For a long time, followers of Netflix’s The Witcher witnessed a dissonance between showrunner Lauren Hissrich’s words and actions. She talked about being faithful to Andrzej Sapkowski’s books but actually wasn’t. So even though Henry Cavill’s departure from the series stunned fans and general audiences alike, his exit didn’t come as a total surprise to anyone closely following the behind-the-scenes drama. As a fan of the books, he wanted the show to stick closely to the source, but when it veered off too much he decided to part ways. Viewers of the show think that Hissrich’s contradictory activity isn’t new and has actively contributed to the show’s downfall.
Netflix’s The Witcher Showrunner Lauren Hissrich’s Contradictions
In a December 2021 interview with Screen Rant Plus, The Witcher showrunner Lauren Hissrich said that the writing team on the Netflix show always uses Andrzej Sapkowski’s books as their main source. She said:
“You know we always go back to the books as our main source. We also knew that Blood of Elves that season 2 covers was going to be a particularly difficult book to adapt. So we knew that we would have to inject some new stories in there. We always try to make sure that our stories match the tone that Sapkowski had and that’s the most important thing and that’s the thing he asked me to do at the very beginning, which is to represent the spirit of the work rather than the actual page to page itself.”
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This isn’t the only instance where Hissrich talked about using Sapkowski’s writing as the source. In a 2021 IGN interview, the showrunner said that there was so much source material that the writing team didn’t feel the need to invent anything. She said:
“It would be a straight translation of the books… I think there’s just so much material that I don’t feel the need to start inventing my own to keep it going. We really try to stick to a book a season. We did combine some of the short stories for the first season, and there are things in the short stories that we want to continue to return to because there was just too much good material to tell in eight episodes.”
However, the two seasons of The Witcher contradict her words. Several fans have complained that the second season especially diverged from the books. Others have stated that apart from the names of the characters and locations, nothing is the same at all. Youtuber LegacyKillaHD explained in a video essay that the show is currently at its lowest point. As per the host:
“The Witcher on Netflix currently stands at its lowest point and I honestly, don’t think that it will survive this drastic downfall that it has suffered. It didn’t start with Henry Cavill leaving, it has been going on for the last couple of years and the future of The Witcher doesn’t seem promising either. I remember one of the controversial things we learned about last year was that there was going to be a family-friendly Witcher project and I have zero hopes that it will be done justice, especially after Blood Origin which just spits on the source material and confirmed many of our suspicions- in particular, that Netflix and their writers think they can do better than the source material.”
The Witcher: Blood Origin is proof of this failure as well. The show has a 31% critic rating and a 13% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Almost everyone who has watched the show has complained about the generic tropes and shallow writing that don’t do justice to Sapkowski’s world. Stepping on the books and not giving them the respect they deserve is what’s bringing down the franchise and has also led to Henry Cavill’s departure.
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Fears About The Witcher Season 3
Henry Cavill’s exit from The Witcher was heartbreaking, but not unexpected. After all, the actor had long professed his love for Sapkowski’s characters and world. In fact, in an interview with Heat World, he stated that he wanted to play Geralt of Rivia to ensure that the writers do justice to the leading man. His departure has led everyone to speculate that the actor didn’t get what he wanted. In fact, many think that his exit after filming season 3 proves that the upcoming season won’t be an improvement over the previous two.
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In a 2022 interview with EW. Lauren Hissrich said that the show will do a pure adaptation of the Time of Contempt book in season 3 to honor Henry Cavill’s contribution to the show. As per her:
“Henry has given so much to the show and so we want to honor that appropriately. What is so interesting is that season 3, to me, is the closest thing that we’ve done as a one-to-one adaptation of the books. Obviously, we can’t do every page, but Time of Contempt gave us so many big action events, plot points, defining character moments, huge reveals of a big bad. There’s so much to do that we were able to stick really, really closely with the books.”
There’s not much hope that the show will stick to the books in the upcoming season after failing to deliver on similar promises for two straight seasons. But a lot of fans of the show are willing to give it a chance to see if it can turn itself around and give Sapkowski’s books the importance they deserve. It remains to be seen how the third season turns out.
The Witcher season 3 is speculated to release in the summer of 2023.