The casting for Netflix’s highly anticipated adaptation of The Witcher is shaping up nicely. After announcing last month that Henry Cavill will pick up the mantle of Geralt of Rivia, the showrunners revealed earlier today a few more actors that will play key roles in the upcoming series. Most notably, the actresses that will play Ciri and Yennifer, Geralt’s adopted daughter and his main love interest.
A Mix of Fresh and Recognizable Actors
Contrary to previous rumors, Ciri will not be played by a BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) actress in The Witcher. Rather, that role was offered to Freya Allan, best known for her performances in Blubird and Into the Badlands. As for the sorceress Yennifer, she will be played by Anya Chalotra, who stars in Wanderlust and The ABC Murders. Since the plot of the series will closely follow The Witcher novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski, we can expect Cavill, Allan, and Chalotra to receive the most screen time.
The showrunners also revealed that Jodhi May (Game of Thrones) will be playing Queen Calanthe of Cintra, Ciri’s grandmother. Joining May as her on-screen partner will be Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson (The Borgias, Fortitude) who plays Eist Tuirseach, Jarl of Skellige and Calanthe’s second husband. The Witcher will also start Adam Levy (Knightfall) as Mousesack (aka Ermion) the druid, Millie Brady (The Last Kingdom) as Princess Renfri, and MyAnna Buring (One Night) who leads the magical academy of Aretuza. Meanwhile, Mimi Ndiweni (Rellik) and Therica Wilson-Read (Fox Trap) will play two novice sorceress studying at the academy.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, executive producer Lauren SchmidHissrich stated that The Witcher has around 50 characters right now. The showrunners wanted a mix of new and established actors but some roles were more difficult to cast than others. Finding the perfect match for Ciri was particularly difficult. The team reportedly saw over 200 actresses before finally settling on Freya Allan. Many fans of The Witcher went on a rampage when it was rumored that Ciri might not be played by a white actress. Hopefully, everyone is happier with this casting choice. The showrunners certainly seem to be.
The Series is Based on The Novels, Not the Games
Fans of The Witcher video games, on the other hand, might be a bit disappointed. Hissrich says that she and her team are primarily looking at the novels for inspiration, not the games. While the games are also based on Sapkowski’s novels, developer CD Projekt Red took a lot of liberties with the story and some of the characters, particularly in the last two games. The first game is closer to the novels and possibly a good indication of what to expect from the series.
In other The Witcher related news, author Andrzej Sapkowski recently demanded over $16 million in royalties from CD Projekt Red. CDPR stated that it wants to seek a peaceful resolution to the problem. However, they will not pay the $16 million as Sapkowski’s claims are groundless. At the time of this writing, the situation has not yet been resolved.