The Witcher finally has a release date! Netflix's newest original TV show dropped their second (and presumably final) trailer with the announcement the show will release on December 20th. As a passionate fan of both The Witcher novels and video games, I have some thoughts I'd like to share.
Henry Cavill May Just Make a Great Geralt After All
I, along with many other fans, questioned the casting choice of Henry Cavill as Geralt. He's a solid actor, but didn't blow anyone out of the water with his performances as Superman or yet another absurdly strong, evil secret agent Mission: Impossible. But Cavill, at the very least, proved he can hit the most important points when it comes to Geralt in this trailer. His moody, far-off gazes were spot-on, he delivered Geralt's signature line with excellence, and (tentatively!) seems like he could capture Geralt's odd combination of bluntness, dry humor, and surprising sensitivity. Plus, he didn't look ridiculously beefy in this trailer like he did in the last one, which is a plus.
They Won't Be Holding Back the Action
The first trailer had its moments, but was generally devoid of the swordplay that everyone knew would define much of how this series is received by the general public. This trailer did not hold back. Cavill looked comfortable whirling and twirling, certainly, but the crucial aspect that they appear to nail is how effortless it's supposed to look. Geralt is a mutant, a literal superhuman who has improved senses and reaction time to fight non-humans. Which means when he fights regular humans, it should be a massacre-- and it was in this trailer.
We Finally Get a Glimpse at Yen and Ciri
Seeing as the show is based off the books (rather than the video games), the holy triumvirate of characters was always going to be Yennefur, Ciri, and Geralt. The story seems to be setting up as Ciri's quest to find Geralt as his Child of Destiny and Yennefur's meddlings as a witch who sees the immense power in Ciri. How Cavill and Anya Chalotra (Yen) play out their relationship will be absolutely critical to making the fans happy. It's a very complicated one, filled with subtleties, but they seem to get off on the right foot here. Ciri didn't get a lot of screen time in this trailer, but she'll emerge as a central character if the plot even vaguely follows that of the book, and she at least looks the part.
Final Verdict: Cautiously Optimistic
It was hard not to get very excited watching this trailer, if only because they checked Witcher boxes: some dry Geralt humor, swordplay, another glimpse at just how twisted Geralt looks after taking his potions, big battles and vast landscapes. But I hold back on getting too hyped, simply because the success of this show relies entirely on how Geralt, Ciri, and Yen are portrayed. The entire story is built upon their unique characters, more so than other works. The world around them will be fun to flesh out, but it's all for naught if Geralt isn't really Geralt. So I settle for cautious optimism. Cavill looks like he could be a great Geralt, but he's not an easy character. No matter what, though, I can't wait to watch, for better or worse.