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The Witcher Anime Film Release Date, Characters And Plot

Get ready to toss some more coin to Netflix. The streamer announced that it's officially expanding Lauren Schmidt Hissrich's television adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher universe with an upcoming anime film.  

The standalone movie will be titled The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf and comes on the heels of Netflix declaring the dark fantasy drama its most-watched series ever. While that data might be a little unreliable in light of how Netflix defines "watched" (it counts a "view" as someone watching at least 70 percent of a movie or an episode of a show), season 1 made it clear there's an audience hungry for more Geralt, monsters, and magic to justify doing more with The Witcher. It's also not the first time the streamer has done expansions of its series, including the Marco Polo tie-in featurette Hundred Eyes and the Black Mirror interactive film Bandersnatch

The Witcher fan site Redanian Intelligence shared the first credible news about the upcoming animated production after posting a Writers Guild of America West project listing for The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. In a later report, io9 confirmed that Netflix is developing Nightmare of the Wolf, further revealing that it would an anime standalone set somewhere on the Continent.

Hissrich and The Witcher season 1 writer Beau DeMayo — who wrote the third episode, "Betrayer Moon" — will oversee Nightmare of the Wolf. Studio Mir – the Korean company behind Nickelodeon's The Legend of Korra and Netflix's Voltron: Legendary Defender — will handle the production's animation. 

If you're eager to return to the Continent and Geralt's adventures (bathtub or otherwise), here's everything we know about The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. 

What's the release date for The Witcher anime film?

Fans already have a release date for The Witcher season 2, with the next set of Hissrich-helmed episodes set to debut sometime in 2021. But it's more than a year away (from the time of this writing, at least) and for those keen to sink their swords back into the Henry Cavill-led high-fantasy, the wait might be too long to bear. 

That leaves everyone to anticipate the "few more interesting surprises between seasons" that The Witcher executive producer Tomek Baginski teased in an interview with Polish news site Telewizja wPolsce (via Redanian Intelligence). It appears that The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is one of those goodies — but while the io9 report confirmed a handful of details about the upcoming movie, an official release date was not one of them. 

That doesn't mean fans are completely in the dark about when they might be able to see the anticipated project, however. Unlike live-action films or TV episodes — which can be written, filmed and released in months — animated series and films require more time. For instance, A typical Dreamworks animated movie can take anywhere from three to five years to complete. So while we don't have a release date or a runtime for the Witcher anime film, we do know, thanks to that WGA posting, that the production's wheels were beginning to turn in October 2019.

It also helps that Studio Mir has worked on two major animated TV series that required a quick grind. Keeping all of this in mind, along with the fact that The Witcher's first season was released in December 2019, it's possible fans might see the anime movie as early as the very end of 2020 or the start of 2021 — the halfway point between the first and second seasons of the series. 

What's the plot of Netflix's Witcher anime film?

Several sites have reported rumors of an animated Witcher project for months. That includes IGN Poland, which got the show's executive producer and BAFTA Award-winning animator Tomek Bagiński to hint at the possibility of seeing an animated White Wolf only a few weeks before The Witcher's first season dropped. But it wasn't until Redanian Intelligence broadcast the WGA listing that Netflix officially confirmed it was turning its series into a valley of plentiful content. "The rumors are true, a new Witcher story is in the works!" Netflix's geek-centric account, NXOnNetflix, tweeted on January 22, 2020.

In the post, Netflix not only confirmed the film's title and the creative team attached to the project, but also what the story will focus on. "The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf will take us back to a new threat facing the Continent," the account wrote. 

At the time, io9 confirmed that the plot of the anime will expand upon the Netflix series' universe, and thanks to a newly shared synopsis, we now know the film will serve as a prequel to the live-action Witcher show. It will also center around Geralt's long-time mentor, Vesemir (via Eurogamer). The description reads, "Long before mentoring Geralt, Vesemir begins his own journey as a witcher after the mysterious Deglan claims him through the Law of Surprise."

This means it will be Vesemir facing the threat Netflix teased, a danger that existed long before Geralt entered the continental scene. The description seems to signal that despite being Geralt's mentor being aged in the main timeline, he may be younger for the sake of this film. Because the focus will be off Geralt and his crew in Nightmare of the Wolf, the story may also choose to spend time delving more deeply into the lore and history behind the witchers.

Who are the characters in Netflix's Witcher anime film?

With the release of a more detailed plot description, fans finally know who the film's title character will be, and it's one fans haven't seen yet on the Netflix series.

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf follows Vesemir, the oldest living witcher in existence and the very person who trained Geralt. The character takes up residence and teaches at the School of the Wolf, the witcher training academy inside the castle Kaer Morhen. Fanatical villagers who feared and distrusted witchers breached the keep and attacked the castle, killing most of the teachers and witchers-in-training who resided there many years earlier. Vesemir survived and later became the school's second in command before Geralt's sorceress mother handed him over to be trained as a witcher.

No voice-casting news has broke as of January 2020, and there's still almost nothing reported about any other characters that may appear in Nightmare of the Wolf. But for those wanting Witcher leads Henry Cavill and Anya Chalotra reprise their roles of Geralt and Yennefer, those hopes are pretty much dead for the time being. Freya Allen's character Ciri, however, is almost certainly out due to where the prequel sits in The Witcher's greater timeline. 

Furthermore, production on The Witcher's second season begins in early 2020, meaning both Cavill and Chalotra could be tied up for several months. An intensive filming schedule may very well limit any appearance in The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf to guest spots. Even if the team can't get the two live-action stars' schedules in sync, focusing on building out the on-screen lore of the witchers with new characters should prove just as interesting.