Anyone familiar with the many iterations of the witcher – Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy books, video games or Netflix’s recent adaptation – know the swordsman hero, Geralt, a role currently held by Henry Cavill. They may also know Geralt’s teacher, the Witcher Vesemir, who remains a relatively invisible figure in Geralt’s story in the Netflix series. But in the Season 1 finale, Vesemir came through with a warm echo: “Geralt, I’ve been waiting for you.”
We now know that Vesemir’s voiceover was an easter egg for a then-unannounced event. The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, a film centered on Geralt’s mentor in his youth. Written and Produced by Beau DeMayo, Writer on the witcherwith the witcher showrunner and co-producer co-producer Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, the animated feature – now available on Netflix – finds Vesemir working as a disgruntled servant to a noble estate. He soon flees servitude and seeks money and glory under Kaer Morhen’s brutal headquarters. There, his body and soul undergo many trials and magical experiments to mold his mortal body into a suitable and magical physique for the calling of a monster slayer.
Netflix has recruited Studio Mir, the team behind Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, to create the animated film in The Witcher universe. While the inspiration of Berserk, Van Helsing, and vampire hunter seems clear, the film’s director Kwang Il Han (with translation by Myungran ‘Ran’ Ha) tells Polygon that when approached, the creatives at Netflix asked Studio Mir, “Should we go for the style Japanese or American style? The studio’s response has been overwhelming. From Kwang’s point of view, “We go for the Studio Mir style”, the animated recognizable aesthetic in the international work of Studio Mir on Korra and the recent Dota: Dragon’s Blood. He said the viewer can decide if the movie fits the definition of “anime”.
For DeMayo, writing for Studio Mir’s animation brand is liberating from live action. “There’s a scope to anime that you can do that you can’t do in action on particular projects,” he says, quoting a sequence from the film, the trial of weeds, where a herd of young proteges from Witcher are forced to ingest poison and writhe in their cells. “Like not thinking about actor availability or active abilities or stunts that could potentially hurt your actors…I don’t have to write around those considerations. Sky is the limit.”
DeMayo, who wrote the third episode of the witcher flagship series, ‘Betrayer Moon,’ says it has a chance to fill the voids in Witcher history through Nightmare of the Wolf since Sapkowski’s source material left those realms intact: from Vesemir’s dust-poor adolescence to the Witcher-populated Kaer Morhen eons before a Witcher like Geralt was a rarity of its kind.
“The Witcher concerns the family. This is about Geralt raising Ciri, this is about Yennifer raising Ciri,” DeMayo says referring to the upcoming arc. Witcher season. “[This anime] is a question of who raised Geralt?
New Witcher characters join the family
Kim Bodna (Kill Eve) will play Vesemir in Season 2 of the flagship series, but Theo James (Divergent) takes on the character of Nightmare of the Wolf, after providing his voice for the Easter egg cameo in Season 1. “In the books, and even in the video games, Vesemir lent himself as this kind of old grandfather figure,” says DeMayo. It’s amusing since DeMayo’s writing approached young Vesemir — blessed with a muscular body that carries the franchise’s memetic tradition of shimmering and soaking in bathwater — with a more cheerful demeanor than the whimsical Geralt, though there’s still a glimpse of how the crass Geralt was shaped. . According to DeMayo, James was chosen for his ability to be flippant, romantic and heartbroken, “Vesemir is the Casanova, [as] Geralt is the no-nonsense murderer,” DeMayo says. “Deglan is the mighty one.
To expand on the era of Vesemir, the team filled the unique film with original characters that did not previously exist in the Witcher. There was a chance of glimpsing an ancient Witcher in the imposing and austere Deglan, voiced by The Hobbit star Graham McTavish, who will also appear in the witcher season 2 as Spymaster Dijkstra. Vesemir feuds with the noble witch Tetra, his “purist” foil voiced by Lara Pulver, who preaches suspicion of Witcher ways and this conflict takes him into mess territory.
As for familiar faces, Vesemir interacts with Filavandrel, the dethroned king of the elves taken over by Tom Canton upon his introduction in “Four Marks,” the second the witcher episode. Haunted by the extermination of his elves, he investigates his own mystery. He was introduced due to his moral compass in contrast to Vesemir’s absence and the opportunity to work with a character who can live centuries and “talk to the fabric” of the anime and series.
Is a more animated Witcher on the way?
East Nightmare of the Wolf one more spark the witcher animated projects on Netflix? Although the film is self-contained, a few details occur not to question that. Netflix has invested in streaming anime spinoffs or adapting franchises like Pacific Rim and dota. Could these open discussions be considered in the second live action season or other parts of the franchise?
All DeMayo can divulge is that those open ends were conscious creative decisions. Already, the Witcher has live action The Witcher: Origin of Blood prequel, involving Michelle Yeoh and Jodie Turner-Smith, on the way.
For director Kwang, “I hope the audience will like [the film] enough to also create the next part of the project. In response to the question of whether the number of viewers could lead to livelier videos Witcher projects, he replied, “It’s natural.”
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is now available on Netflix.