45 Monster-Slaying Coin-Tossing Facts About the WitcherBy Israel O
If you are not watching The Witcher, then what you are about to read might make you reconsider. Since the end of Game of Thrones, we have not had a series with complex characters, strange monsters, and an unpredictable storyline. The Witcher is all of these things and a whole lot more. Blood is getting spilled coldly; kingdoms are fighting for dominance, magic abounds, and, not to forget, an impending war that could spell the end for humanity looms. Still won’t watch it? With the second season of the jaw-dropping Netflix hit series ending in a buzzer, we’re sure everyone has a myriad of questions they’d like to be answered, but we’ll have to wait for the third season to get those mysteries solved. In the meantime, let’s have a look at 45 facts you would not have known about the hit series.
His Fists do the Talking
If you have seen either of the two available seasons of The Witcher, then you must know that Geralt is a man of few words. Instead of talking, he prefers grunting or just pulling out his sword and getting into action. Surprisingly, that was the plan.
Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, the showrunner, admitted that Geralt’s lines were intentionally cut short. However, that won’t be a problem as Geralt is pretty expressive in his own way. Whether it’s by hardcore staring or using his fists, somehow, he manages to get his point across.
Filming in the Mud
Filming can be challenging, especially when the weather is not on your side. The cast and crew of The Witcher experienced firsthand just how uncomfortable it can be as the battle of Sodden Hill was filmed in very muddy conditions.
Marc Jobst – one of the many directors of The Witcher series, revealed in an interview that unseasonally heavy rain kept falling while shooting Sodden Hill’s battle. He said the cast and crew members were slopping around in mud that was at least five inches deep.
No way for Ed
Do you remember Ed Sheeran’s cameo in Game of Thrones? It left so many people stunned and delighted. With good reason, GOT gave us one of the most unexpected cameos ever seen in one of our favorite series. However, according to those in the know, history will not be repeating itself.
The Witcher is fast becoming our new addiction and substitute for GOT, but it will at no point be featuring Ed Sheeran. Andrzej Sapkowski at Comicon confirmed that by saying part of his job as a creative consultant is to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Geralt’s stubborn tendency to ignore the advice of others may be rubbing off on Henry Cavill. Being the great and committed actor that he is, it’s no surprise that he has inadvertently taken on some of the behaviors of his latest character.
Cavill almost blinded himself on set after failing to remove the contact lenses he wears while playing Geralt. This happened after he was warned not to wear them for longer than three hours at a time as they could damage his eyes.
When we make mistakes in life, we pick ourselves up and see it as a learning experience. However, this one could have easily been one of those mistakes that leave a lifetime of regrets. Andrzej Sapkowski got lucky in the end.
Sapkowski, the author of the story, made the wrong decision to sell the video game rights for the franchise for just $9,500 before the series became the global phenomenon that it is today. Lucky for him, the company he sold it to recently decided to compensate him for his efforts.
The Witchers Code
Just like how some of those rules our parent’s taught us arent exactly law, the Witcher’s code also belongs to the same category. In the novels, it was revealed that the code is simply an excuse to get out of uncomfortable situations.
It would appear, however, by watching the show, that the first and only rule of the Witchers is there are no rules. What would they need them for anyway? It’s not like the rules will help them fight monsters and make magical potions.
It wasn’t always Rosy
Before becoming a Netflix hit series and video game sensation, The Witcher was a little-known short story published in a Polish fantasy magazine. The author, Andrzej Sapkowski, is now one of his country’s most renowned icons of the fantasy genre.
He was proving yet again that the beginning of a journey is as important as the end. If Sapkowski had given up on his story, perhaps he wouldn’t be as famous as he is today. His relentless effort to get more people to read his book certainly paid off.
The One that got cut Away
When you see a movie for the first time, it is natural that you miss a whole bunch of small details since you’re so immersed in the overall plotline. However, when you watch it for the second time, you start to see all kinds of things you missed.
Episode four starts with Geralt entering the inn covered in blood. Clearly, he just finished dealing with another monster, who we later found out to be a Selkie Maw. If you thought you had missed something, you did! The actual fighting scenes were cut due to budgetary constraints.
The Fourth Time was the Charm
There have been four major screen adaptations of The Witcher, but only the Netflix version of the series is known to most people. The first screen adaptation is reputedly the worst of the lot and was heavily criticized by fans.
The first Witcher movie was called The Hexer, and it was released in 2001, while a series with the same name was also released the following year. Although the series did better than the movie, it still did not come anywhere close to the success of Netflix’s version.
Last Minute Decision
Henry Cavill’s journey to becoming our famous Witcher was by no means an easy one. Despite revealing his love for the novel and video games, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, the showrunner for the series, just didn’t think Henry was the right person for the job.
Lauren turned down Henry Cavill’s to be the Witcher and 200 other actors went on to audition. However, she changed her mind in the end because she said she kept hearing Cavill’s voice in her head. The rest, as they say, is history.
It’s not news that actors and actresses go through many transformations just so they can be our favorite on-screen heroes and villains. However, to play his role in The Witcher perfectly, Henry Cavill had to do a lot more than make a few simple tweaks to his appearance.
Like playing Superman wasn’t a demanding enough role, Henry Cavill went on an extreme diet, one that required him not to drink water for days. All those muscles and abs we saw in the series were mainly on display from dehydration.
Born to Play Jaskier
We already know Jaskier is a funny and carefree character who loves his music, but what we didn’t know is that in reality, Joey Batey, who plays the part truly loves music. Coincidence? Actually, it just might be what got him the role.
Interestingly, during the audition for the role, Joey Batey came dressed in a costume and performed a song with a lute. The casting director was stunned and couldn’t believe the talent he possessed. Perhaps that’s why we all love the character’s singing.
The Secret Weapon
They say when hiring, choose the person with the most experience. The top managers of The Witcher made sure to get experience on their side when they hired Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and made her the showrunner of the series. She is a rare breed – she regularly engages with fans and critics on Reddit threads.
Lauren is an elite producer and is as good as they come. She is the brain behind the production of numerous hit series such as Daredevil, Marvels Defenders, Parenthood, and West Wing. Perhaps, she is one of the reasons why The Witcher is so successful.
Luke, One more Time?
We all grew up watching Luke fight aliens and monsters alike with his saber in Star Wars, but it appears that we might get one more chance to see our favorite Skywalker again, but this time in a Witcher’s outfit.
Fans got excited when Mark Hamil, the famous Skywalker responded to a tweet that he should play Vessemir, Geralt’s teacher and leader of the witchers. Hamil did not reject the idea, instead, he jokingly said he would be open to it. So let’s see.
Making the Right Call
Sometimes the most obvious things are always the ones that are right in front of us. After three subpar screen adaptations of The Witcher, Netflix was going to adapt it into yet another movie. However, that did not materialize thanks to the forward-thinking Kelly Luegenbiehl.
Kelly is the VP of International Originals at Netflix, and because of her, we have two successful seasons of The Witcher. How did she do it? She simply asked, “How can you take eight novels and just turn them into a film?”
Destiny at Hand
The word “destiny” was mentioned many times in the second season of The Witcher, and it was always about one person – Ciri. Did you know that Freya Allan, who plays the princess, was initially supposed to play a much smaller role in the show?
The audition for Princess Cirilla was one of the most stressful ones for the producers. In the end, they couldn’t decide on anyone and decided to give the role to Freya, who was meant to play Marilka – the alderman’s daughter. Perhaps she was destined.
There seem to be no fans as loyal as The Witcher fans. They have consistently carried not just the Netflix series but also the video game on their backs and ensured it never fell short in terms of viewership and ratings.
Since the first season of the series was aired on Netflix, the number of active players playing The Witcher 3 video game unbelievably increased by a whopping 93%. The game was also streamed on Twitch by 31,000 viewers. This is the power of The Witcher Fandom.
The Pain behind the Scene
Yennefer plays a vital role in The Witcher as one of the main characters. Before she became a stunning mage with incredible magic prowess in the series, she was first an orphan who had a hunch back and a jaw deformity.
Playing the young Yennefer with her physical limitations was not without its own set of challenges for the actress playing the role. According to Anya Chalotra, she had to wear a painful mouthguard which always proved difficult whenever she tried to speak. In the end, “the pain was worth it,” she said.
Born for the Witcher
The Witcher might be new to many, but not for MyAnna Buring. The famous Swedish actress has played several roles in her illustrious movie career. She has also voiced some video game characters (and all gamers appreciate decent voice acting).
She was the voice of Anna Henrietta in the popular game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, before playing Tissaia in the Netflix series. This makes her a legend in the fan’s eyes. We must also point out that her performance was equally excellent in the video game.
A Language Salad
One of the most captivating fantasy elements in The Witcher is the elder speech. It’s a language common to the practitioners of magic users in the series. The author of the series formulated the speech from a mix of five different languages.
If you are well versed in English, Welsh, Irish, German, and Latin, which are the languages that form the elder speech, you’re a step closer to becoming a mage. It reminded us of the Valyrian languages spoken in the other hit of the fantasy genre, Game of Thrones.
A Tribute to Dunkirk
The executive producer and showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich is one of the major contributors to the success of the show. Her role in telling a non-linear story throughout the show made it captivating and jaw-dropping, if not a little hard to follow in places.
However, what many people do not know, is that she drew some inspiration on telling the story in a fragmented fashion from the hit war movie, Dunkirk. Remember how the story in Dunkirk jumped from various times and locations.
Keep your iPhones Away
The sound of the name “Ciri” has now become familiar with two sets of people; fans of The Witcher series and iPhone users. Siri is the popular artificial intelligence character that iPhone users employ to make commands and ask questions.
We know it’s just a mere coincidence, but many iPhone users have to keep their phones away when watching the show since any mention of “Ciri” will wake Siri up. So keep those phones tucked away or this can cause an unwanted interruption.
A Win for Animated Movie Fans
The Witcher series blew the minds of many, especially fantasy genre lovers who recognize how high-quality it is. Not surprisingly, the producers intend to capitalize and build on the momentum of the hit show through many shocking surprises. One such surprise is an animated series.
Undoubtedly, an animated Witcher series would be a win for fans and the producers. Executive producer Tomasz Bagiński has reassured many enthusiasts of this new project by affirming that many additional branches to the franchise which will be based on the original series, are on the way.
Growing into the Role
Many cast members on the show read the series of novels and short stories written by Sapkowski. We would probably all assume the actors became as familiar with the series as Cavill. But Anya Chalotra is an exception. She wanted to only focus on the backstory in the script.
Chalotra, who plays Yennefer in the series, started reading the novels and short stories but abandoned them when filming began. In her defense, she stated that she wanted to organically grow with her character as it was developing in the show.
The Princess Switch
If you remember the movie “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” you’ll remember the actress Millie Brady for her outstanding performance. Initially, she was meant to play a pivotal role in The Witcher as Princess Renfri. However, things took a funny turn.
The producers decided to make some significant changes to the storyline and the frequency of the character’s appearance. After filming several scenes as Princess Renfri, the producers decided to replace the actress with Emma Appleton before releasing the series.
Leading the Charts
Undoubtedly, The Witcher has enjoyed astounding success on and off the screen. It is the third-highest in-demand streaming series in the world for Netflix. Coming close to its performance on the charts are the also popular “Stranger Things” and “The Mandalorian.”
After the release of the trailer for season two, the series further enjoyed enviable success as many fantasy lovers around the world waited earnestly for its release. They were not disappointed. At this time, it is safe to say that season 3 will be an instant hit, and this show might surpass GOT.
A chip off the old Block
One of the most amazing and remarkable elements of The Witcher series is the well-chosen and breathtaking locations. The series was shot in eastern and central Europe to really emphasize the fantasy and adventurous feeling we all love about the series.
We learned that the producers shot The Witcher based on inspirations from two legendary series, Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings. No wonder it all looks so familiar. If something isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.
Producers and Casts that never Rest
After casting and releasing the first season, The Witcher was well received and got several impressive reviews from critics and movie enthusiasts around the world. In turn, the producers started work earnestly on a second season, which was recently released on Netflix.
After the end of the second season, we learned that the series would have several spinoffs. The first is an animated spinoff titled Nightmare of the Wolf while another series spinoff titled Blood Origins is fast approaching its release date.
He wanted it Badly
The Witcher‘s success story wouldn’t be complete without making repeated references to one of its producers, Tomas Bagiński. The man went all the way to ensure that the show we all enjoy today sees the light of day. He even wrote a letter explaining why he would be the right man for the job, and it seems that he was correct.
In one of the series’s official podcasts, we learned that Tomas Bagiński wrote a twenty-five-page letter to the author, Sapkowski. The letter’s content was passionate in explaining all the reasons why he wanted to produce the show. That is real determination, and it paid off!
A Nice Comeback
Many people were oblivious of the fact that the Witcher series is not the first adaptation of the novel before they read about it above. We know the movies didn’t do well as most of us had never heard of them.
The Witcher series did more than restore our faith. Interestingly, Michal Zebrowski, the Polish actor that played Geralt of Rivia in The Hexer made an amazing comeback as a voiceover artist for the polish dubbing of the Netflix series. How perfect!
The War Castle
If you remember the battle of Sodden, you will be familiar with this famous castle. The epic battle was shot at the Ogrodzieniec Castle which is located in Poland. Coincidentally, the castle has a history of violence in real life.
In the 1600s, the castle was ransacked, and some part of it was burned by captors who seized the place. This reminds us of the tragedy at the Battle of Sodden, and the producers intentionally used a place with a similar history.
A Blow to the Nilfgaardian Army
One of the few unappealing things about The Witcher is the Nilfgaardian army’s armor. In all honesty, the armor looked like it was thrown together in a rush. It lacked the sophistication that we see in large armies’ armor in fantasy movies.
However, producer Hissrich has cleared the air surrounding the armor’s ugliness. After her fans engaged her about the design of the armor, she commented that the costume choice was deliberate. It was meant to show that the Nilfgaardian army isn’t as sophisticated or well funded as the Cintran army.
The Famous Bathtub Scene
While The Witcher series took a large chunk of its story straight from the Sapkowski novels and short stories, the producers also stylishly inserted some additional easter eggs from the 2015 video game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as a nod to fans.
In the Netflix Witcher series, there are a couple of scenes where Geralt sits in a bathtub while trying to relax, and wipe away the grime from monster hunting. The inspiration came from the game-opening where Geralt did the same thing. We are confident that this scene alone made many female watchers of the show very happy.
The Perfect Role and Time
Typically, casting directors decide on their lead cast choices before other less prominent character roles are filled. However, the reverse was the case for the Witcher as Sophie Holland, the series’ casting director, met Yennefer (Chalotra) before Henry Cavill.
The casting director met Chalotra when she was auditioning for another movie. From the first time they met, Sophie knew that she had found herself a lead actress. It was the perfect opportunity and time for Chalotra and the director.
The Magic in a Voice
Geralt is not a mage, but no one can question the magic in his captivating voice. Henry Cavill had to undergo intense practice and voice coaching to bring out the raspy and cool tone that accompanies Geralt’s character. What a difference it makes!
Throughout the show, the famous actor also spoke with an accent that was different from the typical English tone. This set him apart from other cast members and gave his character more presence and mysterious air that made him all the more interesting.
Long Live The Witcher!
When a show enjoys unprecedented success, especially coming after an adaptation (or several) that failed miserably, the next course of action is to capitalize and build on the momentum. This is exactly what the producers of the series intend to do.
The enthusiastic showrunner Schmidt Hissrich was reported to have claimed in an interview that she wants the show to run for at least seven seasons. While they’re just in its second season, we’re sure that fans hope that her wish comes true.
The Role of Good Music
The role of music composers in the success of a movie cannot be overemphasized. Shows like Game of Thrones enjoyed worldwide success and fame largely due to their excellent soundtracks. There aren’t many people who wouldn’t recognize the opening notes of the GOT theme song.
The producers of The Witcher knew the importance of a strong theme and gave the job of composing an amazing soundtrack to the award-winning pianist, Sonya Belousova. She did a phenomenal, Grammy-worthy job with “Toss A Coin to Your Witcher.”
The invisible Ropes
Stunt coordinators are the unsung heroes of a captivating fight scene. They pull off various fight moves with the aid of random materials and camera techniques. One of the most essential items that they used during the show was rope.
You can’t see the ropes, but they are used to hold the actors, which invariably helps them flip around during fights. Notable heavy ropework was used during Geralt’s Striga fight. It helped him and the beast land on the floor without hassle.
Netflix to the Rescue
Movies with jumping timelines and locations usually pose significant problems for some viewers who struggle to keep track of events. Sometimes, it becomes pretty difficult to follow the movie, remain focused, or know what happens at a particular time in the story.
As a way of rectifying these kinds of situations and making the show more enjoyable, Netflix made an official timeline graphic for the show. The document is a lifesaver for those who are not fans of the confusing timeline and need more help in keeping track of the plot.
Impressive Actors and Stuntmen
The Witcher wasn’t only outstanding in its story and cinematography, the hit show also excels in its character selection. Actors Henry Cavill and Anya Chalotra were very impressive throughout the show and received enormous praise for their performances.
Behind the scenes, both actors demanded that they would perform all stunts without the need for a double or stuntman. This required several months of practice, determination, and doggedness. In the end, we all thought they’d been battling baddies their whole lives.