Netflix has been selected as the home to the TV adaption of Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher Saga.
I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was when I heard this news. The Witcher has been one of my favorite fantasy book series for years. I’ve been impatiently waiting for the English translation version of the fifth book, which was just released earlier this year. The saga begins with Blood of Elves, originally published in 1994.
According to Adam Whitehead over at the Wertzone, Andrzej Sapkowski has sold over 2 million copies of the book series as of 2016. Which is no small feat and is actually a very respected number in the SFF publishing community. (This number may be considerably higher if the games had an affect on the sales and will certainly be higher with the news of the TV adaption. More so with the release of the show.)
Although I have never played any of the Witcher video games, I have heard good things about them, especially as they progress with new installments – most recently with the Witcher 3. AND, for you fans of the games, there’s news here about the Witcher 4 game. The games aren’t strictly based on the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, with the exception of the first game softly following the first novel. Further installments have slid away from the original plot and the makers have taken their own independent artistic liberty in the world because they have been licensed the rights for video game media. Nonetheless, the games have been wildly successful, selling over 25 million copies since the release of the first game.
With the books selling over 2 million copies and the games selling well above 25 million copies, it’s no surprise that there’s a strong interest in developing a TV series. There’s an intense and long-impatient fan community who’s been waiting to see something in the form of TV or film.
Netflix seems like the perfect home for this fantasy series because the layout of TV isn’t as accepting – or rather, as open as a streaming service. Broadcast TV is too restricted to house such an extensive world with adult language, actions and themes. Cable TV is almost the same way with restrictions (possibly with the acceptation of FX), even if they have a higher production budget. On top of that, most pilot and slot schedules are full and those that aren’t are buying other types of shows, typically sitcoms, police procedurals, and other family-friendly series. Premium networks could be a good fit, but HBO already has their madly successful, hit fantasy series – you all know what that is. The other three are less likely to be interested in an epic fantasy and even if they were, they would have to get some top-notch writers on board to develop a pilot script.
Maybe TV media had an auction battle over the rights, but probably not. The current licensee may have shopped the rights to a production company and may have been offered the best price from Netflix. Or, the production company, writers, or onboard directors may feel a streaming service is just simply the best fit. And, in my humble opinion, I believe Netflix will be the best fit for a fantasy series such as the Witcher. Netflix allows for a range of content and is accepting on brutal, gruesome, bloody and erotic scenes. Most things go in their books.
What we know so far…
- The TV series will be based on the books and stories by Andrzej Sapkowski, rather than the games.
- It will be an international series, according to Erik Barmack, Netflix vice president.
- Sean Daniel (The Mummy) and Jason Brown (The Expanse) of Sean Daniel Company will executive produce along with Tomek Baginski (The Fallen’s) and Jarek Sawko of Platige Image.
- Author Andrzej Sapkowski will contribute as a creative consultant.
- Sapkowski believes the show will stay true to the source material, that is of the books and stories not the games.
- It will be an English-language production (there will probably be translations for countries throughout the world).
What we don’t know…
- Which storylines the show will follow.
- Which actors will be cast as the individual characters.
- When filming will begin.
- When the show will air.
- Who else will be involved in the directing and production.
- If the show will stay true to the gritty, adult-humor manner of the books.
- How many episodes the first season will spawn.
“I’m thrilled that Netflix will be doing an adaptation of my stories, staying true to the source material and the themes that I have spent over thirty years writing,” stated Sapkowski. “I’m excited about our efforts together, as well as the team assembled to shepherd these characters to life.”
Speaking together, Daniel and Brown said, “The Witcher stories follow an unconventional family that comes together to fight for truth in a dangerous world. The characters are original, funny, and constantly surprising, and we can’t wait to bring them to life at Netflix, the perfect home for innovative storytelling.”
Loosely summarized, the Witcher Saga is about ‘Witchers’ or hunters/bounty hunters that look like and are similar to humans but have characteristics of monsters – or more precisely, a witch or a demon. They develop magical abilities and strong fighting skills at a young age, but there aren’t many of them left. They hunt magical and mythical creatures that terrorize the people of the land and usually due so for a payment. After all, it is how they make their living.
Through the Saga, you’ll follow along with the witcher, Geralt of Rivia, and get to see more than a little of Ciri, Yennefer and Dandelion. Amongst the other characters, you’ll learn about sorceresses, mages, dwarves, nymphs, elves, werewolves, vampires, and royal sons of bitches
Click the picture below if you’d like to check out Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher Saga books.
There are a fair amount of book-to-tv and book-to-film adaptions that are coming out, rumored to be coming out or have recently came out, and to be completely honest, the Witcher is the one I’m most excited about. More so than I was for the Hobbit and Shannara.
I’m so much more excited about it than the Kingkiller Chronicle (which, to the dismay of many, I’m not excited about at all), Wheel of Time, Dragonriders of Pern, Throne of Glass and maybe a few other fantasy series that may or may not get developed. That’s not to say I dislike any of these series, just not as thrilled.
Well, folks, that’s all the news and input I have on the Witcher Saga adaption for now. As always, I would love to hear your input on the topic. Do you have any more news that I didn’t cover? Let me know! Also, please like, reblog and share this article around social media for others to enjoy.
Until next time,
TC Michael, author of Short Story Pro Market 2017