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Why The Witcher: Blood Origin Only Has 4 Episodes

"The Witcher: Blood Origin" has a fascinating origin story in its own right. According to Entertainment Weekly, show creator Declan de Barra scribbled out his initial story ideas on a restaurant napkin after getting an exciting call from the powers that be at Netflix asking him to work on a prequel for "The Witcher" series. "I was like, 'F*** yeah!' and then literally sat in a café and scribbled it down on a napkin," he told the magazine, noting how few Hollywood projects have such quaint and humble beginnings.

Now, with that fun little nugget of trivia, it may be easier to understand how and why this spinoff puts the "mini" in "miniseries." It's only four episodes long, and they will all premiere just in time for Christmas. But it isn't a shorter series just because de Barra was limited to how much content he could fit onto a cafe napkin. "Blood Origin" has a particular purpose, and that purpose lends itself well to a one-season, limited-episode adventure.

Blood Origin was meant to be easily consumable

According to a recent interview with Total Film, de Barra explained that "[The Witcher: Blood Origin"] was designed to be a self-contained tasty sandwich of a fantasy story" and that "I love when a show finishes and you go, 'Holy f***, it's over! How did that happen?'" (via Games Radar). De Barra will also be an executive producer on the series alongside Lauren Schmidt Hissrich.

Will fans be okay with accepting a sandwich, though, if it doesn't fill their bellies? After all, the unique premise is almost entirely a creation of de Barra, Netflix, and the other writers in the room. De Barra said in a 2021 interview that the source material for "The Witcher" universe was very vague about the creation of Witchers and the Conjunction of the Spheres, so this is new territory for even the most lore-literate fans. And de Barra admits that — even though the story is self-contained — "there are characters and storylines in this that can sprawl off in a million different ways," leaving ample room for spinoffs.

It's not uncommon for studios to turn a self-contained story into something more if there's an opportunity to squeeze more profit out of it. Then again, if the series bombs, they have the perfect excuse to quit while they're ahead. Only time will tell whether or not this entertainment snack will be well-received by audiences and converted into a bevy of brand-new "Witcher" canon.