Netflix’s upcoming live-action adaptation of The Witcher novel series finally has a release date, as delivered by the NSFW trailer embedded below. If you’re under 18, don’t even think about watching this trailer! You’ll just have to imagine what the out-of-focus boobies that’re in the background for one and a half seconds look like on your own. Everyone, however, can enjoy Geralt’s world-famous bathtub scene, which I’ve made the header image in celebration of the Twitter people that get so dang mad whenever Bathtub Geralt shows up.
As we knew going into this, Netflix’s version of The Witcher treads an earlier path in the gruff hero’s journey than most video game folk are familiar with. For many of us, The Witcher 3 was our first introduction to Geralt of Rivia and his dangerous life of monster hunting and sorceress entanglement — this game us very specific ideas about most of the marquee characters, which aren’t reflected in Netflix’s series.
Not only does this show take place many years before the events of The Witcher 3, it’s also based on the books, not the video games, and there’s a breadth of difference between the established canons of the two. That’s why Ciri, as seen in today’s trailer, is a waifish teen besieged by doe-eyed anxiety, rather than the fearless child and/or battle-worn adult that players know her as.
I gotta say, compared to that first trailer, I’m way more sold on this whole thing than I used to be. Cavill’s Geralt seems way less cartoonishly beefy in this bathtub as compared to the first bathtub, and his swordsmanship does a good job of evoking the virtual Geralt’s trademark combat style. His voice is appropriately gruff, but doesn’t sound like it’s verging on causing a hernia, like, say, Christian Bale’s Batman. His intimate nuzzle with Roach did skeez me out a little bit, but hopefully that scene is less creepy in context.
This trailer also gives us our first look at Geralt’s magical abilities, which haven’t transformed into big Dragon Ball Z attacks, thank goodness. Witchers are but wee pretenders when it comes to magic, at least compared to sorceresses like Ciri, Yennefer, and Tris, who are true wielders of the Source. We’re also shown what appears to be a Drowner, one of the series’ trademark ghouls: “Drowners are scoundrels who ended their wicked lives in the water,” according to the first game’s bestiary. “Drowned alive or thrown into deep water after death, they turn into vengeful creatures which stalk the inhabitants of coastal settlements.”
This version of The Witcher also seems to be learning much harder into the whole “Witchers are persecuted as freaks” thing, which is touched on in The Witcher 3, but only in the sense that some characters make reference to Witcher persecution, rather than Geralt actually encountering said persecution. It’s used like a prop, meant to add an air of noble suffering to Geralt but without much substance. Hopefully the show will do a better job of making this an actual part of Geralt’s history, while also managing to avoid the many ways that depicting White Persecution™ can turn into a Whole Thing™.