Netflix's Witcher Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich Says They Won't Adapt The Games
"Extreme long vision, no, we will not start adapting the games."
Netflix's Witcher show has become one of our most anticipated series of 2019, and with good reason. The Witcher universe is rich with characters, stories, and lore, whether from the original books by Andrzej Sapkowski, or the popular games that followed later.
During The Witcher's lively Comic-Con panel, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich took the stage with actors Henry Cavill (Geralt), Freya Allan (Ciri), and Anya Chalotra (Yennefer) to debut the new trailer and some exclusive footage, which raised our expectations even higher. After the panel, we got the chance to chat with Hissrich, and her answer to our biggest question surprised us.
At the panel, Hissrich revealed that "The Last Wish"--a collection of short stories that's considered the first book in the series--was her entry into the Witcher universe, and the book she loves the most. In a group interview later, she elaborated, explaining that much of The Witcher's first season on Netflix is based on The Last Wish.
"The Last Wish was the first book I read, so--you know how, with anything, the first time you experience a world, you fall in love with it in a totally different way. I love all of the books, but that was really my entrance into the world. So yeah, I drew a lot from it," the showrunner said. "It really is [the] worldbuilding in The Last Wish that I found to be the most important thing."
"When I first started talking to Netflix about the show, I think everyone assumed that we would start with the saga [the books that make up the main Witcher story], because that's sort of the most serialized storytelling and would lend itself to bingeing," she continued. "And I said, 'You can't do that without setting up the world first.' I guess that was a big challenge, too, was where to begin."
The next logical question, of course, was whether the Netflix show will draw from CD Projekt's acclaimed and beloved video games as well. The answer? Nope--even if Netflix's Witcher show goes on so long that it runs out of book material to adapt, Hissrich said, she wouldn't move on to adapt the games, which, in the absence of any new books in years, have acted as sequels.
"Extreme long vision, no, we will not start adapting the games," Hissrich explained. "I can only adapt one season at a time, and I'm so excited for this one, and the rest kind of makes my mind explode right now. If someone said to me, 'What happens in Season 7?' Like, sure, I have thoughts, you know--fingers crossed we get there."
She elaborated slightly on that position in an answer to a separate question, saying she thinks game fans will like the show regardless of which source material it draws from.
"I've played the games, but really our stories are coming from the books," the showrunner said. "I think there's a lot of concern, will the television show be for game fans as well? And I absolutely think so. I mean, if you think about how adaptations work, the games are adaptations of the same source material that we're using. If you come to the games and love the characters and love the kinds of stories that you find there, I think you're going to love the show too."
Based on the footage that we saw at Comic-Con today, and the trailer released online, we think she might be right. The Witcher will arrive on Netflix sometime in 2019.