Step aside, Jon Snow. Geralt has arrived.
Netflix has dropped the first trailer for The Witcher, the streaming service’s long-awaited adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy novels. The short video, which debuted at the 2019 edition of Comic-Con International, offers fans their first look at Henry Cavill as the title character, Geralt of Rivia, and quickly establishes the rules of The Witcher‘s monster-filled world.
As the trailer describes, elves and humans used to live in harmony in The Witcher‘s fantasy realm, known as The Continent, until the elves decided to teach humanity how to use magic — a favor that men repaid by killing the elves off. Now, monsters roam the land, and monster hunters called Witchers must take them down to keep the people safe.
In addition to Cavill’s Geralt, the trailer also features Anya Chalotra as Yennifer, a powerful sorceress and Geralt’s longtime girlfriend, and Freya Allan as Princess Ciri. From the look of things, The Witcher‘s first season will hew pretty closely to the plot summary leaked in casting notices, which claimed that the three characters will be “bound together by destiny, often against their will,” as Geralt and Yennifer realize that Ciri “might just destroy the world.”
Netflix’s series will probably draw less on the novels’ video game spinoffs, which helped transform The Witcher from a niche European fantasy series into a worldwide phenomenon. While The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt claimed many Game of the Year awards following its 2015 release, the books, which take place earlier, are the series’ primary source material.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, The Witcher producer Lauren Hissrich downplayed the show’s similarities to Game of Thrones, although she acknowledged that HBO’s megahit helped pave the way for the new series. “Game of Thrones … showed the world that fantasy wasn’t just for a niche audience and fantasy could be acceptable for everyone,” Hissrich said.
Still, it’s hard not to see some similarities between the two. Like Game of Thrones, The Witcher takes place in a dark, grimy land where humans are just as dangerous as supernatural creatures, and where prophecies and spells collide with politics and social upheaval. Still, there’s one big difference: Game of Thrones only had White Walkers, a few giants, and a trio of dragons, while The Witcher is chock-full of monsters. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
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