- Arrives on Netflix on December 25
- Serves as a prequel to The Witcher TV series
- Set 1200 years before mainline show
- Michelle Yeoh, Sophia Brown, and Laurence O’Fuarain among its sizable cast
- Charts the creation of the first witcher
- Covers the cataclysmic event known as the Conjunction of the Spheres
- Comprises four episodes
The Witcher: Blood Origin is less than a month away now. The first spin-off show from Netflix's live-action Witcher adaptation magics its way onto the streamer on December 25, so fans of the hit fantasy series will have some Witcher content to stream over the holidays.
Before this spin-off of one of the best Netflix shows is released, you'll want to know more about it. Luckily for you, our spellbinding Blood Origin guide has all the information you need. Below, we provide details on its production, including its cast, story threads, trailers, how it ties to Netflix's Witcher series (including The Witcher season 3), and more.
Potential story spoilers follow for The Witcher: Blood Origin, as well as some spoiler-y content from Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher novels. If you're avoiding spoilers ahead of launch, use the navigation bar on the left to skip ahead to a different section.
The Witcher: Blood Origin release date
Worlds will collide. The Witcher: Blood Origin is coming to Netflix on December 25. #TUDUM pic.twitter.com/jSDDf7lzdASeptember 24, 2022
The Witcher: Blood Origin will arrive on December 25. That's Christmas Day, for those who celebrate the last major holiday of the year.
Why the long wait between its launch and the series' first trailer, which was released in December 2021? The series underwent reshoots in early April (per Witcher fansite Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab)). Among other development issues, the series was delayed from a reported Q2 2022 release until the end of 2022.
Per showrunner Declan de Barra (via Netflix's in-house Tudum website (opens in new tab)), the miniseries is made up of four episodes, rather than the previously reported six – something de Barra compares to a "two-part movie". The Witcher spin-off also has an hard R-rating (that's 18 plus in the UK) due to graphic violence, strong language, and nudity.
The Witcher: Blood Origin trailer
After nearly a year without a new teaser, Netflix released a long overdue second trailer for The Witcher: Blood Origin on November 10.
The 60-second trailer doesn't give much away, but it contains a sizable chunk of new footage for fans to pour over. Set to one of the series' original tracks (sung by star Sophia Brown), the teaser is packed with action, sweeping vista shots, and plenty of tense and emotive moments. It certainly looks like Blood Origin is stepping things up in the dark fantasy stakes, too, with some ominous tones depicted throughout its short runtime.
It's understandable that Netflix is keeping its cards close to its chest with what it's showing, but we can't help but feel that a longer teaser is needed to really set the scene for viewers. Luckily, there's another teaser (the one released in December 2021), which offers a bit more context about the show's plot. Watch this trailer below:
The Witcher: Blood Origin cast
The Witcher: Blood Origin cast comprises 15 characters:
- Michelle Yeoh as Scían
- Sophia Brown as Éile
- Laurence O’Fuarain as Fjall
- Lenny Henry as Chief Sage Balor
- Mirren Mack as Merwyn
- Jacob Collins-Levy as Eredin
- Lizzie Annis as Zacaré
- Zach Wyatt as Syndril
- Huw Novelli as Callan "Brother Death"
- Francesca Mills as Meldof
- Amy Murray as Fenrik
- Nathaniel Curtis as Brían
- Dylan Moran as Uthrok One-Nut
- Aidan O'Callaghan as Kareg
- Minnie Driver as Seanchaí
While Yeoh is the biggest name attached to the project, Brown's Éile is the series' protagonist. Per Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab) (EW), Éile is a warrior of the Queen's guard who leaves her post to become a traveling musician. In a separate EW (opens in new tab) article, Éile is revealed to be the daughter of the Raven Clan's Chieftain, who is trained from birth to become a formidable warrior before she turns her back on fighting. Judging by the footage we've seen, however, Éile will be roped back into the life she left behind.
As for Yeoh (Star Trek: Discovery, Shang-Chi), her character Scían hails from the Ghost Clan and is the swords master who trained Éile. She's described (per Deadline (opens in new tab)) as "the very last of her nomadic tribe of sword-elves. No one can come close to her artistry with the blade, and no one carries as much loss within their heart. When a chance presents itself to retrieve a stolen sacred sword, taken from her fallen tribe by nefarious means, she launches herself into a deadly quest that will change the outcome of the Continent."
O'Fuarain (Vikings, Game of Thrones) will portray Fjall, a Dog Clan member described by Variety (opens in new tab) as being "born into a clan of warriors sworn to protect a king, Fjall carries a deep scar within, the death of a loved one who fell in battle trying to save him. A scar that won’t let him settle, or make peace with himself or the world around him. In his quest for redemption, Fjall will find himself fighting beside the most unlikely of allies as he carves a path of vengeance across a continent in turmoil."
It's unclear how they'll join forces in The Witcher: Blood Origin. However, de Barra hints the creative team "put together a team of disparate people to fight for what they believe in. If they weren’t bound by the same desire for revenge and justice, would be on the same team. Because they’re like oil and water, they’ve all got beef with each other."
Moving onto the Conjunction of the Spheres: in Sapkowski's novels, this cataclysmic, multiversal event (that occurred 1500 years before The Witcher) caused every world and reality to collide, leading to a situation where humans, elves, and monsters all exist in the same dimension.
The Conjunction of the Spheres' effects last hundreds of years in this universe. It's not only responsible for the rich and diverse make-up of the world, but also the danger, chaos, and uncertainty that prevails throughout it. So important is the Conjunction to the entire world of The Witcher, it harbors enormous potential for storytelling and framing the entire universe.
Given what subsequently plays out, we suspect that the series' main characters will need to band together when their missions align. Naturally, they could be thrown together by circumstance but, given The Witcher franchise's penchant for fate as a theme, we think it'll be something bigger than these characters solely meeting by chance.
But they aren't the only characters in Blood Origin. The most recent cast announcement concerns Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting, Speechless), who has been cast as Seanchaí, a shapeshifting storyteller with the ability to traverse time and different realms who collects historical lore from each place she visits. Driver also narrates the miniseries.
Welcome to our clan, Minnie Driver! We can’t wait to see you on the Continent. pic.twitter.com/9yVSeuT2i8September 24, 2022
Interestingly, Jacob Collins-Levy (The White Princess) has been cast as Eredin, an elven cavalry commander who led the Wild Hunt. With The Witcher season 2 finally introducing the Wild Hunt to audiences, it'll be intriguing to see what elements of Eredin's backstory are included and how it leads into The Witcher.
There are plenty of original characters set to debut, too. Lenny Henry (Doctor Who, The Rings of Power) will appear as Chief Sage Balor, a "product of class in society" who uses his talents to become the current king's advisor. Mirren Mack (The Nest, Sex Education) plays Princess Merwyn, who grows up in a patriarchial monarchy but someone de Barra describes as "having a fire in her".
Zach Wyatt (Karen Pirie) will portray Syndril, while Lizzie Annis (Night Growler) is Zacaré. These characters are referred to as celestial twins, individuals born to different mothers but who came into the world when the same meteor appeared in the sky. Their fates, then, might be more magically intertwined than we think.
Other supporting cast members include Dylan Moran (Black Books) as Uthrok One-Nut, Nathaniel Curtis (It's a Sin) as Brían, and Huw Novelli (The Snow Spider) as Callan, who is also known as Brother Death. Francesca Mills (Harlots) will play Meldorf, Amy Murray (in her first major acting role) has been cast as Fenrik, and Aidan O'Callaghan (The Rook) will play Kareg.
It's unknown which characters will be good or bad. But, based on a very brief glimpse shot of six characters preparing for battle, it seems like Merwyn, Syndril, and Callan will join forces with Scían, Éile and Fjall. Expect Zacaré to do so, too, if she's intrinsically tied to Syndril.
The Witcher: Blood Origin story
Here's Netflix's official synopsis (opens in new tab) for the show: "Set in an elven world 1200 years before the world of The Witcher, Blood Origin will tell a story lost to time – the origin of the very first Witcher, and the events that lead to the pivotal Conjunction of the Spheres, when the worlds of monsters, men, and elves merged to become one."
According to de Barra, who sketched the series' whole idea down on a napkin in November 2019 (per EW (opens in new tab)), The Witcher: Blood Origin will place an emphasis on the ancient Elven society, tensions between races, and other issues caused by the Conjunction.
"Viewers will be surprised because they’re going to see a story told about a period of elven history that was buried by the humans after their arrival and eventual conquest of the continent," de Barra also told Tudum. "We get to tell a tale about the elves when they were at their height, like all great societies before their fall."
We'll also see the origins of the witchers, humans who have undergone rigorous training and magical experimentation to turn them into vicious monster hunters. Geralt and Vesemir are the most famous ones, but we should get a glimpse of who becomes the prototype witcher in the show.
"The first official witcher didn’t happen until way after the arrival of the humans, with the creation of various witcher schools," de Barra noted. "But the actual initial mechanics for that witcher, and the Trial of the Grasses, that was open [to explore], it’s like, 'How did that come about?'. That’s what we delve into.
"What is the prototype of the witcher? Say, Geralt is version 13.0, the upgrade, ours is the 1.0, rough and ready – the concept of a witcher. It’s the [original] model. What was the story there? How did that get lost? And who found that critical element later?"
⚔️10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE WITCHER: BLOOD ORIGIN ⚔️In case you missed our recent updates from the Continent… pic.twitter.com/IW4ZpmiWc2September 30, 2022
According to The Witcher showrunner Lauren S Hissrich, the creation of the first witcher is pivotal in Blood Origin due to the Conjunction of the Spheres. She told Digital Spy (opens in new tab): "When we're coming up with spin-off ideas, or how we want to extend this universe, I always go back to the books, and try to find things that are either hinted at, or mentioned, or that we don't have the time to explore in the main series, or that Sapkowski didn’t explore fully in the books.
"The Conjunction of the Spheres is one of those things. And I just wanted to understand: What was the world before the Conjunction? How did it change? Because all of these spheres came together. And how did that begin to set up our world now?"
Those aren't the only element that the series will focus on. After all, based on the appearances and backstories of the show's leading trio, the Continent's elven civilization are the dominant species before the Conjunction occurs.
For de Barra, the elves' pre-colonized world was something the creative team wanted to explore, telling EW (opens in new tab): "I just was fascinated with the idea of what a pre-colonized world would look like for the elves. When you look at our own history, societies that had been at their height, like the Roman Empire or the Mayan Empire, that'd be right before the fall and then we're in dark ages again. That fascinated me to wonder what that world could have been: what society would have been like and what elves wanted. That's what we're going to explore here."
Elaborating further on why a pre-colonized world seemed like the right fit for Blood Origin, de Barra added (per EW (opens in new tab)): "It [the world before the Conjunction] is very vague in the books as to what happened. I got out a whiteboard and sketched out this plan of what I thought: what elves wanted in this world and what the society was like pre-colonization. That kind of stuck."
The Witcher: Blood Origin could also explore the origins of Princess Cirilla's bloodline and powers, which we've seen in The Witcher seasons 1 and 2.
Blood Origin mayb be a nod to Elder Blood, aka the bloodline that Ciri belongs to, and that distinguishes her as special and powerful – dangerously so. The Elder Blood began with elven mages and was originally meant to be kept solely within this race. This did not occur as one prominent carrier strayed from the elven line to begin a relationship with a human. Given this relates to such an important, and now established character in Ciri, it'll be interesting to see if The Witcher: Blood Origin shows us how the bloodline began.
A new journey on the Continent awaits. Prepare for THE WITCHER: BLOOD ORIGIN, premiering December 25. pic.twitter.com/5rHjo1PS8GNovember 10, 2022
Additionally, the Elven/human mixing of the Elder bloodline happened after the Conjunction of the Spheres. The witcher order came well after the Conjunction, so there's plenty of leaps that will need to be made to compress it all down.
Blood Origin's narrative will also thematically explore real world issues, including class divide and racism. "There was massive social stratification," de Barra told EW (opens in new tab). "There's highborn and lowborn, and you shall not pass from one to the other. That's their form of racism, and specie-ism in terms of how the dwarves are treated. It's not a perfect society at all."
As for those magic-imbued monoliths viewers were introduced to in The Witcher season 2, de Barra adds: "We learn the origin of the monoliths here, and then we understand how they became so important in the world of The Witcher later and the power that was bestowed upon them and how that came about. They’re the catalyst for a lot of what goes wrong in this world."
Regardless of Blood Origin's actual story, the show will "surprise" fans of The Witcher TV series and fans of the books, according to Hissrich. Speaking exclusively to TechRadar in December 2021, Hissrich confidently suggested that Blood Origin will "surprise viewers in how it looks", with the Continent's "more modern" aesthetic making it appear futuristic compared to what we've previously seen.
Speaking to Tudum, de Barra also teased that Blood Origin will directly impact future seasons of the main Witcher TV show. "Blood Origin sets up certain core characters and fan favorites from the books in the later Witcher series," he said. "There are items and discoveries that are made in this world that play off in later seasons of The Witcher and have critical effects on the storyline. Lauren Schmidt, the producers, and I spent a lot of time seeding new Easter eggs and answering older Easter eggs from other episodes and series."
Will The Witcher: Blood Origin get a second season?
The Witcher: Blood Origin is being billed as a limited series, which fleshes out the live-action universe's world and allows fans to go deeper into it outside of Sapkowski's novels. De Barra, though, has suggested that a second season could be possible if the show is successful, simply telling EW (opens in new tab) that it's "up to the fans" if more than four episodes are to be made.
If The Witcher: Blood Origin's story has a satisfying conclusion, there's no real reason for another season. There's plenty of Witcher content coming to Netflix in the future, including The Witcher season 3, which arrives mid-2023, as well as another animated movie and a child-friendly spin-off show.
That's more than enough Witcher projects for the franchise's creative team to be busy with for now but, clearly, The Witcher: Blood Origin's future will depend on whether audiences want to see more of this version of the world before the Conjunction truly takes effect.
For more Witcher-based content, find out how to read The Witcher books in order.