the first season of The Witcher - which released back in 2019

the first season of The Witcher - which released back in 2019

the first season of The Witcher - which released back in 2019

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The Witcher franchise is in serious trouble after the release of The Witcher: Blood Origin. Starring Henry Cavill as Geralt and Freya Allan as his young ward Ciri, the first season of The Witcher - which released back in 2019 - was a hit for Netflix. According to third-party analytics company Parrot Analytics, it measured in the top 0.2 per cent of TV shows in demand. Netflix wasted no time renewing the fantasy series, but they went one step further. They began working to transform The Witcher into the next big franchise.

Netflix's approach has been an unusual one. There's now some sort of Witcher spin-off between each season, exploring the history of the Continent and providing crucial new information. The latest series, The Witcher: Blood Origin, is essential backstory that tells the true story of the Conjunction of the Spheres - a cosmic event that brought monsters to the Continent, as well as humans. The end of The Witcher: Blood Origin ties these events in to Ciri through a new prophecy, a smart narrative approach that should help ensure the franchise remains cohesive. Unfortunately, as well-thought-through as Netflix's approach may be, it sadly looks to be failing.

The Witcher: Blood Origin Isn't Good Enough To Maintain Interest

The first two seasons of The Witcher were a tremendous success. Casting choices were inspired, the scripts were smart, the overarching narrative was compelling, and the visual effects were stunning. The Witcher: Blood Origin fails to reach anywhere near this benchmark, however, and it has come in for heavy criticism from fans and critics alike. Reviews of The Witcher: Blood Origin have been uniformly dire, with the pacing coming in for particular criticism; Netflix unwisely cut the show down from six episodes to four, meaning characters were never given the time to develop, and essential twists feel like artificial plot contrivances. Far from encouraging interest in further spinoffs, the Netflix TV show raises the question of whether this franchise is worth investing in.

The Witcher: Blood Origin Has Released At The Worst Possible Time

Every franchise stumbles, of course, but the timing of The Witcher: Blood Origin makes matters even worse. This prequel series is releasing at a time when viewers are already questioning the future of The Witcher, because of the high-profile exit of Henry Cavill. A dedicated fan of Andrej Sapkowski's books, Cavill is believed to have become unhappy because the main series is increasingly deviating from the source material. These changes had already become controversial among the fanbase, but they now seem to have cost The Witcher its star. Netflix has cast Liam Hemsworth in the role, but few believe the recasting will work.

Netflix hoped to build a massive franchise around The Witcher, but those dreams are turning to ash. This ongoing failure is particularly problematic given the streaming giant had hoped The Witcher could fill the gap left by the imminent end of its current biggest franchise, Stranger Things - and it's difficult to believe that will be the case. The Witcher prequel couldn't have released at a worse time, and Netflix will need to figure out how to adjust for this. The Witcher: Blood Origin may well have sealed the franchise's fate, as Netflix look elsewhere for their next big thing.

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