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The Part Of The Witcher Fans Can't Believe Wasn't CGI

"The Witcher" has become one of the biggest hits on Netflix, and it rose in popularity partially due to its excellent use of practical effects. 

While building the world of "The Witcher," showrunner Lauren Hissrich wanted the series to focus on using prosthetics and other non-CGI options to create as realistic a world as possible. The team strove to avoid overly using CGI effects and created a surprising number of monsters and environments through practical means. Of course, there is CGI used throughout the show — mainly used to bring these massive environments to life — but the production made a point to use real-life settings to make the Continent feel as authentic as possible (via Redanian Intelligence). Barrie Gower, the prosthetics designer for "The Witcher" Season 2, has explained that many of these effects take weeks upon weeks for the South London studio to complete (via The Witcher Netflix), but the results truly do pay off. 

For instance, one Season 1 character, whom many fans naturally assumed was made entirely from CGI effects, was actually a practical creation.

Duny's hedgehog head was all practical effects

"The Witcher" Season 1, Episode 4, features one of the most famous — and impactful — storylines in all of the series. The episode sees Geralt accompanying Jaskier to a royal ball in Cintra designed around finding a husband for the princess Pavetta. Queen Calanthe wants her daughter to marry a drunken prince to gain political power, but before Pavetta joins the prince, a young knight with the head of a hedgehog steps in to ask for her hand in marriage. The knight, Duny, has a legitimate claim to Pavetta through a confusing contract known as the Law of Surprise. The princess reveals she is in love with Duny, whose head results from a curse that lifts afterward. 

Here's the surprising part: Duny's hedgehog head is made through practical effects, and it's an incredible artistic achievement. While it's not clear how long the process took, it stands to reason that actor Bart Edwards did a lot of sitting while the makeup department got him ready for his scene. The team not only hand-crafted every quill individually, but also created a mold for the actor and turned the mold into wearable prosthetics. Edwards brought attention to the fantastic practical effects after posting the video to his Instagram.

The knight's hedgehog head is just one example of the incredible work the prosthetic team of "The Witcher" put into bringing these characters to life. Even complex characters like Nivellen were a fantastic blend of prosthetics and CGI (via Netflix Geeked).

Fan reactions to Duny's prosthetics

The original Reddit post revealing that Duny's hedgehog head was all prosthetics blew the minds of many fans of "The Witcher." Most had thought that the knight's head was entirely CGI, so the revelation of it being practical effects left fans in disbelief. As u/Druidik stated, "This was the coolest makeup job that I've seen in recent years in any movie. I for sure thought it was mainly CGI, but that doesn't seem to be the case at all. Insane props to the makeup team." 

Others agreed with the statement, including their surprise to learn that the teeth were the only non-practical effects used on the character. Another fan, u/Aine_Summer, focused on the team's attention to detail while crafting the prosthetics, saying, "The level of detail is AMAZING." Users also used the thread to praise the show for not overly using CGI.

"The Witcher" truly has gone to great lengths to ensure characters really look like their counterparts in the books, and Duny is an excellent example.