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Fans Are Upset Over The Witcher: Blood Origin Straying From The Source Material

Old-school fans of "The Witcher" books and video games have been meticulously picking apart the Netflix adaptation since the series was still in pre-production. So it should come as no surprise that the recent news of Henry Cavill's departure from the show led to hundreds of thousands of voices suddenly crying out in rage on the internet. Some are so upset that they're collecting signatures for a petition to force Netflix to keep Cavill and instead fire the writers, regurgitating conspiracy theories that Cavill's departure is because he, like they, hates how the writers are deviating from the source material (as opposed to more logical explanations, like a bigger paycheck from DC and a lesser likelihood of getting debilitating injuries from grueling production schedules).

And now these raucous fans are extending their tenuous parasocial relationship with "The Witcher" series to the upcoming prequel spinoff "The Witcher: Blood Origin." The basic premise of the plot will revolve around a rag-tag group of exiles creating the very first witcher and bringing about the Conjunction of the Spheres, a cataclysmic magical event that combined the worlds of men, elves, other races, and monsters across multiple planes of existence. There's barely any source material to go on, but that hasn't stopped angry fans from preemptively denouncing the miniseries for potentially committing the unforgivable sin of — wait for it — deviating from the source material.

Angry fans are prematurely declaring the series a failure weeks before its debut

Aside from lucky members of the entertainment news media, nobody will have a chance to watch "The Witcher: Blood Origin" until its December 25 debut. But that hasn't stopped viewers on social media from insisting that it will be dead on arrival. People like @hubertlepicki are at a loss for words, insisting that Netflix has "good source material, in [sic] form of the books. You can do only worse by inserting your 'creativity' into it. Should have done literal adaptation, as much as possible, you'd end up with a decent show." Redditor u/ThatPunkGaryOak82 also takes issue with the writers doing their jobs and inserting their creativity into a script they've been paid to write, accusing them of "shoehorn[ing] in these awful fan fictions that...often suck & feel generic."

On Twitter, @SoftForHenry replied to Netflix's teaser trailer tweet with a quote tweet of Cavill's departure announcement, highlighting that it was the end for her, and she wouldn't even be giving "Blood Origin" a chance. On Reddit, u/happyfestivusgeorgie is predicting that the show will be canceled after one season, which is uncannily prophetic, given that show creator Declan de Barra has already gone on record explaining that the show was designed to be only one season with a limited number of episodes.

Is it 'deviating from the source material' if there's so little source material to go on?

So why are fans of the "Witcher" novels like @thejtate and @ThatAccumulator so upset about Netflix deviating from the source material when, as de Barra (via Entertainment Weekly) and Redditors like u/eviade have pointed out, there's so little source material to go on? Presumably, because the showrunners could take fleshed-out stories from the books which haven't yet been explored in a live-action format, plagiarize Andrzej Sapkowski's prose and dialogue to fill in the script, and then bring the stories to life by having paid actors in fantasy costumes act it out. Some fans are so loyal to their beloved canon that they feel this is the only acceptable way to bring a story to life. And using a few vague prompts of lore to flesh out a whole new (and potentially exciting) story is too blasphemous to be considered acceptable. 

So far, we do know of a least one detail that goes against the source. According to internet consensus, the Conjunction happened 1,500 years ago, but de Barra stated in the interview mentioned above that in "Blood Origin," the story will be taking place 1,200 years before the events of the main series. Other than that, he has a ton of room to create something that's either truly unique or truly terrible. Whether or not he succeeds or fails, one thing is for sure: at least 200,000 people won't be happy about it.