The Witcher, Netflix’s new fantasy series, isn’t even out yet, but one of the most persistent descriptions of the show is that it’s the streaming service’s answer to Game of Thrones.
Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, The Witcher’s showrunner, understands the comparison but said her series can “stand on its own two legs.”
“I don’t think we need to be the answer to anything,” Hissrich said during a press roundtable on Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. “I think we can be our own thing.”
The show is based on the popular video games and novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, set in a fictional place known as The Continent. It follows the Monster Hunter Geralt of Rivia, played by Henry Cavill, as he navigates his way through the fantasy world. Netflix released the first trailer for the show earlier Friday during a Comic-Con panel. The footage features Cavill, with long blonde hair, clubbing creatures and slashing away at armies.
Hissrich, who previously produced Daredevil and The Defenders, did say The Witcher and future fantasy shows owe a debt to Game of Thrones for making the genre more accessible to people who avoided it in the past. She added, “I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones. I hope we can be as successful.”
The Witcher franchise already has a devoted fan base. But the biggest fan might be Cavil, who’s read all the books and played all the games. Hissrich said he was a “great resource,” and involved several details of his character from the very beginning. She said the two sent images back and forth to each other about what Cavill’s wig would look like and what kind of contacts he would wear. He also suggested using various lines from the books for dialogue.
“Having a fan be at the center of the show, he understands what fans are looking for,” Hissrich said.
That should be helpful as the show creators deal with diehard devotees of the books and movies. Hissrich said she’s looking forward to them seeing the show, adding that she’s not coming into the project to change everything about the story.
“I don’t see that fan base as enemies,” she said. “I see them as fans or people to win over.”
Originally published July 19, 6:55 p.m. PT.