Practically every major streamer is gearing up these days to capitalize on this current fantasy revival of sorts with series’ of their own. HBO is doubling down on Game of Thrones spin-offs after their crown jewel came to a hasty end in 2019. Amazon has grand plans for The Lord of the Rings, pouring hundreds of millions worth of resources into the prequel series that will likely rival HBO’s production values. In the midst of all this, Netflix struck gold with their The Witcher adaptation starring Henry Cavill as the monster-hunting Geralt. Never one to shrink from an IP challenge, the studio previously announced an animated Witcher film set before the events of the live action series. Check out the latest trailer for The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf below.
The Witcher Nightmare of the Wolf Trailer
This anime prequel film revolves around Vesemir, a Witcher who would eventually become a father figure to young Geralt after his mother sent him to the School of the Wolf. The major conflict appears to stem from the belief that Witchers are conspiring to stage attacks from all manner of fantastical creatures that (conveniently) only they can stop. A line later in the trailer hints at the precarious position of Witchers, as fending off these beasts has been the only thing stopping the people from going after the Witchers themselves. The very last glimpse of action in the trailer points to an escalation in hostilities.
Directed by Kwang Il Han (The Boondocks) and written by The Witcher series writer Beau DeMayo, the film features actor Kim Bodnia as the voice of Vesemir in the film. In a neat example of multimedia crossovers, Bodnia also reprises the role in live action during season 2 of The Witcher.
Nightmare of the Wolf appears to be following the rough outline of the Witcher novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski, though allowances will inevitably have to be made in order to bring things in line with the ongoing Netflix series. Similar to Marvel and Lucasfilm’s attempts with Disney+ shows, invested fans will be most likely to dive headfirst into these spin-offs and prequels while general audiences should be able to follow the main storyline just fine.
Another Shared Universe?
Don’t forget, Nightmare of the Wolf won’t be Netflix’s only attempt to further expand the world of The Witcher. A six part live-action prequel series titled Blood Origin has also been announced, developed by Witcher writer Declan de Barra and Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, ensuring that there will be no shortage of fantasy material for fans to look forward to next.
While studios remain on the lookout for reliable IPs that will draw in eager audiences, Netflix seems to have settled on this fantasy series as a valuable resource to mine for every bit of storytelling potential it’s worth. Viewers sure seemed to love the coin-tossing adventures of a shirtless Henry Cavill, but will the same remain true for an anime series as well as other spin-offs? Speaking from personal experience with my own viewing habits, audiences can be notoriously fickle. From my vantage point, it’ll be interesting to see if these multi-million dollar gambits work out or not.
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf releases exclusively on Netflix on August 23, 2021.
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