Blood Origin award without Henry Cavill?

The Witcher: Blood Origin spoilers will not be found in this review.

The Witcherverse is changing in a big way, and no, we’re not just talking about the arrival of Origin of blood. After three seasons, Henry Cavill quits The Witcher’s flagship show for destinations – and bathtubs – unknown.

“We’re all going to miss him,” co-star Joey Batey told us recently, and while he was talking about the cast, that’s pretty much everyone with an interest in the show as well.

Although Geralt has already been recast with Liam Hemsworth, fans are still worried about the future of this franchise, so that puts a lot of pressure on Origin of blood, The Witcher’s first live-action spinoff show.

Origin of blood not trying to be The Witcher though, and it’s all the better for it.

Set 1,200 years before Dandelion first tossed a coin to his Witcher, it follows an unlikely band of heroes fighting to stop a tyrant from destroying everything. And by “everything” we really mean it everything. Because this isn’t just your ordinary fantasy show. We live in a post-Marvel world now, which means a multiverse of madness is coming to the continent.

To be fair, this conceit has always been inherent The Witcher books. In fact, the main idea behind this entire franchise is that monsters and humans (same same) entered this world during a cosmic event known as The Conjunction of the Spheres. However, no book or game or show has really explored this key moment properly yet. At least not until now.

Last year, Origin of blood co-creator Lauren Schmidt Hissrich told us that the prequel will feel different because the world itself was so different before the conjunction:

“One of the things that [co-writer] Declan de Barra brought to it is: what if that world is not a medieval version of our medieval world, but actually an Enlightenment? How is that a bit more modern? How is that civilization more learned in some ways? And how do we begin to lay the stepping stones to where we are now?”

Netflix

And Hissrich was right. This is a world that would be almost completely unrecognizable to Geralt. Yes, there are still elves and swords and battles to be won, but Origin of blood The continent is clearly more advanced than the world our regular Witcher is in, which is an exciting direction to take for a prequel.

And we’re not just talking visually either. Beyond the intricate, expensive world design, Origin of blood is also more advanced in reflecting real diversity. White characters no longer stand out the way they do elsewhere, and diverse body types are more common here as well.

Queerness – still noticeably absent from the main show – has also been woven more organically throughout the prequel. Now, this shouldn’t be groundbreaking, but it’s certainly still in a world where even the biggest fantasy shows can’t pull it off.

That is not to say that the story itself is particularly groundbreaking. While all these mentioned elements help to set Origin of blood except The Witcher (along with other fantasy shows of the same ilk), the plot is definitely one you’ve seen before.

Jaskier even jokes about it at one point early on, making its truth even harder to swallow.

What is different with all of this, however, is how quickly the story unfolds. Netflix is ​​notoriously bad when it comes to pacing across the board, and The Witcher is guilty of that too, so the decision to cut Origin of blood down to just four episodes feels like a deliberate refutation of this. And it’s one we welcome, but with a few caveats.

laurence ofuarain, sophia brown, michelle yeoh, the origins of the witch blood

Netflix

By condensing the main arc in this way, Origin of blood avoids some of the tedium that can often set in with similar shows around the halfway mark. The problem now, however, is that the story is almost too short.

With such limited playing time, we don’t spend enough time getting to know this brand new cast, so inevitably some fall by the wayside. Even so, four episodes is still too long to capture the powerful, exciting pace that a movie can manage. What we’re left with is a strange hybrid of TV and film that fails to emulate the high points of either.

Out of that cast, highlights include Laurence O’Fuarain as Fjall, a muscular beast with a tender heart, Sex education Mirren Mack as a tyrannical princess, and Lenny Henry in a role that is literally worlds away from his work in Ringing with power.

Rest assured you’ll also fall in love with Francesca Mills, who plays a potty-mouthed dwarf whose tragic story is easily the show’s most heartfelt. In fact, it’s characters like her Meldorf that really make us wish this wasn’t just a one-and-done series.

Aside from Minnie Driver’s exciting, franchise-wide role, it’s likely we won’t be seeing many of these characters again, and that’s a shame, because there’s real potential here to push past teething problems.

But as it says, The Witcher: Blood Origin lacking one central figure as strong as Henry Cavill to pull it all together.

laurence o fuarain, the origin of the witch blood

Netflix

That’s not to say that Sophia Brown isn’t up to the task as Éile, or that Michelle Yeoh isn’t her typically brilliant self. It’s just that most of these characters, and therefore Origin of blood themselves, remain frustratingly limited, like rough sketches that have not been sufficiently fleshed out.

As it stands, we still miss Henry, though Origin of blood has also given us hope that the franchise can continue without him, because there are glimpses of something very special here that almost justify Netflix’s “Special Event” tag for the show.

The Witcher Seasons 1-2 are now streaming on Netflix. Season 3 is in production and spin-off The Witcher: Blood Origin premieres on December 25, also on Netflix.

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