The first trailer for Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher debuted today at Comic Con, and with it came loads of plot information, setup for the world the story takes place in, and a general idea of what the tone of the series seems to be. For those who may not know, The Witcher was originally a series of short-stories written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, which were then turned into a popular video game series made by also-Polish company CD Projekt Red. Though the series is primarily known outside of Europe for its video game adaptations, the Netflix series plans to derive more from the books, meaning that fans of the games might be caught off guard by how different the show will end up being.
The first narration heard within the trailer reveals some of the worldbuilding behind the series. The audience is told that the elves, one of the fantasy races living within the world, were the original users of magic, but as humans and monsters arrived and interacted with them, they too were gifted with magic. To quote the narration, “The Elves taught humans how to turn chaos into magic… And then, the humans slaughtered them.” After the audience is given that setup, the trailer shows several armies fighting each other, raiding cities, flags being burned, and other visual references used to display a world in turmoil. During these scenes, the audience is shown several characters that are likely familiar to fans.
Not too surprisingly, the trailer shows a lot of the fan-favorite characters that fans of the series will be excited to see. Henry Cavil looks like a fine Geralt; very serious and stoic, but without the sarcasm and human element that made the character so intriguing in previous entries in the franchise. Whether or not this is his take on the protagonist, or it’s just because of the scenes that were chosen for the trailer is anyone’s guess. Triss Merigold, a well known sorceress in the series, shows up a couple of times, primarily in a scene where she chastises Geralt for being fixated on ‘monsters and money’, wearing a green dress that is reminiscent of the clothes she wore in the first game. She isn’t the only sorceress that’s revealed though.
Yennefer is shown off quite a lot in the trailer; based on her appearance, it appears that she’s not yet been altered by her own magic to be the well-dressed quarter-elf that she’s known to become, however it’s likely that her transformation will occur within the first season, as the trailer does provide a shot of her in a much more traditionally ‘Yennefer’ situation and pose. It seems that a major plotline in the show will be Yen’s transformation into a powerful sorceress and the changes that leads to within her character.
The other major character to be shown in the trailer is Ciri, who seems fairly young, just as she was in the books. There are quite a few scenes that show her exploring the forests of the setting, discovering all sorts of magical creatures, and perhaps discovering just how powerful she really is. Much of the plot that is shown in the trailer centers around these travels, her interactions with characters, etc. The biggest tease that the trailer offers, though, is her being sent on a quest to find Geralt, which will likely be her primary goal throughout the season.
Overall, it’s a neat trailer. It shows off a good amount of the world, plot, and characters, sets a consistent tone, and is somewhat visually interesting. Hopefully, the show takes a cue from the games and keeps the plot complex on both an emotional and moral level, both things that are vital to keeping The Witcher from being another generic, boring fantasy series.