The Witcher: Lauren S. Hissrich Discusses Animated Kids/Family Series

As Netflix continues to expand upon The Witcher universe with new seasons of the main series as well as animated spinoff series & films, a prequel series in the form of Declan de Barra's The Witcher: Blood Origin. Another project in development is a more family-friendly series, with the news causing some rumblings within the fandom (more on that in a minute). On Monday, we got to learn a bit more about the project from showrunner extraordinaire Lauren S. Hissrich, who confirmed to EW that the series will also be animated and is set to focus on the stories going on behind the scenes of the main action in author Andrzej Sapkowski's novels.

Image: Screencap

"That process came out a ton of conversations, which of course broached if we do a kids and family show, is it going to be 'The Witcher' at all? How do we do 'The Witcher' without all of the gore, all of the violence, all of the brutality that we see in the Witcher world? Those things to me are the bells and whistles of this world. If you peel away those layers, you come back to basic tales of morality," Hissrich explained. "That's what all of Sapkowski's short stories are. They're morality tales, they're fairytales. They're based on a bunch of folklore and mythology, the exact sort of tales that Grimms' fairytales do, that frankly, Disney movies do. So, it was about, how do we take those same fundamental lessons, those same tales, keep them in the world of 'The Witcher', but make them more appropriate for kids?"

Hissrich doesn't have to look any further than her 8- and 10-year-olds for the inspiration behind the project. "They get to see the trailers before anyone else does, which is great, but it's just not something that they're ever going to be able to watch. And I want to bring them into this world," Hissrich revealed. That said, certain aspects of the novels' lore will have to be avoided (like the Trial of the Grasses) to maintain the proper balance for family-friendly viewing. "We won't be telling that part of the story, but I do want to initiate a new audience into this world. I want my boys to grow up watching this animated series and getting so excited to the point that they can dig into the main series, as well. It's an entrance point in my mind," Hissrich explained.

Image: Screencap

At the end of September, Hissrich responded to critics of the idea of a family-friendly project set within the "Witcher" universe via Twitter, arguing that while the franchise does have adult themes she also believes that they're themes with important lessons that can be presented with a younger viewer in mind. "I agree, 'The Witcher' is a dark, mature universe. I'd go further. It's controversial. Political. A microcosm of humanity, for all its goodness and evil. But I believe — STRONGLY believe — that the moral dilemmas and ethical grayness that adults love in this universe can be extrapolated to stories that kids in this chaotic world desperately need, and could benefit from," Hissrich wrote in a series of tweets.

Hissrich continued, "I say this as the mom of an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old. They've begged me to watch the show. They can't. It's not appropriate, too mature and dark, as you say. But. If I can sit with them and watch a version they love, one they can laugh at, one they feel "gets them" and their small but meaningful place in the world — but that can also serve as a foundation from which to talk about big topics, racism, sexism, what it means to be a monster? And how we can fight back against those bleak black holes of humanity, so everyone knows there's a place for them? Then I'm in. And yes, I hope this extends the brand viewership. I love 'The Witcher' world. And I want more people to love it, too, no matter their age. Don't you?"

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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