The Witcher anime spinoff keeps the tub, but adds a fun lead

Perhaps the most iconic image of Netflix’s approach The witcher is Henry Cavill as Geralt, giant shoulders sunk, muttering a hoarse “whore” as he realizes the depth of the problem in front of him. Geralt’s harshness is a big part of the appeal of The witcher, as its down-to-earth nature contrasts with many other fantastic stories full of kingship and long-prophesied saviors. He’s not here to be a hero; he’s just here to do a job. Saving the world just seems to happen whether they want to be involved or not.

When is the time to create The Witcher: The Wolf’s Nightmare, a prequel that stars Geralt Vesemir’s mentor, producer and screenwriter Beau DeMayo knew he wanted a very different type of character. Through video games, books, and a live broadcast, we’ve seen a lot of Witcher the universe from Geralt’s point of view. It was time for something new – and a lot less serious. “Geralt growls at a problem,” DeMayo says The edge. “Vesemir winks. “

The wolf’s nightmare is an animated feature film that debuts on Netflix on August 23. The animation was handled by Studio Mir – who has previously worked on shows like The legend of Korra, The Boondocks, and Dota: Dragon Blood – while DeMayo made history. He says he first offered the treatment while working on season 1 of the live Netflix show (DeMayo wrote the third episode) and then designed The wolf’s nightmarethe story of in the run-up to season 2. “In a lot of ways, it was like writing the same show twice in two different formats,” he says.

The setting and the character of the film were interesting, he says, because The witcher is “at the heart of families and how we pass what we learn to future generations”. As Geralt’s mentor and father figure, Vesemir was the ideal protagonist. This allowed the team to explore a new period, before the events of the series, but also to have a whole different kind of head start. Vesemir and Geralt are both witers, mutated mercenaries who kill monsters in exchange for gold, but their personalities are completely opposite.

“I was thinking about my own relationship with my parents and how my identity is formed as opposed to who my parents are,” says DeMayo. “And so if Geralt is the crankiest person in the world, it made sense to me that Vesemir was an extrovert and that kind of charismatic character. Where it got interesting for me was taking the world we knew from Geralt’s point of view, which is a tough world with a tough character, and then we put this character in love with life and looking for enjoy this same world, and see how he interacts with it.

One of the big changes for DeMayo was moving to a longer storytelling. Through the mediums The witcher is usually built on episodic storytelling, whether it’s a collection of short stories, a game based on many quests, or a live show. It fits the character well, as Geralt is essentially a sword for hire, venturing into new towns to battle monsters and reluctantly solve problems. It is often structured like a fantasy detective story. It didn’t work for a feature film.

“It was like the longest side quest of The witcher video game, ”DeMayo explains of the process. “Occasionally, it’s a little easier, a little more content, to tell these stories. the [points of view] occasionally you usually have one or two characters; here it is a little more of a set. I think that’s probably why we have a really big quest section. That’s what really got into the longer format, it allowed us to lean into the traditional idea of ​​dark fantasy, or just fantasy, of the epic quest. The ‘leave the shire’ kind of moment.

The switch to animation also had its benefits. Just as Cavill may have lived in Geralt, he’s still a human, struggling with little issues like “gravity.” This made creating action scenes a bit more fun in the anime. “You are not constrained by fixed hours, you are not constrained by insurance policies, you don’t have to worry about killing an actor,” says DeMayo. Kwang Il Han, director of Studio Mir, points out a much more practical benefit. “The actors found it difficult to carry multiple swords at the same time [in the live-action show], because they were too heavy, so they only carried one sword at a time, ”he said. “In the anime, we don’t have these restrictions.”

Image: Netflix

For DeMayo, a longtime fan of the franchise, The wolf’s nightmare was also a chance to get really cheesy and answer some lingering questions about witers and their place in the world. In a way, the film has a dual purpose. It is meant to attract new fans who could use the anime as a starting point, but also to satiate a long time ago. Witcher buffs with some interesting new treats from the lore.

“What [Witcher writer Andrzej Sapkowski] did really well, did he allude to things in the backstory that made you say, “Ooh, what’s this about?” “If you’re a really hard-line person, you’ll probably go to wikis and Reddit and really fall into the rabbit hole to figure these things out,” he says. “And in some cases, there are no answers for these things. I think the prequel gives you some answers to things we all have like Witcher fans have wondered for a very long time.

Perhaps the most shocking thing fans will notice about Vesemir is that the grizzled old man has turned into a young hottie. “It just happened,” DeMayo says. “I put some dash in the script, I think. Because in my mind it was a Witcher version of Zorro, and Diego is not a bad guy. So I think it was probably my fault.

But it also means that – as anyone who has watched the latest trailer already knows – young Vesemir seems quite comfortable in another. Witcher bathtub scene. Given their prevalence since the opening sequence of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I had to ask: was this now a prerequisite for all Witcher stories?

“No,” DeMayo said. “I just wanted one.”

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