The Witcher Season 2 is here, but star Henry Cavill is reflecting on the biggest criticism of Season 1 as well. Back in 2019, the first installment of the Netflix original series followed a tangle of split timelines that some fans found more frustrating than engaging. Cavill told Digital Spy this week that the complaints were "fair."
The Witcher Season 2 brings a lot of exciting new characters, story arcs and developments to the franchise, and it also gives fans a chance to judge this adaptation without the obscuring lens of multiple timelines. To mark the occasion, Cavill reflected on the timeline complaints in an interview on Friday, saying that the critics at the time were "I think fair. Absolutely fair. It's tough to keep track of those things, especially when you're following three different characters. Even if you know the lore, it's two of the characters in a completely original story. To keep up with it is tricky."
When we asked him about the criticism of season 1, Cavill replied: "I think fair. Absolutely fair. It's tough to keep track of those things, especially when you're following three different characters.” #TheWitcherpic.twitter.com/2t93Nawe3m— Digital Spy (@digitalspy) December 20, 2021
Fans were pretty evenly split on the timeline issue back in 2019, with some enjoying the mysterious vibe it brought to the show and others feeling alienated by it. At the time, showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich explained on Reddit: "The narrative structure was put in place so that we could tell Geralt's short stories, while Ciri and Yennefer could also be a part of the action." She was referring to the original short stories about Geralt that preceded the main Witcher Saga novels, which introduced a more continuous plot featuring Yennefer and Ciri.
Still, this weekend Hissrich told Digital Spy that "One of the things that I love to do is interact with fans. But I also hear what they're saying." She intimated that disliking the split timelines was a "completely valid opinion." She and Cavill both avoided spoilers except to say that the new season is more straightforward. Cavill said that the new season is "a bit more leaner now... I think it's a bit more clear. And I think that's a good thing."
The Witcher is adapted from a series of Polish novels by author Andrzej Sapkowski, which began with a few disconnected short stories in the late 1980s. Those stories introduced Geralt and a few other returning characters, but the greater plot began in the first novel Blood of Elves in 1994. To Hissrich, remixing the timeline was the best way to include these original stories while still giving the show the momentum it needed to continue and captivate new viewers.
So far, the gambit seems to have paid off. The Witcher Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix, along with Season 1 and the animated spinoff film The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. The next spinoff, The Witcher: Blood Origin, is slated for release sometime in 2022.