Cape Town – Netflix unveiled the first official teaser trailer for its upcoming fantasy drama series The Witcher at San Diego International Comic-Con this past weekend.
The series, filmed in Budapest and based on the set of books and not the video games (that are also based on the books) stars Superman actor Henry Cavill.
It is set in "The Continent" where Geralt (Cavill) is a monster hunter for hire and where humans, elves, witches, gnomes, and monsters battle to survive and thrive. Anya Chalotra plays the sorceress Yennefer and Freya Allan plays princess Ciri.
Here are 12 new revelations and explanations about the upcoming series:
1. What is a witcher?
"A witcher is a young boy who's been taken from the streets, of left to fend for themselves, and then ultimately taken in by this group called witchers," explained Henry during the Comic-Con panel.
"They are trained to levels of almost unhuman agility and endurance. From there they're subjected to various alchemical trials. Most of these children do not survive. And then after that, they are trained in the art of monster hunting, and they travel the world, hunting monsters for coin, and that is their one and sole purpose in the world."
2. A bathtub scene
The Witcher video game is famous/infamous/notorious for Geralt in a "bathtub" scene in Witcher 3 because it contains characters and nudity. "There is a bathtub this season. There is a bathtub," Schmidt Hissrich said at a press panel. "I won't tell you who's in the bathtub, but there is a bathtub."
3. Only one sword
In the vital art and teaser trailer, Geralt only carries one iron sword on his back. Players of the video games will know that he has a silver sword on his back as well, meaning he has two swords in the games. The Netflix series is, however, adapting and working from the original book series, not the video games which themselves are an adaptation from the books and introduced a second sword as part of gameplay-mechanics. A second silver sword could maybe show up later during the show's story.
4. No main villain
The first season will not have a single "big bad". Showrunner Lauren Hissrich said that similar to HBO's Game of Thrones, characters that you come to hate, viewers might come to like later on, and the other way around. The story will also rely heavily on political intrigue.
5. Magic comes at a price
According to the teaser trailer, the elves taught humans how to turn chaos into magic – but the magic comes at a price. Watch closely in the trailer as a trainer levitates a rock. In order to accomplish that, a flower dies – its life force is drained to make the other power possible.
6. Eyes Wide Shut
What looks like could be an orgy scene with naked people in the background, and including Geralt and Yennefer behind a mask, is actually "Belleteyn". It's a fertility festival that marks the start or end of relationships of a physical nature.
7. Yellow eyes, white hair
Geralt of Rivia might become the new Mother of Dragons, with Henry Cavill wearing yellow contact lenses and a long, silver-haired wig, just like Emilia Clarke did in Game of Thrones. "It was all about eyes and hair," said Henry. "Hair took a long time, to get the wig right, which took amazing work by Jackie, who does all my hair work. It was tricky because we had to get the skin tone right as well, and the people who worked on the makeup worked hard to find that balance. Wearing the contacts – I had to wear them for 3 hours at a time, and then you take them out. I look badass, but my eyes hurt a little bit."
8. Henry knew Geralt
"I'm a big gamer. So I played the games a lot. Then when I heard that the show was becoming a thing, it was a bit of an opportunity dream come true. I heard they're adapting the books, not the games, so I went out and bought the books and read them all back-to-back very quickly. So it's very personal to me," said Henry Cavill.
"I don't think I went out to deliberately bring something different to Geralt because I'm a purist. I love the books, I love the games, and I wanted to do faithfully to everything that I believe in and that everyone else believes in. So it's not putting my own spin on it. It's about doing justice to the material."
9. Anyone can join and start
Although The Witcher is unknown to a lot of people who are unaware of the books and the video games, Lauren, said: "One of the best things about fantasy is you should be able to be dropped in a be able to exist in that world yourself".
"The books are really rich; there's a lot to comb through. We brought out the best that we can."
Henry said "it's a fantasy series that uses all the regular fantasy tropes; gnomes, elves, dwarves, monsters, heroes. What makes this interesting is that it's not just heroes. There are no real heroes. Everyone is a hero in their own story but might be seen by everyone else as someone quite the opposite. It also dives very deeply into real-world issues that we all experience, whether it be racism, social injustice, the nature of politics, and how it affects our world. It's all of the fantasy stuff, and more – all of the fantasy stuff but with very recognisable themes."
Freya said, "people can watch it even if they're not fantasy fans because there are so many relatable themes".
10. A belief in something better
"Geralt is a monster hunter, and he has seen nothing but the brutality of the world. He's been on the receiving end of all the slings and arrows of every race on The Continent," explained Henry. "The interesting thing about Geralt is despite being this incredibly tough, hardcore monster hunter who's harder, heals more quickly, hear better, can see better, is a better fighter than your average man, he has this heart of gold."
"He has such potential to be an incredibly dark character, especially because of the outside world and how it affects him and how it directly relates to how he should feel because of how he's treated, and yet, deep down in his core, he still has this belief in something better and something else."
11. A horse called Roach
"Geralt isn't Geralt without Roach. We meet Roach with Geralt at the beginning of this story and Roach is more than just a horse and like an anchor to Geralt's honest and true self," explained Henry.
"She's the one access point he has to humanity."
12. International crew
The show started with nine writers in Los Angeles, filming took place in Budapest, Vienna and the Canary Islands and Poland, and post-production is currently being done in London. The show has a crew of around 300.
WATCH THE TEASER HERE: