As streamers continue to carve out their niches for specialized content, Netflix has established a firm foothold in original anime production of both established and original IP. On Tuesday morning, the platform outlined a group of exciting upcoming titles, headlined by the hugely anticipated “The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf” animated spinoff, in a pre-recorded Studio Focus panel, streamed as part of the Annecy Film Festival.
In “The Witcher,” one of Netflix’s most popular original series to date, Henry Cavill plays Geralt of Rivera, the outcast monster hunter who is loathed by most he comes across and willing to do dangerous and unsavory work for pay, earning himself a guarded admiration from some he’s helped. But, before Geralt came Vesemir, a headstrong young witcher who relishes his job and the earthly benefits he reaps in doing what others can’t or won’t. Seemingly unshakable, Vesemir will face a crisis of conscious when a new power threatens the Continent, forcing him to reevaluate why he does the work he does.
Lauren Schmidt Hissrich (“Defenders,” “Daredevil”), creator, showrunner and executive producer of Netflix’s live action “The Witcher” series, will also showrun and co-executive produce its animated spinoff with Kwang Il Han (“The Boondocks,” “The Last Airbender”) in the directors’ chair. Original series writer Beau DeMayo penned the scripts and Korean company Studio Mir is handling animation production.
Specific plot details were limited during the presentation, but Hissrich, DeMayo and Il Han did discuss their more general narrative ambitions for the show, as well as the influences that are shaping the look and feel of “Nightmare of the Wolf.”
“There are things I wanted to know about, what it takes to become a witcher, how Geralt became a witcher, where his journey started and who was important to him,” Hissrich explained of her ambitions for the show.
While season two of “The Witcher” live action will focus heavily on Geralt the father figure and Ciri the child, Hissrich was left wondering about what kind of father figure Geralt had when he was developing and wanted to know more about Vesemir. And although Vesemir’s will appear in season two of the live action series, she said the upcoming anime offered them an opportunity to show how Vesemir’s past affects the world of The Continent in the live action show.
“Families are multi-generational. The things I teach my children, I learned from the generation ahead of me. When we meet Geralt in ‘The Witcher’ he is a full adult, he’s 100 years old and he’s been living on his own for a very long time. But you can’t help wondering how he learned the things he practices regularly and is going to teach Ciri,” Hissrich explained.
In “The Witcher,” it’s known that magic was part of creating the witchers in the first place, but that now mages and witchers don’t get along. “Nightmare of the Wolf” will go a long way to exploring how that relationship, which began as a collaboration, became poisoned over time.
“It’s gonna give fans that are familiar with the series a totally unique experience that I hope makes them feel like they’re coming to ‘The Witcher’ for the first time again,” said DeMayo when asked about his ultimate hopes for the animated series. “I’m also just excited for the fans to see the action. It’s pretty awesome.”
Finally, Il Han explained his own influences and vision for the series and gave a brief look at several landscape concept art stills. Broad and vibrant, the hand painted shots featured a highly detailed castle, shots of a medieval town center and an ominous looking crystalline dungeon.
Mark Millar and Leinil Yu’s original graphic novel “Super Crooks” will be adapted as a Netflix Original, headed by Motonobu Hori, who previously directed “Carole & Tuesday” and was an animator on several classic features including “Spirited Away” and “Metropolis.” Tokyo studio Bones (“My Hero Academia,” “Mob Psycho 100”) will handle animation production. In the series, two-bit criminal Johnny Bolt assembles a crack team of the world’s greatest criminals for one final super-powered heist.
Netflix has commissioned the all-women mangaka-team Clamp and production outfit WIT Studio to develop and produce a new series based on the classic Grimm’s fairy tales, with the former handling character design and the later animation production. The new series proposes a modern twist on the well-established fables by adding horror and suspense elements to heighten the stories’ impact.
Another manga adaptation, Mari Yamazaki’s “Thermae Romae Novae” will get the series treatment at Netflix as well, directed by Tetsuya Tatamitani and adapted by screenwriter Yuichiro Momose (“So I’m a Spider, So What?”), who previously teamed on the workplace comedy satire “Africa no Salaryman.” Japanese studio Naz will handle animation production.
Kicking off at the height of the Roman Empire, “Thermae Romae Novae” is a time-traveling comedy which follows Roman bath designer Lucius who is unwittingly thrust through time to modern day Japan, where he capitalizes on his unique situation by… studying 21st century Japanese bath culture.