Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra to star in Netflix's The Witcher series

Sharpen your swords, memorize your incantations, and shuffle your Gwent decks, because Netflix has announced that they’ve found their female leads for THE WITCHER, an upcoming TV series based on the acclaimed series of novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. Now set to star alongside Henry Cavill (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT, JUSTICE LEAGUE) for the swords and sorcery adventure are INTO THE BADLANDS actress Freya Allan and WANDERLUST alumna Anya Chalotra as Ciri and Yennefer, respectively.

Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon (better known as Ciri), is the sole princess of Cintra and a carrier of the Elder blood gene. She's also an accomplished swordsman as well as an adept magic user. Yennefer, was a  sorceress who lived in Vengerberg, the capital city of Aedirn. As Geralt of Rivia's (Cavill) true love and mother figure to Ciri, Yennefer is viewed as sort of a lone wolf by her people, after she'd denied them her talents as part of an ongoing battle against her kingdoms oppressors. (via The Witcher Wikia)

Cast alongside the aforementioned stars are Jodhi May (GAME OF THRONES) as Queen Calanthe, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (HOMECOMING) as her husband, the knight Eist, Adam Levy SNATCH, ROME) as the druid Mousesack, MyAnna Buring as the head of the magical academy at Aretuza, Tissaia, Mimi Ndiweni and Therica Wilson-Read as novice sorcerers, and Millie Brady as the outcast Princess Renfri.

Overseeing the show for Netflix is Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, whose previous work involves being a producer on Netflix's DAREDEVIL and THE DEFENDERS. Working alongside Hissrich as part of their executive producing role is Alik Sakharov (GAME OF THRONES, HOUSE OF CARDS).

Recently, Hissrich spoke with The Hollywood Reporter, who broke the news about Allan and Chalotra's casting early Wednesday morning. During their talk, Hissrich spoke about the arduous casting process for the series by saying, "We hired our casting director in June and we've been working really intensely since. We have at this point cast about 50 people total. It really ranged. There were some people who I had in mind from the minute I started writing this character and then there were other characters, Ciri is the perfect example, that takes a really exhaustive search. We ended up seeing over 200 young women from all over Europe and really saw a great group of girls, but then when we met Freya, she read for another role. I actually went to London to meet with her in person and we knew it right away."

Hissrich then gave her take regarding the recent backlash caused by Ciri's casting:

"It boils down to a couple things. One, this property has such a passionate fanbase. I think any leak at all was going to attract this type of attention, and with any attention comes backlash to that attention. I do think that whatever information is trickling out there, there will be people responding positively to it and people responding negatively to it. I think that’s just part of making a television show, and especially a show this big. In terms of why people responded so strongly, I think the fans really have pictures of these characters in their minds and I don’t blame them for that. I get it. When I read my favorite books I certainly imagine characters a certain way. There’s obviously a couple lines of description of Ciri in the books and people become very enamored with their own vision of it. I think coming in as a writer and saying my vision might look different than yours is scary for fans, but truthfully I don’t think it has to be. One of the things I feel most strongly about is people being afraid that we’re going to strip out the cultural context of The Witcher, to remove its Slovak roots, the very thing people in Poland are proud of. That couldn’t be further from the truth. What I’ve always wanted to do is take these Slovak stories and give them a global audience."

When asked if Ciri and Yennerfer will be given a fair amount of screentime alongside Cavill's Geralt, Hissrich responded by assuring THR that, "Yeah, what’s interesting is the first couple books are told from Geralt’s perspective and when I was reading them I saw that there are all these other characters who are very strong and powerful; not just the women, by the way. They can be pulled to the forefront so it doesn’t always feel like just Geralt’s journey, because the journey of one man is never going to be very interesting. It’s only going to be as interesting as the people he interacts with. That’s why these characters are rising in prominence in the series."

For more regarding the casting and direction of Netflix's THE WITCHER series, you can read THR's full interview here.

Meanwhile, production for THE WITCHER is expected to kick into high gear quite soon. Are you excited for this series? Which is your favorite in the popular fantasy action video game series based on the franchise? Personally, I think The Witcher: Wild Hunt is the business. I've had so many fun adventures while playing that game, and I hope to see more than a few story lines from that installment appear in the upcoming series. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.



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