How ‘The Witcher: Blood Origin’ Connects to the Main Show  

Kim Taylor-Foster
TV Streaming
TV Streaming Netflix

The big news to come out of The Witcher camp recently is the news that Henry Cavill, so beloved as title character Geralt, is departing the role he made his own in the Netflix series. He’ll be replaced by Liam Hemsworth.

“The future remains to be seen,” says Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, showrunner of The Witcher. We’ve asked her what kind of Geralt Liam Hemsworth will make. We’re sitting down to talk The Witcher: Blood Origin, an future prequel series airing on Netflix, set 1200 years before the events seen on screen in the leading series and on which Schmidt Hissrich performs executive producer duties. The series will see the origin of the ‘prototype’ Witcher, and a supernatural event known as the Conjunction of the Spheres. But first, we can’t not address the elephant in the room, so let’s obtain the Cavill/Hemsworth business out of the way.

“I’m excited to see whatever Liam brings.”

“We’re seemingly a little ways off from that. Right now, we’re just sort of hanging with Blood Origin, focusing on that, but I’m excited to see whatever Liam brings,” adds Schmidt Hissrich, who has also said that new chapters bring new energy. Schmidt Hissrich should know: she created the original series based on the beloved Andrzej Sapkowski books and is one of a number of writers on the show.

Why Fan Passion Erupts

Henry Cavill Geralt Witcher
Henry Cavill as Geralt in The Witcher, shortly to be replaced by Liam Hemsworth in the role.

It’s perhaps understandable that Schmidt Hissrich wants to steer clear of adding fuel to a fire right now that has set fans’ passions burning. Fans took to Cavill as Geralt because of his own passion for the franchise, and the enthusiasm and understanding he has consequently brought to the part. That, coupled with having had two seasons to fully appreciate and obtain used to his screen version of the character, which has not only cemented fan acceptance of him – they come to a series having already built their own versions of the character in their minds — but deepened their attachment to him.

Schmidt Hissrich speculates about why fan passion “erupts” in the way it does.

“We present humanistic characters. And I believe viewers obtain to plan themselves onto them. So when we create choices that they wouldn’t, I think sometimes that’s where the passion erupts.”

Witcher fans are notoriously passionate; they are quite passionate,” she says. “We have to create relatable characters in really fantastical places. I believe that the sort of viewers of the show are probably players of the video games; you transport yourself into that character because they are relatable, even though there’s crazy magic and monsters and swords and battles. We present humanistic characters. And I believe viewers obtain to plan themselves onto them. So when we create choices that they wouldn’t, I think sometimes that’s where the passion erupts.”

The Witcher: Blood Origin showrunner Declan De Barra interjects, “Exactly, especially with books or anything like that — because you create those characters in your head, and they are yours. Even when you see it on TV, your interpretation of a TV show and an episode is different than the person beside you, or a person looking at a painting. You own it then, and you shape it into what you want.”

The Wild Hunt

Laurence O'Fuarain as elf Fjall in The Witcher: Blood Origin.
Laurence O'Fuarain as elf Fjall in The Witcher: Blood Origin.

It’s good that we’re chatting about the nature of fandom because we’re here today to put some of the most burning questions from Fandom’s The Witcher community to Schmidt Hissrich, as well as Blood Origin showrunner Declan De Barra, and the cast of the show. There are plenty of fans wanting to know more about the Geralt recasting but with Hissrich remaining fairly tightlipped on that topic, we move on in the short time we have. She is willing to open up a little more when we throw another question at her – this one from Witcher wiki user GryonDbleu.

Will Blood Origin directly link to the future of the Wild Hunt during Geralt’s time?

“Oh, interesting,” she says. “I’m like, ‘Okay, how can I do this without spoilers?’ What I will say is [that] Blood Origin links all sorts of ways. We do know, obviously, that Eredin rides with the Wild Hunt. And we meet Eredin in Blood Origin. So we can put two and two together.”

In the series, Eredin is played by Jacob Collins-Levy. Eredin, an Aen Elle elf in the books, becomes known as the King of the Wild Hunt, a horde of doom-bringing spectres who ride across the skies of the Continent. Eredin is a major antagonist for Geralt.

“We do know, obviously, that Eredin rides with the Wild Hunt. And we meet Eredin in Blood Origin. So we can put two and two together.”

“The thing that was the catalyst for [Blood Origin] was the Conjunction of the Spheres, where the world of monsters and men comes into the world of elves and gnomes and halflings and dwarves on the Continent,” says showrunner Declan De Barra who aligns the series more closely to the books than the video games (a question that comes up frequently among fans) as a big fan of the books himself.

“I was fascinated by what happened before then because when we meet the elves in Sapkowski’s books, they’re a beaten sort of species, they’re hardly reproducing,” De Barra continues. “They’ve missing their language and culture and everything like that, because history is written by the victors and [they] had been colonised. So what did their world look like before that? That was the catalyst for this [series]. It was setting up all of that world that is to come in The Witcher. Andrzej has a couple of lines about the Conjunction of the Spheres [in the books]. So we got to explore all of that. And we got to introduce characters who are very important in the book later, like Eredin, and Avallac’h, and Ithlinne. And it was good fun.”

How Blood Origin Reverberates in The Witcher

Jaskier-The-Witcher-Blood-Origin
Joey Batey as Jaskier in The Witcher: Blood Origin.

Another character we explore in a bit more depth is one who we know from the leading series – Jaskier. Witcher community member Daniel Stargate wants to know what we should expect from the next season of The Witcher, so we asked Joey Batey, who plays funnyman bard Jaskier, how Blood Origin will reverberate in The Witcher.

“[Jaskier] starts to use some of the songwriting, some of the stories, that have that feature in Blood Origin to try and shape the Continent into a better place; a more rebellious place; a revolutionary place, in some cases.”

“A lot of it is to do with the political machinations, especially to do with the xenophobia towards the Elven individuals on the Continent, and how they’re treated,” he says. “And that’s the way that it’s explored within Jaskier’s own narrative. He starts to use some of the songwriting, some of the stories, that have that feature in Blood Origin to try and shape the Continent into a better place; a more rebellious place; a revolutionary place, in some cases.”

Jaskier’s presence in Blood Origin bookends the series, and begins when he meets a character named Seanchai, played by Minnie Driver.

“She, they — whomever Seanchai is because she is a shapeshifter — is a storyteller and a collector of ancient law,” says Driver. “She basically brings stories to any particular world when they need it. And she is bringing a story to Jaskier because he’s the bard and he can sing the story, hopefully, into being and bring this ancient knowledge, this ancient story, to the world of The Witcher where it is needed. So the whole of Blood Origin is Seanchai telling the story that Jaskier needs to take back to The Witcher.”

The Power of Stories

The Witcher Blood ORigin
Lizzie Annis as Zacare and Zach Wyatt as Syndril in The Witcher: Blood Origin.

Stories are made of powerful stuff. Not only in the world of The Witcher – humanity has always needed stories, and we were only recently reminded quite how much when the pandemic struck.

“All of us globally have been through such an unprecedented and difficult time over the last couple of years,” says Lizzie Annis, who plays Zacaré in the series. “It’s really brought to the fore the fact that escapism isn’t just a luxury but a necessity really at times when we’re going through something collectively unimaginable. As a world and as a society we really need it. There was a reason why during the lockdowns we would turn to our books, we would turn to our games, we would turn to films, we would turn to our TV shows — because they reconnected us with what it really means to feel human.”

Zach Wyatt plays Syndril, Zacaré’s “celestial twin”, and has this to add, “I think the need to tell a story or to be said a story, if that’s dating back to our ancestors sitting around the campfire or to us telling our kids a story before they go to bed, [stems from the compulsion to understand ourselves better].”

He suggests that stories hold a mirror up to ourselves as individuals and as humans, while also allowing us to put ourselves in a story and unlock and explore aspects of ourselves that might otherwise continue hidden or undeveloped.

In the world showed in The Witcher: Blood Origin, there’s one character in particular who stands in the way of this: Balor.

Book-Burner Balor

Lenny Henry as Balor in The Witcher: Blood Origin.
Lenny Henry as Balor in The Witcher: Blood Origin.

“Balor’s thing is [to] stamp out the stories before they take hold,” says Sir Lenny Henry, who plays the antagonist in the series, coming off the back of his turn as Harfoot Sadoc Burrows in another of the year’s standout fantasy shows, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. “He would be burning books if it was now. Balor is dangerous. He doesn’t want nice, popular songs, catching on.”

Henry explains that it’s because “the songs and the stories have ideas embedded in them that individuals take up and become inspired by.”

“He would be burning books if it was now. Balor is dangerous. He doesn’t want nice, popular songs, catching on.”

Batey takes issue with the idea that Henry’s Balor is a villain: he says he isn’t intent on evil, he just wants justice.

“[It’s] because he’s from lowborn and he’s been brought into this aristocratic society to be their chief wizard, and he’s never been given, he thinks, the honour that he deserves,” explains Henry. “And oh, boy, it’s a real lesson to anybody who employs anybody to be nice to the individuals you employ. Because one day, they might have superpowers and kill everybody in the universe. SPOILER ALERT. Look after your staff.”

Just as the characters in the worlds of The Witcher and The Witcher: Blood Origin see good power in stories, we also mine numerous pearls of wisdom from them ourselves. If the one lesson you take from The Witcher: Blood Origin is to be nice to people, that has to be one of the best.

The Witcher: Blood Origin arrives on Netflix on December 25, 2022.

Check out the video above for more from our interviews with the cast and showrunners, in which they answer your questions. The cast shares if they read the books or played the games in preparation for their roles (question courtesy of GryonDbleu), and showrunner Declan De Barra and executive producer Lauren Schmidt Hissrich discuss how much The Witcher: Blood Origin was influenced by the books and/or games.


For more Fandom interviews, click below to watch the Willow cast and creator talk the new series and the legacy of a beloved fantasy movie.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.