‘The Witcher: Blood Origin’: What We Know About Netflix’s Prequel Series
netflix is going all-in with The Witcher franchise. With season 2 filming concluded, there are two other titles to look out for in the form of 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.
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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. After a brief delay in production, the prequel series is set to begin filming this August and it is likely to wrap before the end of the year.
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 Summer or Fall of 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 1 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.
It’s possible that the answer could be in the format. From one 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, if the show will cover almost a thousand years of witcher history, it’s possible 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. Another possibility is that the “first Witcher” mentioned in the synopsis is an earlier variant than the one mentioned in netflix’s official timeline, a proto-witcher. If that is the case, the most likely candidate for the “proto-witcher” is Laurence O’Fuarain Fjall.
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 seven 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.
Our most recent news regarding Blood Origin came in the form of another character confirmation, and this time, it is a character both readers of the novels and players of the video games will recognize. The prequel series will feature a character named Captain Eredin, better known as the King of the Wild Hunt. It’s likely that the show will explore Eredin’s origins (meaning, before the Wild Hunt) to set up his appearance in the main show, as he’s already been cast in The Witcher’s second season.
Lastly, three casting calls for supporting roles were 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”.
We also have Salliche, a very smart young elven scientist, who blames himself for a terrible tragedy. Salliche has a wife named Kaali, who is a handmaiden to a royalty. There is also Utharis, a witty and cynical sellsword who would sell his own mother for the right price.
We will break down all the known characters very soon in a separate breakdown.
Who’s currently cast in The Witcher: Blood Origin?
So far, two cast members have been revealed for Blood Origin, and a third was cast before eventually being replaced.
Jodie Turner-Smith (Nightflyers, Queen & Slim) was the first revealed cast member, and she was originally going to portray the lead role of Eile “The Lark” Lithe. Unfortunately, due to scheduling issues, Turner-Smith will not portray this character. We hope to see her on the Continent in another role, perhaps in a future season of the main show. In the meantime, netflix has been searching for a replacement, though no actress has been confirmed so far.
Laurence O’Fuarain (Rebellion, Vikings) was the second confirmed cast member, and he will portray the role of Fjall Stoneheart. This character was described as “physically strong, gritty, and visceral”, belonging to an elven clan that rivals Eile’s. It’s possible Fjall will eventually become the Continent’s first Witcher.
Last but not least, Jacob Collins-Levy (The White Princess, Young Wallander) was recently confirmed by Redanian Intelligence as Blood Origin’s “Captain Eredin”. Yes, this is the same Eredin we know from the novels and the games and, in fact, another actor was cast as an older version of this character for The Witcher season two. This is the first major connection between Blood Origin and the main series.
Many more roles are yet to be revealed, including the actress who will replace Turner-Smith in the lead role of Eile. We’ll likely learn who else is joining the cast in the coming weeks.
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 Lotia (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. Additionally, Production Designer Andrew Laws is set to return. Though they have not yet been officially confirmed as directors, Redanian Intelligence has identifiedThe Last Kingdom and The Witcher season two’s Sarah O’Gorman and Crumbs and Born to War’s Vicky Jewson as the most likely candidates. As mentioned above, casting is again done by The Witcher’s Sophie Holland.
With pre-production already well on its way, The Witcher: Blood Origins will begin filming this Summer in Arborfield Studios near London. 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.