The Witcher Author Just Added Some Fuel to Behind-the-Scenes Drama
Andrzej Sapkowski has confirmed that Netflix is not consulting with him about the series.
- Despite Netflix 's success with some live-action adaptations, The Witcher continues to be a failed project, with even its star, Henry Cavill, leaving the series.
- Fans of Sapkowski's books and CD Project's games have criticized the series for being disrespectful to the source material.
- The author confirmed that the team didn't really take his opinion into account.
Netflix is a notoriously ambiguous company when it comes to adapting iconic franchises, be they books, comics, manga, anime, or video games. Unfortunately, it all comes down to how closely the team working on this or that adaptation collaborated with the author of the source material. For example, Death Note and Cowboy Bebop were spectacular flops, while One Piece, released in late August, became an instant worldwide hit — all thanks to the involvement of the manga's author, Eiichiro Oda.
In this context, the case of The Witcher, a high-profile fantasy series based on the books by Andrzej Sapkowski, is particularly relevant. The series has undoubtedly been a huge hit on Netflix, bringing both the streaming service and the franchise a huge influx of new fans. However, as popular as the series has been, it has also come with its share of scandals, as fans of The Witcher books and video games can't seem to stop criticizing the series for neglecting the source material. Now the controversy is about to get even bigger, as Sapkowski himself has confirmed such an attitude.
The Quality of the Show and the Neglect of the Writers
The first season of The Witcher was well received by regular viewers, and fans familiar with the original book noted how witty the approach to adapting Sapkowski's short story collections was. However, starting with the second season, people literally turned away from the show: pacing, editing, CGI, makeup and costumes got much worse (well, not counting the Nilfgaardian armor). But the main problem turned out to be the approach to the script, as the plot turned out to have too many critical deviations from the books, failing to capture the tone of the narrative and importance of many characters.
The situation only worsened with the news of Henry Cavill's departure from the series. Many speculated that the reason was creative differences with the writers, as the actor, unlike them, is said to be a big fan of Sapkowski's books and video games. Notably, the disrespect for the source material was also observed by producer and co-screenwriter of the first two seasons, Beau DeMayo.
'I've been on a show — namely Witcher — where some of the writers were not or actively disliked the books and games (even actively mocking the source material). 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.'
Andrzej Sapkowski on 'Collaboration' with Netflix
Sapkowski himself, speaking at Vienna Comic-Con last week, claimed that Netflix and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich's team aren't showing the proper respect for the books and their author's vision. After hearing his comments, fans are sure to be infuriated!
'Maybe, I gave them some ideas, but they never listened to me. But it's normal,' he said when asked about his involvement. Sapkowski then jokingly revealed the team's opinion of him, impersonating the Netflix executive: 'Who's this? It's a writer, it's nobody.'
Of course, his words should be taken with a grain of salt. Previously, the author himself was dismissive of CD Project's games and only spoke about them after the success of the third part, so we can't confirm that Netflix didn't contact Sapkowski at all. However, the games are essentially fanfics, as they take place after the events of the novels. The series, on the other hand, works directly with the author's creation, so if they really didn't take Sapkowski's opinion into account, it just shows how disrespectful the adaptation of The Witcher is.