Netflix’s ‘Witcher’ Universe In Trouble As Bad ‘Blood Origin’ Reviews Come In


What once seemed like it could be a huge hit that would create a series that may even rival Game of Thrones for Netflix, The Witcher now seems to be in quite a bit of trouble, the more time goes on.

With the arrival of The Witcher: Blood Origin reviews this week, it’s easy to see the problems the series faces outside of its initial promising first season and solid animated prequel. Here’s what’s going on:

  • Henry Cavill is leaving The Witcher after season 3. While many speculated that it was because he was returning to play Superman at DC, that’s not even for certain now. He’s being replaced by Liam Hemsworth after season 3.
  • Rather, there were rumors that Cavill may have sparred with the writers of the show who were reported to “actively dislike” the original books and video games, something Cavill was deeply passionate about, and it remains odd that he would be so thrilled about a role only to drop it and leave the story to be finished by another actor. The showrunner has pushed back on the claims about the writers not liking the source material, though significant changes from the books have been made.
  • The Witcher season 2 was just not as nearly well-received by fans as the first season, with audience scores dropping from 90% from season 1 to 59% for season 2. Some of this was due to source material changes but overall it just felt more forgettable and like less of an event than season 1.

Now, this week, Netflix’s idea to expand The Witcher into an addition live action series with the ultra-prequel Blood Origin does not seem to have worked out well. Despite attracting talent like Michelle Yeoh for the show, Blood Origin is currently reviewing quite poorly with just a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, far, far lower than either of the previous two Witcher seasons. Fans have not yet weighed on in the series, which will not air until Christmas, but these early reviews are problematic. Here’s a sample from Total Film:

“In a year filled with great fantasy – House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power among them – this ultimately ranks near the bottom.”

And Paste:

“Blood Origin does not stand very well on its own or as part of the expanding franchise, managing to focus on some of the least interesting aspects of one of The Witcher’s most fascinating pieces of lore.”


Now, we have one more season of the show with Henry Cavill on board, then he’ll be replaced. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of recasting news that’s been worse received than this, as even critics of the show agreed that Henry Cavill was the key to making it work as Geralt, and no offense to Liam Hemsworth, it simply will not be the same show when he leaves. And it was already trending in a less than positive direction with season 2.

My question now is in this age of cost-cutting if The Witcher continues to decline, if Netflix will even end up finishing all five books. The idea of continuing to expand the universe may now be dead of Blood Origin is badly received, and what once seemed like the birth of a huge fantasy universe on Netflix seems to be rapidly shrinking in quality and scope instead.

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