If ever there was a time to show twisted, magical monsters straight out of the imagination of authors like Andrzej Sapkowski, it's now, when the capabilities of animation and computer generated effects are greater than they have ever been. Sapkowski's novel series centres on the adventures of a monster hunter who often finds himself in the caught up in the middle of a lot of politicking and complex issues. The upcoming Netflix adaptation, The Witcher, promises to be a well-funded, carefully crafted story full of bewitching beauty, culture, moral quandaries and of course, savage monsters from other worlds.
While many currently know that world and its characters from the critically-acclaimed video game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, the showrunner, has made it clear that the upcoming show will be faithful to the novels on which they are based and that might just mean that we won't be seeing as many monsters as some may have hoped. Of course, maybe we're wrong and they'll throw a couple of extra monsters in there to keep things exciting. If that's the case, then we'd like to see these 20 monsters turn up, many of which were created specifically for CD Projekt Red's hit video game. Wouldn't that be something if fans saw their favorite beasts adapted?
20 HIGHER VAMPIRES
The Continent of The Witcher is full of monsters possessing varying degrees of intelligence and none are more intelligent than the immortal higher vampires. These beasts are capable of a wide array of magic and feats as gamers could see in the game's second expansion, "Blood and Wine" and the two higher vampires, Dettlaff and Regis, the latter of which actually appears in the novel series.
That's actually why it's likely the show will actually feature these monsters for at least an episode or two. Just as he does in the expansion, Regis plays quite an important role in Geralt's story throughout the novels. If the series is faithful to the lore, it's doubtful that we'll be seeing any huge higher vampire fights since they're virtually indestructible.
Trolls are some of the goofier and lighthearted monsters gamers will come across in Wild Hunt. They're big, dumb and completely armored with their hides of stone or ice. They're not quite as animalistic as other monsters and are capable of living alongside human civilization, despite the fact that some developed a taste for human flesh, as shown in the game.
Although trolls don't ever appear in the novels, they are mentioned here and there, which means it's possible for the show to include them somehow. If they're anything like the video game trolls, it'd be nice to see them appear if the scene doesn't focus on them for too long.
Quite a few of the short stories in Sapkowski's novels draw inspiration from classic fairytales as well as Polish mythology. Werewolves, as classic monsters, are bound to appear. They do multiple times in the video games and in the novels too. As vivid a picture as Sapkowski gives us, their depiction in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would serve as a great basis for the show.
Werewolves are rare enough in cinema and television and when they do appear, they're usually laughable in one way or another. If Netflix's The Witcher can present audiences with at least one werewolf story as tragic or exciting as those in the game, they'll have created something truly unique.
The first time we see a Sylvan in the novels is in The Last Wish, in which Geralt tries to rid a small village of a monster they describe as a devil. It turns out that the devilish creature was a sylvan named Torque, who was little more than a nuisance before he began to discreetly help a group of elves. Already that says a lot about sylvans and how the Netflix series would benefit from adapting such a monster.
It's already there in the novels, which is a large enough reason to show the creature. These creatures are also fantastic symbols for greed and selflessness, charity and misconceptions, which are just a few themes Geralt's adventures often explore. The first season of the show is just a few episodes long so not everything can be adapted, but it would be a shame of the sylvan ended up getting cut.
The game and the novels don't often shy away from exploring the complexities of the human condition in all its aspects, including the more intimate habits and desires of people. A great example of that are the often crimson-colored, goat-legged, beautiful creatures known as Succubi.
They are somewhat odd creatures in the game as you can never really tell if they're dangerous or not. They seem harmless enough -- interested in just one thing and one thing only -- and yet they're surrounded by madness and the occasional passing of an exhausted lover. They are each an interesting story, one that the Netflix series would do very well in showing. Succubi may not be such difficult monsters to include since Regis is known in the novels to have been with one or two.
Gamers will remember the first real monster they fought in The Witcher 3: the Royal Griffin. After a long hunt during which Geralt was required to use his superhuman senses and monster-hunting experience, he fought the griffin in a field after luring the beast out with a wooden sheep and some buckthorn. It was a memorable experience and one that elegantly showed everyone what it is a witcher does.
Even if the upcoming series uses some other beast to convey the essentials of Geralt's profession, adding a griffin would be a great addition to the show. Nevermind that it would remind a large portion of its audience about a great sequence, it's also a mythical beast that is rarely depicted in live-action cinema and television. It's unique and fun, which is reason enough for a lot of people.
Some of the monsters in Geralt's world weren't born that way. Some are victims or curses and some become monsters in times of need. The vildkaarls of the Skellige Isles ingest a special concoction in the heat of battle in order to transform into ferocious grizzly bears. These berserkers are legendary but rarely seen in action.
Geralt spends quite some time in Skellige in the novels, which isn't to say that the inclusion of berserkers are necessary, but a brief demonstration or inclusion of some sort would no doubt satisfy some fans of the Skellige. It could be argued that the beasts would help define the skelligers of the isles. They are a people who embrace wilderness in all its forms, only keeping it on a leash.
There will not, nor should there be any rubbing of lamps for this monster. Djinns grant wishes but they are notoriously dangerous, as readers were shown in the final pages of The Last Wish. They will seek any opportunity to indirectly cause their masters harm or simply wreak havoc.
A djinn appears once again in The Witcher 3 and it seemed to take all of Yennefer's strength to contain the beast. Keep in mind that Yennefer is an extremely powerful and experienced sorceress. If the series is to adapt the events of the novels, it's very likely that we'll be seeing a djinn. How the series will depict the creature is anyone's guess. What's certain is that it will be interesting to see.
Judging from the amount of times gamers would run into these creatures, it would seem the people of The Continent are all in dire need of swimming lessons or diving equipment. These eerie, aquatic creatures lurk around bodies of flowing water, waiting to pull unsuspecting victims to their doom.
They are mentioned in the novels and it would make sense for the creatures to appear in the series as examples of uncertainties. These monster may be undead or simply, as some suspect, post-conjunction creatures left behind when worlds collided. Admittedly, that's far from a solid reason. For the most part, drowners would only supply some simple and fun sequences.
When people think of monsters, there are many who tend to think of large, grotesque, insectoid beasts. That's exactly what kikimoras are. The first time one appears in the The Last Wish, the beast is slain and on the verge of being delivered to the alderman of Blaviken, Caldemeyn, from whom Geralt had hoped to receive payment for vanquishing the beast.
It's described as being somewhat arachnoid, with black skin and sharp fangs. It's a true monster and one juxtaposed with the story of Renfri, whose story we'll almost certainly see adapted in the the upcoming series. Whether or not the kikimora appears is up to the show's writers and their dedication to providing an incredibly faithful adaptation. There's value in the appearance, make no mistake.
What's convenient about dopplers (or shifters) is the fact that in the context of creating a television show, they're easy to incorporate. These shapeshifting creatures can take on the form of anyone they desire and are so adept at it that even the Witcher's amulet, which quivers in the presence of magic, doesn't react. Geralt has known quite a few of these beings.
In the game, we meet a couple of dopplers and none more prominent a character than Dudu, who is introduced to us in the second novel (chronologically), Sword of Destiny. Dudu's encounter with Geralt leads the witcher to question his own profession and character, which is something the show would do well to include if it's to capture the spirit of the novels. Doppler are fun, but they also offer great storytelling avenues.
There's little doubt that as time goes on, Netflix's adaptation will offer a multitude of unearthly moments filled with sinister monsters. There are plenty of monsters that would fit in perfectly with that sort of atmosphere and only a few more suited than foglets, which can take on the form of mist.
There's mention of these creatures in the books but the show, much like the video game, would benefit from actually depicting these creatures for a frightening sequence or two in the middle of the woods. Foglets would be a great choice for Netflix's The Witcher to include. Not only would they help to create atmosphere, they're a perfect way of showing how dangerous The Continent can be for travellers unprepared for the monsters that lurk about.
These monsters are the embodiment of a wrathful forest in the video game. They're walking beings of wood and pelts. Theses spirits have control of the flora and fauna around them, which is how they are often able to exact a tribute from the villagers surrounding their territory. We can gather that much from the events of Wild Hunt.
The novels don't offer more than a mention but the games prove that there's an opportunity there. There's an opportunity to use leshens as symbols of the forces of nature or unseen symbiotic bonds. If not that then at least the game's design can provide the series with inspiration for something truly haunting and horrifying.
These creatures are among the many that seem to only make full appearances in the games. Fiends can only be described as demonic elk or deer. They have an sharp, extensive set of antlers, long, sharp claws, jagged teeth and three glowing eyes. Victims of the fiend are drawn into a trance by the monster's hypnotic third eye.
It's difficult to argue the worth of the fiend when it comes to the overall plot of Netflix's upcoming series, but there are plenty of gamers who would want to see this beast recreated for a live-action depiction. It encapsulates everything a monster should be, which is why it was so thrilling to fight in the game and why it would provide a thoroughly entertaining experience if it were to appear in the series.
Here's another that only appeared as a corpse in the novel series. A basilisk appears in Sword of Destiny in the short story, "The Bounds of Reason," carried out for the peasants of a town to see as well as Three Jackdaws. If you need an idea of what a basilisk looks like, look no further than Wild Hunt. CD Projekt Red seem to have stayed quite faithful to the descriptions given by Sapkowski.
The meeting between Geralt and Three Jackdaws is fairly important to Geralt's story, which gives the basilisk a good chance of turning up in the series. Hopefully the series will differ from the novels and actually show us the struggle between the witcher and the scaly, winged beast.
The novels make it clear that dragons are exceptionally rare monsters. So much so that many believe they don't exist. That changes in the short story "The Bounds of Reason" when Geralt, Yennefer, Dandelion and a host of nobility, sorcerers and bounty hunters answer a call to hunt a dragon. After much debate, the argument is settled when the legion encounters a powerful golden dragon.
There's much more to that story, but we will not spoil it for you here. Suffice to say that the inclusion of a dragon is almost absolute certainty. Hopefully the show will be able to present a dragon worthy of the story with decent special effects and a voice acting. That's more important now given that the only other TV show to feature dragons has won numerous awards for the quality of its visual effects.
Those who have played through The Witcher 3 will know that -- due to its very nature -- this one may prove to be quite a difficult monster to adapt. Botchlings are the undead infants that never saw life. It's something the games handle with affection and elegance, resulting in a powerful and memorable storyline in which the witcher plays a supporting role, which suits the character perfectly as he is depicted in the books.
If the series is able to handle a monster like a botchling, audiences will know that the series will be able to contend with other fantasy shows that focus on emotional depth and drama as opposed to flashy effects and fast-paced action, which just isn't what the Witcher is about.
Far more common than dragons are wyverns, the smaller two-legged, fire-breathing draconids that appear more than a few times in the game. They're vicious little reptiles that shouldn't be handled by anyone but the most experienced and well-trained witchers, which is actually why including one in the show would be almost essential.
There's a moment in the novel, Time of Contempt, in which Ciri sees one in a circus as it violently escape from its cage. She's able to eliminate the creature and is seen doing it, eventually causing Yennefer and Geralt to adopt a more cautious approach to Ciri's training and her use of magic. Eventually the show will have to adapt this storyline. There are plenty of ways to convey the same thing, but doing it with wyvern should keep things simpler from a storytelling perspective and make some of the fans happy.
These formidable vampires are gifted with immortality and powerful screams capable of annihilating their foes. They appear in the video game expansion pack, "Blood and Wine" several times and are every bit as challenging an opponent as the books describe them to be. The Last Wish featured a bruxa and her lover, Nivellen in a story that drew inspiration from the classic fairytale, Beauty and the Beast.
There are so many ways in which the live-action series could use these creatures and not a single one of them would limit them to being simple monsters used for action filler. When the show runs out of indestructible higher vampires for its stories, it can always turn to the slightly less powerful bruxae for poignant ends to stories.
1 THE WILD HUNT
We don't expect to see these legendary riders until future seasons, when the show adapts the events of The Lady of the Lake, in which Eredin, leader of the Wild Hunt, begins his pursuit of Ciri and the powerful Elder Blood that flows through her veins. The riders don't have as much of a focus in the novels as they do in the game but that doesn't mean Netflix's The Witcher has any less reason to include them as they are.
The Wild Hunt help to offer insight into the worlds of the other races, namely the Aen Elle elves, which are often seen as being superior to the Aen Seidhe that inhabit The Continent. We can only hope that when the time comes for Eredin and the Wild Hunt to appear, the series will do them justice.