Netflix’s highly anticipated The Witcher TV series is moving full-speed ahead after casting Henry Cavill in the lead role. Indeed, the Mission: Impossible – Fallout actor’s involvement was a huge coup for the fantasy series, and now the show is casting up around the talented performer. The series is based on the book series by author Andrzej Sapkowski (which also inspired a bestselling video game franchise) and is an epic saga revolving around Geralt of Rivia (Cavill), a solitary monster hunter who struggles to find his place in the world, but whose destiny hurtles him towards a powerful sorceress and a young princess. The trio subsequently traverse the volatile Continent together.
Per THR, Freya Allan will fill the role of Ciri, the young princess of Cintra, while Anya Chalotra will play Yennefer, a powerful sorceress and Geralt Rivia’s main love interest. Allan is a young actress with very little experience under her belt aside from an episode of AMC’s series Into the Badlands and the upcoming War of the Worlds miniseries. Chalotra is also relatively new, but has a recurring role on the upcoming Netflix series Wanderlust.
Rounding out the rest of the cast are Jodhi May (Game of Thrones, Genius) as Queen Calanthe; Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (Fortitude) as her husband, the knight Eist; Adam Levy (Knightfall, Snatch) as the druid Mousesack; MyAnna Buring as the head of the magical academy at Aretuza, Tissaia; Mimi Ndiweni and Therica Wilson-Read as novice sorcerers; and Millie Brady as the outcast Princess Renfri.
Cavill is a huge star, but he’ll be surrounded by a lot of new faces in the cast. Indeed, casting Superman can’t come cheap. But The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich tells THR that she didn’t intentionally set out to cast lesser-known performers:
“Not specifically, nor were we looking for a movie star when we cast Henry. We’re looking for the best actors for these roles. Period. End of story. It comes down to the best actor for the role. Henry’s obviously a big fan of the franchise. We met in early April and had a very general meeting. I then went off and met with hundreds of other candidates for Geralt and never really got Henry out of my mind. In casting Anya and Freya, the cool thing was we were open to anyone and both of them, to me, embody the spirits of the characters.”
As for how the video games impact Hissrich’s vision for The Witcher series, she says they’re aiming to forge their own path:
“It does muddy the water a little bit for me. I’m a huge fan of the games. That being said, what I really tried to steer away from is that the video games right now are the sole visual representation of these stories and we needed to create our own visual representation. As I’ve been developing the series I’ve actually pulled back from playing the video games because I wanted to make sure the show we were creating was its own unique thing.”
Netflix hasn’t yet announced a premiere date for The Witcher, but with production beginning soon I think it’s possible we’ll see the show at the end of 2019 or early 2020.