The Witcher is one of the most popular original shows on Netflix (thanks to that audience metric that requires you only watch two minutes of a thing to count as a “view”), so it’s no surprise a prequel spin-off is coming. Described as a six-episode limited series, The Witcher: Blood Origin will tell the story of how the worlds of man, monster, and elves became combined, and the creation of the first Witcher. If you’re a hard-core fan of the series or of Andrzei Sapkowksi’s novels, get excited for a deeper exploration of Witcher lore, but for everyone else the main draw is the series star: Jodie Turner-Smith. She will play an elf called Éile, who is seeking “vengeance and redemption” for some reason I’m sure we’ll learn in the show. The Witcher series writer Declan de Barra is serving as the prequel showrunner.
Thanks to Lord of the Rings, the image most casual fans have of cinematic elves in their minds is tall, beautiful, and white. I’m glad The Witcher is going outside those narrow parameters to cast someone as exciting as JTS. Elves are almost always figures of mystery and magic—they’re basically the glamour models of fantasy. This makes actual former model JTS suited for the role, but more than that, she projects so much natural glamour and magnetism on screen that OF COURSE she should play an elf in a fantasy show. Yesterday Lainey said, “while I have not seen a single episode of The Witcher, I will for sure watch the prequel series for her, every episode for her.” Such is the draw of Jodie Turner-Smith. She is completely compelling, exactly the kind of actor you want to lead your fantasy show about elves and magic.
There is also an animated prequel series coming, called The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, about Geralt’s mentor, Vesemir. I mean…sure. I know some people are ride or die for the books, and the videogames, but as a television series The Witcher doesn’t really inspire that much interest for more. The show is basically a really expensive, 21st century Xena: Warrior Princess starring a himbo mercenary instead of a warrior princess (Geralt: Himbo Mercenary is true-to-series marketing). The draw of more Witcher stuff is going to depend more on casting than general connections to the larger Witcher universe. Like, I’m not feeling the need to drop everything and binge a cartoon about (another) grumpy Witcher. But I will definitely be on the couch the first night Blood Origin drops, just to see what Jodie Turner-Smith does with it.