The Witcher Showrunner Talks Future of the Series & Spin-Offs

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, The Witcher showrunner and creator Lauren Schmidt Hissrich discussed the future of the series as well as “ideas of spin-offs and other stories” the writers could tackle as the story expands.

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When asked about the early Season 3 renewal and looking ahead, Hissrich said that following Season 1’s success, they started talking about how they could expand The Witcher universe.

“I’ve had these ideas of spin-offs and other stories that we could do, because I knew that on the main Witcher — the mothership — we were gonna run out of room to engross ourselves in [Andrzej] Sapkowski’s tales,” said Hissrich. “Immediately I started thinking: how do we pair or spin-off certain concepts, certain ideas, so that we don’t have to worry about covering them in exposition-y ways? We can actually blow them up and make them more dramatic.

“I have to say, COVID kind of blew a hole in all of that because we had started thinking about expanding and then suddenly it was like, you know, we’re not gonna be able to premier The Witcher Season 2 for another two years. And I had this deep concern that no one would care anymore. You know, how do we make sure that viewers want to come back? That after eight episodes, they’d be willing to wait 700 and something days, in order to see a second season. And just probably in the last two weeks, I’ve allowed myself to get excited about it again.

“We’re done writing Season 3, which is exciting. We will start production, God-willing, with the current state of the world, in 2022. And we’re just continuing rolling on, but the premiere of this season, I think, has become really key to that and people’s excitement around it. That’s what is keeping me going forward right now.”

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Hissrich also addressed the challenges of putting their stamp on a show with an already built-in fan base, with The Witcher being based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels and the video game franchise.

“I actually think my job was made a little bit easier because there is a video game adaptation already,” she continued. “Audiences who love the books already know what it feels like to have this thing that they’re passionate about spun into a different format, and to have stories told in slightly different ways. So I feel like I was lucky that that path was laid down even before I got here. And I always think of the TV series as just another sort of way to tell the stories of this world. So, you know, I never really think of how I put my own stamp on it. The truth is that the pure act of adapting a novel, or in this case, seven novels and thousands and thousands of pages, to television — that process alone forces us to think of new creative ways to tell those stories.

“The best example I can give is in Season 2. I’ll be honest, Blood of Elves, which is the book that we were adapting for this season, I was really terrified to adapt because it has these gorgeous, long character arcs and chapters that are just about Geralt and Tris and their friendship. Just an entire chapter of them speaking and caring about one another. And those are all things that we wanted to keep this season. And yet, we knew that without some sort of forward-propelling engine [to the plot], that not enough would happen to keep fans engaged.

“So, Yennefer is the perfect example. She really doesn’t appear in the book until the final third of it when she’s more or less called into service by Geralt. Geralt needs her to come and train Ciri. And I just thought, could we actually do a story where one of the fan-favorite characters is waiting in the wings and not progressing her own life forward at all? And not understanding what’s happened to her since the battle of Sodden, her challenges, and her agenda and her journey, and just have her suddenly fly into Geralt’s story? I thought, I can’t do that. I can’t do that to her character. So that’s our stamp, I suppose, is starting to take these sort of beautiful tenants that Sapkowski has set up, and then making sure that we’re crafting a really coherent narrative around it and that all of our characters get the same love and attention.”

The first two seasons of The Witcher are available to stream on Netflix. The series stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, Freya Allan as Princess Ciri, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg, and Joey Batey as Jaskier.

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