While we’re waiting for The Witcher season 3 that’s coming in 2023, we’ll be getting more of The Witcher with the new prequel series called The Witcher: Blood Origin, confirmed to be coming to Netflix in December 2022. Here’s an updated preview of everything we know about The Witcher: Blood Origin.
Blood Origin is one of the several Witcher projects currently in development at Netflix. We’ve, of course, got more of the mothership series to come with season 3 set to film throughout 2022 and arrive in summer 2023. We’ve also got another animated spin-off on the way and a new kid’s targeted series.
So let’s get into what we do know about The Witcher: Blood Origin, and we start with the post-credits teaser that was attached to The Witcher season 2:
When will The Witcher: Blood Origin be released on Netflix?
First, to the most important question: When can we expect to see The Witcher: Blood Origin on Netflix?
Throughout 2022, we’ve been reporting that Netflix was eying a December 25th release date for the prequel series.
Thankfully, at Netflix Tudum, that was confirmed with the limited series confirmed to be arriving all at once on December 25th, 2022. As you no doubt know, that’s Christmas day.
The limited series consists of four episodes.
When is The Witcher: Blood Origin set in The Witcher timeline?
With the announcement of The Witcher: Blood Origin, Netflix also released a short synopsis:
“1200 years before Geralt of Rivia, the worlds of monsters, men and elves merged into one, and the first Witcher came to be.”
This tells us that the show is set on the Continent but 1200 years before the events of the main series. It also tells us, that the four episodes will explore the story behind two of the most important events in Witcher lore: The Conjunction of the Spheres, which merged the worlds of monsters, elves and humans into one, and of course the creation of the first witcher.
At the same time, this raises an important question: How can the show cover both events considering that they are several centuries apart? While the Conjunction of the Spheres happened around 1200 years before the start of The Witcher saga, the first witchers did not start to roam the land until much later. Indeed, Netflix’s official accompanying map specifies that the first witcher was created by mages 967 years after the Conjunction.
It’s possible that the answer could be in the format. From one casting call (which we discuss in the characters section below) we know that Blood Origin will be an episodic series.
At the beginning it was announced and expected that there would be six episodes, each telling another story, perhaps comparable to Disney’s The Mandalorian. However, if the show will cover almost a thousand years of witcher history, it’s possible that there will be some big time-skips between the episodes. Maybe we’ll get several stories bridging the centuries. Maybe we’ll get an even split between the events, with the first episodes focusing on the Conjunction and the last ones telling the story of the first witcher. Another possibility is that the “first Witcher” mentioned in the synopsis is an earlier variant than the one mentioned in Netflix’s official timeline, a proto-witcher. If that is the case, the most likely candidate for the “proto-witcher” is Laurence O’Fuarain Fjall.
The Witcher: Blood Origin story explained
Most of you will know that Netflix’s The Witcher is based on a beloved series of books written by Andrzej Sapkowski, that also inspired CD Projekt Red’s popular Witcher video games. While Sapkowski sometimes touches on events like the Conjunction of the Spheres, it is clear that Blood Origin‘s story will be much more reliant on the imagination of the writers because very little is known about this period in the Continent’s history.
That being said, there is a foundation of early history that the show could lean on. The world of The Witcher was originally populated in waves. First by the gnomes, then came dwarves and finally elves. While these Elder Races weren’t exactly co-existing in peace, the Conjunction of the Spheres threw their world into chaos, trapping all sorts of unnatural creatures from other dimensions including humans and monsters. It is neither known what caused the Conjunction nor how it transpired, just that it changed the fabric of the Continent forever.
The creation of the first Witcher is an event that is almost as shrouded in myth as the Conjunction. Long after monsters first appeared on the Continent, a group of renegade mages came together to forge a weapon against the supernatural creatures that had become a blight on the people in many regions. Ironically, some of them like the sorcerer Alzur were themselves responsible for creating the most horrid abominations imaginable through magic. The first witchers were created in a secret and incredibly painful ritual that came to be known as the Trial of the Grasses. Those who survived, gained enhanced reflexes, speed and agility, making them the ultimate monster-slayers.
The show will find its own way to get to these events, but this is not to say that it can’t borrow from the books. Exploring a pre-Conjunction world could offer a unique opportunity to delve deep into the different societies of the Elder Races, in a way the main Witcher show can’t. The mystery of the first witcher and the mages who created him looms large throughout all the centuries that follow right into Geralt’s lifetime.
What characters will feature in The Witcher: Blood Origin and who is in the cast?
The cast and what characters will feature in the prequel series has been slowly announced over time.
In November 2020, Recapped reported that the show is looking to cast two female leads. Their names were Eile ‘The Lark’ Lithe and Princess Merwyn. Eile hails from a clan of elves that use knives as their primary weapon. Originally Jodie Turner-Smith was attached as Eile but exited the series due to a scheduling conflict. Since then, we know that Sophia Brown (seen in Netflix’s Giri/Haji) will play Eile and Mirren Mack (known for Mudlarks) will play the Merwyn.
Laurence O’Fuarain (Rebellion, Vikings) was the second confirmed cast member, and he will portray the role of Fjall Stoneheart. This character was described as “physically strong, gritty, and visceral”, belonging to an elven clan that rivals Eile’s. It’s possible Fjall will eventually become the Continent’s first Witcher.
Jacob Collins-Levy (The White Princess, Young Wallander) was first announced to have joined the cast by Redanian Intelligence as Blood Origin’s “Captain Eredin”. This is the same Eredin we know from the novels and the games and, in fact, another actor was cast as an older version of this character for The Witcher season 2. This is the first major connection between Blood Origin and the main series.
Since those initial castings, here’s who else you’ll see throughout the cast:
- Michelle Yeoh will play Scian
- Dylan Moran will play Uthrok One-Nut
- Lenny Henry will play Balor
- Nathaniel Curtis will play Brian
- Francesca Mills will play Meldof
- Huw Novelli will play Brother Death / Callan
- Lizzie Annis will play Zacaré
- Zach Wyatt will play Syndril
- Aidan O’Callaghan will play Kareg
- Minnie Driver as Seanchai
- Faoileann Cunningham as Ryl
- Kim Adis as Ket
- Daniel Fathers as Osfar
- Hebe Beardsall as Catrin
- Isla Gie as Kes
Where was The Witcher: Blood Origin filmed? When did production take place?
Initial filming for The Witcher: Blood Origin occurred between August 16th, 2021 and November 21st, 2021.
Filming for the series began in August in the South of Iceland but later moved to the United Kingdom. One of the notable locations in Iceland includes Nauthúsagil known for the waterfall and the ravine. We could also see some of the Iceland filming taking place as the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and glacier.
In the United Kingdom, the series is filmed mostly at Arborfield Studios in Wokingham near Reading.
As noted, the series did wrap up on November 21st, with confirmation from Declan de Barra confirming so on Twitter:
And that’s a wrap on The Witcher – Blood Origin! First slate to last… pic.twitter.com/Cd1mZslBAt
— Declan de Barra (@declandebarra) November 21, 2021
In early 2022, the series had to reshoot several parts and employed the help of Alex Garcia Lopez to help with the reshoots. Those reshoots are took place at “Cowleaze Wood at Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve northwest of London.” According to Redanian Intelligence, these reshoots wrapped on April 24th, 2022.
Sources indicate that the show has an episodic budget of $7 to $10 million.
Who’s working on Netflix’s The Witcher: Blood Origin?
The Witcher: Blood Origin is helmed by Irishman Declan De Barra who serves as the project’s showrunner and executive producer. De Barra is a regular on the main Witcher show, having written both episode four of season one and the first episode of season two. A talented musician, he worked closely with composers Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli and provided the vocals for “The Song of The White Wolf”.
1 for sorrow, 2 for joy, 3 for vengeance, 4 to die, 5 for flame, 6 for a world untold, never the same again… #thewitcherbloodorigins pic.twitter.com/jThbW9CKHf
— Declan de Barra (@declandebarra) March 28, 2021
For Blood Origin, De Barra assembled a team of writers of diverse background and experience including Kiersten Van Horne (Berlin Station, Snowpiercer), Aaron Stewart-Ahn (Mandy), Alex Meenehan (The Man in the High Castle, Bosch), Tania Lotia (Swamp Thing, Carnival Row), Pooja Gupta (Mary Mary) Tasha Huo (Black Belle), and Troy Dangerfield (Castle).
Several veterans from the main Witcher show are also involved in the project.
The Witcher showrunner Lauren Hissrich will serve as an executive producer. Producers Tomek Baginski, Jason Brown, Sean Daniel, and Jarek Sawko will also be back. Additionally, Production Designer Andrew Laws returns.
Redanian Intelligence also identified early on that The Last Kingdom and The Witcher season two’s Sarah O’Gorman and Crumbs and Born to War’s Vicky Jewson serve as directors.
As mentioned above, casting is again done by The Witcher’s Sophie Holland.
That’s all we have on The Witcher: Blood Origin. Let us know if you’re excited about the prequel series in the comments down below.