Netflix's Witcher Trailer Breakdown: Roach, Yennefer's Origins, Geralt's Medallion, And More
There's More Lore Packed In Here Than You Might Think
The Witcher live-action adaptation from Netflix is on its way, with the first trailer dropped at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. The Witcher is mostly West as a series of critically acclaimed games from developer CD Projekt Red, but those games are actually based on a book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski that began in the 1980s.
The upcoming TV show, in particular, is based on The Last Wish, which is the first collection of short stories preceding the main Witcher books. Showrunner and executive producer Lauren Hissrich stated she read The Last Wish and Netflix asked her to adapt it. For fans of the series, this is fantastic news, as The Last Wish is incredible.
The new trailer had plenty of interesting tidbits and references, including glimpses of iconic moments, events, characters, and more. We've compiled everything we noticed in the feature below. If you haven't watched seen the debut footage, be sure to watch Netflix's The Witcher trailer before you read this feature. Otherwise, keep scrolling below to see our trailer breakdown or watch the video version in the embed above.
Was there anything you caught that we missed? And how excited are you for Netflix's adaptation of the classic book series? Let us know in the comments below.
Geralt is first seen walking across a medieval town with a voiceover mentioning the stories about the Witchers, but then there's a flash to Geralt fighting some kind of enemy. The enemy appears similar to a human, but it possessed some rather monstrous features. It's likely this is one of the many humanoid monsters from the series, such as a Striga, which comes from the first-ever written Witcher short story, known simply as "The Witcher."
The New Medallion
The next shot of Geralt shows him walking with his Witcher medallion in clear view, indicating his peculiar profession. The medallion is incredibly crucial for Geralt, as it can be tuned to warn him when there's a nearby monster or when magic is in use. Though, it's worth noting that the medallion has a completely new look, appearing more round and less ornate than the one presented from the games.
A Nod To "The Lesser Evil"
The town Geralt is walking through seems to be shown again near the end of the trailer as he fights against several humans. It's likely these shots depict events from the short story, "The Lesser Evil," where Geralt is dubbed "The Butcher of Blaviken" after villagers witness him massacring a group of seemingly innocent people. It was more of a misunderstanding, as Geralt was fighting a group of bandits and their brutal leader, Renfri.
At the very end of the trailer, the town is shown one final time as Geralt can be seen performing a Witcher sign. Based on his hand gesture, he could be performing Quen, which is a spell that creates a protective field around him. In "The Lesser Evil," he uses it to shield himself from the villagers hurling rocks at him after misunderstanding his actions against the bandits.
Ciri And Dryads From The Sword Of Destiny
The voiceover then delivers lore directly from The Witcher books about how poorly humans treated elves after learning magic. The dialogue is heard over glimpses of Ciri, who is being watched by dryads in a forest. That shot is reminiscent of an event from the second collection of Witcher short stories called The Sword of Destiny, in which Geralt first meets Ciri after saving her from a giant centipede. However, seeing as the series is based on The Last Wish, this shot may be something entirely original. Regardless, this is likely our first introduction to Ciri in the show. More shots of this scene are shown throughout the trailer, and an extended version of it was shown at SDCC 2019.
The trailer soon arrives at a shot of actress Anya Chalotra, who is playing the major character and sorceress Yennefer. The brief glimpse depicts young Yennefer when she was still a sorceress in training. Notably, Yennefer was born deformed and as a hunchback in the books, which seems faithfully portrayed here. Further glimpses of young Yennefer show her upset and breaking a mirror, while others show her working to become a sorceress. Finally, there's a glamour shot of Yennefer fully decked out as a sorceress. Her imperfections are seemingly gone, as she has used magic to make herself appear more beautiful. Hissrich talked about wanting to explore Yennefer's backstory, and it seems likely there will be a full episode of this in the series.
Fight In The Castle From "A Question Of Price"
A fight breaks out amongst humans in a castle, and a lady is shown screaming. Our best guess is that this scene comes from the short story "A Question of Price." This story tells the tale of Geralt attending a dinner party at the royal family's castle of Cintra. All is fine until an uninvited knight with the face of a hedgehog barges in claiming King Roegner's daughter, Princess Pavetta, is his to take in marriage.
The mysterious knight states Pavetta belongs to him due to what's known as the Law of Surprise--a law that says if a man is saved by another, he must give up a prize unknown to him or possibly both parties. According to the knight, he saved King Roegner's life after becoming nearly paralyzed when he fell into a gully. After a tense exchange about the validity of the knight's claims and Princess Pavetta's willingness to accept them, a fight breaks out--which is likely what we see in this part of the trailer.
All of this culminates in Geralt helping Princess Pavetta and the knight--her secret lover and nobleman Duny. After completing this task, Geralt asks them in return for saving them that they reward him "that which you already have, but do not know." Of course, this eventually turns out to be their daughter Ciri.
Screaming Princess Pavetta
More shots of the fight in the castle are seen throughout the trailer, including one of Princess Pavetta, who seems to be letting out the "pure, primordial Force" building up inside her that knocks everybody back upon seeing Duny attacked--which occurred in the books.
Isle Of Thanedd
A brief shot of an ornate building with a long bridge is shown, which looks like it could potentially be the Isle of Thanedd, northwest of Gors Velen in Temeria. The books describe Thanedd as being separated from land by a long magical bridge. The city is known for its various magical academies, including Aretuza, a school notable in the books for being where Ciri is brought to learn sorcery.
The Cintra Coat Of Arms
A flag can be seen burning over a fire. Based on the chaos of the castle fight, this is likely a flag with the Cintra coat of arms, which consists of three golden lions.
Slaughter Of Cintra
There are also shots of a significant war later on, and what appears to be the sacking of a city. It could likely be when Nilfgaard took over Cintra in 1263, which was done to capture Ciri. Further evidence of this is the line: "Nilfgaard they're here, she's why they came." The Slaughter of Cintra is technically how the first Witcher book, Blood of Elves opens, so we might not be right on this. Though, Hissrich could be pulling from the bloody conflict to better connect Ciri to the events of the series.
Supreme Council Of Sorcerers
An overhead shot is shown of what is possibly a meeting of the Supreme Council of Sorcerers--an organization Yennefer is a member of. But given how many times people sit at tables talking politics, this group of people could be any number of organizations from the books.
There's a glimpse of the aftermath of a bloody battle out in the snow. It's not entirely clear who's involved here, but there is a scene with Ciri in the snow earlier on, so perhaps the two are related. On the other hand, these scenes could be allusions to the White Frost, an omen indicating the beginning of the end of the world characterized by extreme climate change.
Geralt And Roach
We get more shots of Geralt in action, fighting against monsters, and riding his trusty steed, Roach. As a note, the name of Roach in this context likely refers to the freshwater fish found in Europe and Asia and not the common insect. Additionally, Roach is the name Geralt gives to every horse he owns, so there is no one specific Roach.
Injured After The Fight Against A Striga From "The Voice Of Reason"
Geralt is seen in bandages talking to a woman about his life only being about money and monsters. This may be from the first short story in The Last Wish called "The Voice of Reason," which frames the entire book. In this story, Geralt is injured after fighting a Striga, and the priestess Nenneke helps him recover and heal.
The Desert Vision From Time Of Contempt
There's a shot of Ciri in the desert having a vision, which could be ripped directly from the second major Witcher book, Time of Contempt, or possibly the entire desert is a vision she's having.
Banquet Of Aretuza From Time Of Contempt
There's a brief shot of Yennefer and Geralt at a masked ball, which looks like it could be the Banquet of Aretuza from Time of Contempt.
The Djinn Fight
Yen screams, "Hurry!" in the rain near the end of the trailer. It could either be her yelling at Ciri or during the epic fight against the powerful Djinn during "The Last Wish" short story. Though, the identity of the lone person in the background remains a mystery.
Sorceress Performs A Spell
The sorceress from Yennefer's backstory is seen performing a spell of some kind. It's unclear why she's throwing it through a hole in the ceiling. Regardless, this may be a part of Yennefer's backstory.
Fighting An Arachas
Finally, the trailer wraps up with Geralt getting ready to fight a giant spider, which looks to be an Arachas. A brief shot on Geralt's face reveals that he's taken potions--a common practice for Witchers to prepare for battle as they are strong in the ways of alchemy, and regularly utilize this to give themselves advantages in battle. However, the potion toxicity alters their appearance and makes them look rather unnatural.
As an important final final note, Dandelion was absent from the trailer. However, Hissrich has confirmed he'll be very present in the show! We're eager to see the lovable traveling bard in action.