When casting was announced for Netflix's upcoming adaptation of The Witcher, some of the decisions made were met with backlash from both ardent video game fans and dedicated readers. When the casting call was announced, some fans took issue with the description of the character concerning race. Now, having seen the actors in costume, the fandom is split, with some gamers complaining that actress Freya Allan is too young, while some readers complain that she's too old.
Showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich was aware of the risk. In fact, she took a hiatus from Twitter early on because of them. Now, after remaining silent on the matter, Hissrich has finally responded. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hissrich was asked about the controversy. She acknowledged the creative risk attached to any adaptation.
"I think that anytime you’re doing casting and you’re casting something that has a lot of existing fans you’re going to get a lot of opinions about whether it matches fans' vision," said Hissrich, adding, "This franchise has millions of fans. We knew we weren’t going to make everyone happy."
Despite the backlash, Hissrich is confident in the decision to cast Freya Allan, regardless of whatever reason certain fans have to dismiss her. "When we found Freya we made her an offer that day. She’s incredibly special." She then described the kind of qualities Allan brings to the role: "She’s young, yet has the soul and maturity of somebody much older. [...] When Freya is in a scene with Henry they really rival each other."
What fans need to keep in mind is that the upcoming Netflix series is an adaptation of the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski and not the video games, which essentially created a world of their own, faithful as they may be to the lore of the novels. When it comes to age: In the novels, Ciri is a young girl. When she first encounters Geralt, she's just entering her teenage years and she matures throughout the course of six books. Considering the fact that the series will likely have to condense much of the overarching story, it makes sense to cast someone like Freya Allan, with regards to age.
The Witcher stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg, Freya Allan as Ciri and Joey Batey as Jaskier. The series will be available to stream this fall.