Henry Cavill as Geralt and Joey Batey as Jaskier the Bard in Netflix's The Witcher

Do Netflix’s Witcher Writers Hate The Books?

Some of the writers of Netflix’s The Witcher were not fans of the source material, according to former producer Beau DeMayo. While these comments came on October 23rd, 2022, they’re receiving further scrutiny after Netflix’s shock October 29th, 2022 announcement that star Henry Cavill—who pretty much carried the entire show on his broad shoulders—would be departing after the third season. Cavill’s character, Geralt of Rivia, has been recast, and Liam Hemsworth (the youngest Hemsworth, he of The Hunger Games movies) will don the White Wolf mantle for season four and any subsequent seasons.

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During an Instagram Q&A, former Witcher writer and producer Beau DeMayo claimed that there were writers who “actively disliked” the books and games and even mocked the source material. DeMayo went on to say that such behavior is a “recipe for disaster and bad morale” and that you must “respect the work before you’re allowed to add to its legacy.” This all happened pre-Cavill announcement. The comments emerged in the context of DeMayo discussing his work on Disney+’s upcoming X-Men ’97 series, which he is showrunning. DeMayo said that he ensured the X-Men production team were fans of that source material (namely, the iconic ’90s cartoon), as he says this was not what he experienced on The Witcher. Per IGN:

“I’ve been on show – namely Witcher – where some of the writers were not or actively disliked the books and games (even actively mocking the source material),” DeMayo explained. “It’s a recipe for disaster and bad morale. Fandom as a litmus test checks egos, and makes all the long nights worth it. You have to respect the work before you’re allowed to add to its legacy.”

DeMayo didn’t point any fingers or name any names. But the comments are resurfacing as fans and the media try to pinpoint reasons why Cavill would choose to depart as Geralt, which he lauded as his dream role for years. The speculation goes that Cavill, a longtime fan of The Witcher books and video games, may not have been happy with the show’s direction, and DeMayo’s claims that some writers didn’t love the source material could have contributed to that. This is all just speculation, however.

It’s also worth noting that someone doesn’t need to be a diehard canonical purist to write for a property. Sometimes, alternative perspectives—and criticism of things the source material does poorly—can be a valuable addition to any writing staff. No one is going to claim that The Witcher books or video games are in such a perfect, untouchable form that nothing can be altered for the better or for the sake of telling another kind of story. Still, it’s strange that someone who actively disliked a wildly popular franchise would seek out work therein. We look forward to hearing more Witcher-y developments as this tea brews.

(via IGN, featured image: Netflix)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.