunction of the Spheres threw their world into chaos, trapping all sorts of unnatural creatures from other dimensions including humans and monsters. It is neither known what caused the Conjunction nor how it transpired, just that it changed the fabric of the Continent forever.
The creation of the first Witcher is an event that is almost as shrouded in myth as the Conjunction. Long after monsters first appeared on the Continent, a group of renegade mages came together to forge a weapon against the supernatural creatures that had become a blight on the people in many regions. Ironically, some of them like the sorcerer Alzur were themselves responsible for creating the most horrid abominations imaginable through magic. The first witchers were created in a secret and incredibly painful ritual that came to be known as the Trial of the Grasses. Those who survived, gained enhanced reflexes, speed and agility, making them the ultimate monster-slayers.
The show will find its own way to get to these events, but this is not to say that it can’t borrow from the books. Exploring a pre-Conjunction world could offer a unique opportunity to delve deep into the different societies of the Elder Races, in a way the main Witcher show can’t. The mystery of the first witcher and the mages who created him looms large throughout all the centuries that follow right into Geralt’s lifetime.
What characters will feature in The Witcher: Blood Origin?
Thus far we’ve had news of six characters set to appear in The Witcher Blood Origin. From what has been disclosed, we can gather that most of them will play a role in the looming conflicts between the races. In November, recapped reported that the show is looking to cast two female leads. Their names were given as Eile ‘The Lark’ Lithe and Princess Merwyn.
While we don’t know much about the princess, entertainment site The Illuminerdi was able to get their hands on a more detailed description of Eile: Accordingly, she is meant to be a woman in her late 20s to 30s hailing from a clan of elves that use knives as their primary weapon. Netflix is looking for a diverse actress with a background in dance and stunt work to play the role. The Illuminerdi also reported on a male lead called Fjall, described as physically strong, gritty, and visceral. He and Eile are from rival clans implying we may see a clash for dominance.
Lastly, there are three open casting calls for supporting roles recently shared by Casting Director Sophie Holland and her team on Twitter. The first is for a part code-named ‘Character G‘ who is “a brilliantly sharp-minded (female) assassin with restricted growth”, also described as “a true wildcard” reveling in violence and chaos. The second casting call is for ‘Character Z‘, “a mystical and earthly conduit with cerebral palsy”. A very powerful woman, she becomes “part of a motley crew on a quest for vengeance”. ‘Fabbri‘ is a tall, muscular druid who is also deaf. She is “dangerous, witty, and delighted by the arrival of her sudden access to magic”.
To break it all down, we have a princess (Merwyn), two elven leads (Eile and Fjall), an assassin with restricted growth (Character G), a conduit sorceress (Character Z) with cerebral palsy, and a deaf druidess (Fabbri). The two elves definitely give us pre-Conjunction vibes. We’re thinking the assassin, the mage, and the druid may share a connection. Perhaps they are all part of the ‘motley crew’ teased in one of the casting calls.
Who’s currently cast in The Witcher: Blood Origin?
We have our first confirmed cast members for The Witcher: Blood Origin. The role of Fjall, one of two Elven leads, has been confirmed to be Laurence O’Fuarain. The actor is known for his role as Hakon in Vikings, and Simpson, a man-at-arms for House Bolton in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Our second confirmed cast member for Blood Origin is Jon Prophet, who has been confirmed as The Severed. Prophet has been seen on The Last Kingdom as Florin, and Brad in Ozark.
One of the most exciting casting rumors surrounding Blood Origin was that Netflix was eyeing up Aquaman and Game of Thrones star Jason Mamoa. The actor himself only fueled the speculation further when he shared a popular piece of fan art, showing him alongside his friend and fellow Witcher actor Henry Cavill. This piece of information was first reported by We Got This Covered. Later, two more sources went with the same story independently of each other, all but confirming Netflix’s interest in the A-lister.
While we’ve had credible information saying that Netflix was interested in getting Momoa to sign up for the part of Blood Origin’s first witcher, the coming months will show if there was ever more to it. Since Netflix and all other parties have been very quiet on the matter, we’ll likely have to wait for an announcement to know for sure. That being said, casting has been underway for some time, so expect more news to drop in the not too distant future.
Who’s working on The Witcher: Blood Origin?
The Witcher: Blood Origin is helmed by Irishman Declan De Barra who serves as the project’s showrunner and executive producer. De Barra is a regular on the main Witcher show, having written both episode four of season one and the first episode of season two. A talented musician, he worked closely with composers Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli and provided the vocals for “The Song of The White Wolf”.
For Blood Origin, De Barra assembled a team of writers of diverse background and experience including Kiersten Van Horne (Berlin Station, Snowpiercer), Aaron Stewart-Ahn (Mandy), Alex Meenehan (The Man in the High Castle, Bosch), Tania Lothia (Swamp Thing, Carnival Row), Pooja Gupta (Mary Mary) Tasha Huo (Black Belle), and Troy Dangerfield (Castle).
Several veterans from the main Witcher show are also involved in the project. The Witcher showrunner Lauren Hissrich will serve as an executive producer. Producers Tomek Baginski, Jason Brown, Sean Daniel, and Jarek Sawko will also be back. We don’t know who will direct the six episodes but expect some news in the coming months, certainly before the filming starts in May. As mentioned above, casting is again done by Sophie Holland and we have high hopes.
Writing on The Witcher: Blood Origins is progressing fast with a first draft for the final episode already completed. There will be many more milestones to hit in 2021, as the show is getting closer to the start of filming in May. We’ll be watching closely to keep you updated on all new developments. Stay tuned with Redanian Intelligence and What’s on Netflix! There’s more to come soon.