Much like Game of Thrones and the Harry Potter films, Netflix's new series The Witcher originates from a book series, this one by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski all the way back in 1992. However, even if you're a fan of the original source material, that doesn't necessarily mean you know everything that Season 1 has in store for these characters. As such, even the most avid fan of the fantasy series will be in for a few surprises — at least that's what executive producer Tomek Baginski will have you believe.
"We realized that some of the storylines can be presented in many different ways, just like certain situations and characters," Baginski told Cinemablend in a recent interview, regarding how The Witcher series will compare to the books. "In the show, you need to give the characters backstories that will interest the viewers. The show can’t be exactly like the books. It’s an adaptation. It’s a version of this world and this story from Lauren [Hissrich, showrunner] and the writers."
So while the writers will still use the books for guidance, they'll also be taking a fair amount of creative liberties with the storylines and character details. Typically, change can be a difficult thing for book readers to want to contend with, fearing that alterations could ruin the integrity of the original. However, it's worth noting that the author himself is aware of these changes and feels confident that it will still do the characters and story justice. "Sapkowski knows that some things are different than he wrote," Baginski explained in a separate interview with the Polish site Antyweb (translation via Redanian Intelligence). "But he trusts that it’s being worked on by professionals and that what will come of it will be very good."
This means you don't necessarily need to have read the books in order to enjoy Netflix's adaptation. Though, whether you're a book fan or newcomer to the Witcher world, there are a few things you should know heading into the series...
It'll Dive Deeper Into Backstories
Flashbacks are all well and good, but series showrunner Lauren Hissrich loves the idea of being able to further explore some of these characters' past and how it helped to shape them into who they are today. "The books explore events over a long period of time but there’s also story they skip through," she told Entertainment Weekly. "Yennefer, for instance — some of the more defining moments of her life, we hear about them in flashback. We got to explore them in real time."
The Video Games Will Play No Part In The Story Material
In the same interview with EW, Hissrich confirmed that the show won't be an adaptation of the popular video games by CD Projekt Red in any way, which took the stories and characters in completely different directions from the books. "They went one direction, we actually get to go another," she told the outlet.
It's More Game of Thrones Than Lord of the Rings
Regarding sexual content, Hissrich told EW that she won't allow her children to see some of the stuff that happens on-screen, adding that "it's a very adult show." So get ready for some nudity.
Season 1 Won't Fully Cover The First Book
In an interview with ComicBook.com, Bagiński revealed that the show's first season won't be able to completely cover everything that takes place in the first book, The Last Wish, given that Season 1 only consists of eight episodes total.
Luckily, The Witcher has already been renewed for a second season, so the writers will have plenty of time to cover as many details from the books as they'd like.