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Everyone is looking for the next Game of Thrones right now. And if Netflix's adaptation of The Witcher is everything fans hope it will be, the streaming service might have found the next big fantasy hit.
The series, from showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich (The Umbrella Academy), is an adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski's book series. The books also spawned the popular video game series, which deserves most of the credit for popularizing The Witcher universe, but the video games aren't officially canon and won't act as source material for the eight-episode first season. But as details have come together for the Netflix drama, everything we've seen so far from the Netflix drama has us itching to head to the Continent to see this fresh take on the sword-swinging Geralt of Rivia. Check out everything we know about The Witcher TV show so far, including when it will launch, who will star, and what aspects of the books it's expected to cover.
All eight episodes of Season 1 will be available to stream on Friday, Dec. 20. This is different than the originally rumored premiere date that claimed the show would debut on Dec. 17, which stemmed from alleged deleted tweets from Netflix's Netherlands Twitter account.
The series takes place in a fictional world populated by humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, and other magical creatures. The Continent is divided by the southern regions that are ruled by the Nilfaard Empire and the northern regions, which are ruled by various kings and queens.
The show will follow the adventures of Geralt of Rivia in this world. Geralt is a witcher, which means he was mutated and trained from childhood to become a monster slayer for hire. But when Geralt's fate becomes intertwined with Yennefer, a powerful sorceress, and Ciri, a young princess with a dangerous secret, the three of them must learn how to navigate the path ahead while war threatens the Continent. For more on The Witcher universe, you can check out our full breakdown of the world of the series.
Henry Cavill will lead the series as the titular witcher, Geralt of Rivia. You can learn more about Geralt in this Netflix featurette, including insight from Cavill as to how Geralt is affected by his status as a social outcast.
Cavill will star opposite Freya Allan as Ciri, otherwise known as Princess Cirilla and the Lion Cub of Cintra. To find out more about the taxing journey Ciri will go on in the series, as well as how she will evolve, watch Allan tease what to expect of the character in this Netflix featurette.
Anya Chalotra will also star as Yennefer, the determined and stubborn sorceress. Chalotra shares what you need to know about Yennefer, including how her past shaped her into the tough women she grew up to be.
Rounding out the main cast for the first season are Jodhi May (Queen Calanthe), Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (King Eist Tuirseach), Adam Levy (Mousesack), MyAnna Buring (Tissaia de Vries), Mimi Ndiweni (Fringilla Vigo), Therica Wilson-Read (Sabrina Flevissig), and Emma Appleton (Princess Renfri).
Fans of the books will be excited to see that several other notable roles have been cast as well, including Joey Batey as Jaskier (aka Dandelion), Eamon Farren as Cahir, and Anna Shaffer as Triss Merigold. And don't worry, they've also cast Roach, Geralt's trusted steed, whom Cavil allegedly handpicked for the role.
The full trailer for The Witcher was released on Halloween, and it does a nimble job at setting up all the challenges Geralt will face this season. It also includes a look at Geralt and Yennefer's first meeting, and the chemistry between these two is absolutely electric from the very start. In addition to previewing Geralt and Yennefer's relationship, we also see Ciri setting off to find Geralt, a long and dangerous journey that will determine the fate of the world.
A second and final trailer was released in December, and this one details the impending war between the Northern countries and the Nilfgaardian Empire, which seeks to conquer and destroy the world as it stands.
The first teaser for The Witcher was released in May, revealing the first footage from the show and what appears to be flashbacks to Yennefer's past before she became a sorceress -- something that was never really explored in The Witcher books.
Yes! Netflix gave The Witcher an early renewal, five weeks ahead of the series premiere. Production on an eight-episode second season is scheduled to begin in early 2020 with an anticipated debut in 2021. Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, and Freya Allan are all set to return. The renewal gets showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich one step closer to her imagined seven-season plan for the series.
The Witcher franchise began in the '90s as a series of fantasy novels and short stories by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. There are two collections of short stories (Sword of Destiny and The Last Wish) that take place prior to the events of the novels and introduce all the characters that drive the main saga. The five novels (Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire, The Tower of the Swallow, and The Lady of the Lake) focus on Geralt and Ciri's adventures, after the first war with Nilgard and spanning the second. There is also a standalone novel, Season of Storms, that is set between the short stories detailed in The Last Wish.
If you are planning to read the books chronologically by plot, the order would go: The Last Wish, Season of Storms, Sword of Destiny, Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire, The Tower of the Swallow, and The Lady of the Lake.
The Witcher books also inspired a popular video game series, with the first game being released in 2007. It spawned two sequels, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2011) and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015). The games take place approximately 10 years after the events of the books.
While we don't know precisely what books the first season of the series will adapt, we can make some well-informed guesses based on the casting announcements and the footage and photos that have been released. Judging by what we've seen so far, it appears as though The Witcher show will largely draw from stories compiled in The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, including "The Witcher," The Lesser Evil," and "A Question of Price," among others. For more on how the series will intersect with the books, you can check out our full books breakdown right here.
The Witcher will premiere on Netflix in late 2019.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.)