Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Sneaky Visual Effects You Likely Didn't Notice In The Witcher

Many components come together seamlessly to make Netflix's hit fantasy series "The Witcher" work. Adapted from the successful book series written by Andrzej Sapkowski, the series follows the titular character Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) as he journeys to rid the Continent of monsters. Encountering a plethora of characters who wield magic as well as the countless ghouls that he dispatches, there are many opportunities to utilize special effects. The world that Geralt lives in is fantastical, and a smattering of practical as well as CGI effects are used to bring it to life.

Complicated practical effects pieces, such as the prosthetics used to create Yennefer's (Anya Chalotra) pre-transformation look, are utilized to make her appearance feel more realistic (via CinemaBlend), but sometimes CGI is required. Some special effects done in post-production are obvious, such as with Duny (Bart Edwards), Ciri's (Freya Allan) father, who at one point takes the form of a hedgehog man. But other instances when special effects are used might completely go over the viewers' heads. In the case of one scene from Season 1, a surprising element was computer-generated.

VFX was needed for one heartbreaking death

Bloody battles and creepy monsters in "The Witcher" are common CGI fare. But one shocking moment also created with CGI is in Season 1, Episode 4, "Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials." After Yennefer fails to save the queen of Aedirn and her baby daughter from an assassin, she is stricken with grief. Yennefer's grief doesn't pertain to the queen, who was entirely willing to give up her baby if it meant that she would live. Instead, the sorceress is distraught when she can't revive the baby girl from the unwarranted death. Yennefer spends most of her life closing herself off, but this is one moment that strikes her to her core. Though the emotions of the scene are real, the image of Yennefer burying the child is not.

While taking part in a panel at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, "The Witcher" showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich revealed the secrets behind the scene. "This is the first time I've seen that clip without the VFX slug across it that read 'Make baby dead,'" Hissrich explained, describing how the scene looked before the CGI was added. "For months now, it said, 'Make baby dead.' It's just really nice to see it with a dead baby" (via CinemaBlend). With the amount of violence that the child suffers, it stands to reason that the image would be CGI. While Yennefer grabs the baby and vaults herself through an open portal, attempting to save the child, she is unsuccessful. This moment is especially significant for Yennefer, who realizes that she wants more to life than just power and prestige.