The upcoming The Witcher season 1 on Netflix will not cover the entirety of the first book by Andrzej Sapkowski. The show is based on the original books, which also serve as the source material for the same-named video game series by CD Projekt Red. The Witcher TV show was first announced back in May 2017.
The first season will be releasing on December 20th of this year, just in time to binge over the holidays. Henry Cavill will be playing Geralt of Rivia, a role he expressed interest in before being cast. As of October last year, we also learned that Yennefer will be played by Anya Chalotra and Ciri will be played by Freya Allan. The show is also coming out ahead of when showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich estimated on Twitter last year, which is a treat indeed.
In an interview with ComicBook.com, The Witcher executive producer Tomek Bagiński reveals that this first season will not cover the entire first book, however. With only eight episodes in The Witcher season 1, it makes sense that the entire book couldn't be crammed in, and it's nice to hear that the showrunners will not be rushing things just to make it all fit. As Bagiński says, they have to be "very, very careful with choosing which stories we want to tell. And Lauren [S. Hissrich] did a really great job."
Bagiński goes on to say that they would like to give adequate focus to Ciri and Yennefer's stories, and as major figures in Geralt's own story, this makes sense. The Witcher is known for its rich characters and detailed world. But while eight episodes makes for a short season, The Witcher has already been renewed for season 2, airing in 2021. The challenge is increased further by the attempt to balance source materials, with the show borrowing some of the characterization of Geralt from the games while still being primarily adapted from Sapkowski's novels. CD Projekt Red's interpretation of Geralt diverges from the books in part to give the player more control in how to play, but that also means fans of the original books might see some surprises on screen.
The short season and the fact that it will not cover the entire first book may come as a disappointment to fans who have waited years to see an English language adaptation of The Witcher on television, but Bagiński's account of this failing should at least give them confidence that the production is not being rushed or that the story is being significantly shortened to fit the different pace of television. While we should expect some liberties to be taken as necessary, some of them might not be all bad.
The Witcher season 1 releases December 20th on Netflix.