“Nightmare Of The Wolf” 1st Trailer Review

The Witcher franchise has already expanded from page to live-action to video games – animation is a logical next step, and anime specifically provides an excellent medium in which to tell a number of stories from The Continent that are abundant with the same kind of visceral action and chilling horror that made Netflix’s dark supernatural anime series Castlevania hugely successful. Nightmare Of The Wolf, a feature-length film produced by Netflix Animation in collaboration with Studio Mir, will be the franchise’s first foray into 2D anime, exploring the backstory of one of the greatest Witchers of all time: Vesemir.

Nightmare Of The Wolf
Nightmare Of The Wolf | theverge.com

One of the most instantly recognizable characters from The Witcher thanks to his prominent role in the CD Projekt Red video games based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s original novels and short stories, Vesemir has a lot of backstory that could be covered in this film – but Nightmare Of The Wolf‘s exceedingly brief teaser trailer, released today, barely gives us a clue as to what’s going on, or what the infamous Witcher’s character arc will be. Hell, we don’t even get a full face-reveal: which is doubly perplexing because the trailer for The Witcher‘s second season, which will feature live-action Vesemir as an old man, is also hiding the character’s face for some reason. We know what he looks like, Netflix!

Because Nightmare Of The Wolf premieres on August 23rd, just a little over a month away, we’ll have already met animated Vesemir by the time we catch up with him in The Witcher proper – so it’s possible the live-action series will include references and callbacks to events in the film, making this an important next stop for Witcher fans who want all the details about who Vesemir is, where he comes from, what his motivations are, and of course, what monsters he’s battled and slain during his journeys. Let’s do some speculating, shall we?

I’m not kidding when I say this teaser is exceedingly brief: it’s a mere forty-five seconds long, and some of that is just title cards flashing by. But from what we can see, Nightmare Of The Wolf follows an attractive young Vesemir (I mean, take the “attractive” part of that with a grain of salt as we literally only see the back of his head, his beard and, like, a quick profile shot that’s mostly just his nose) on adventures through the wilderness, battling all kinds of beasties while helping to establish the warrior traditions of Kaer Morhen that will still be place when Geralt and Ciri train there many decades later.

Nightmare Of The Wolf
The titular wolf, perhaps? | deadline.com

I assume his primary antagonists in Nightmare Of The Wolf will be vampires (speaking of Castlevania). A notable incident in Vesemir’s backstory, during which he was injured, was his defense of Fox Hollow from a swarm of bloodthirsty vampires (why did I specify bloodthirsty? Are vampires in horror ever not bloodthirsty?) led by a higher vampire named Emiel Regis Rohellec Terzieff-Godefroy, and we do see a flock of bats with glowing green eyes forming the shape of a leering death’s head in the night sky above Vesemir, followed by a shot of a demon with similar glowing green eyes and pronounced fangs. I’m not saying it’s Emiel, but I’m definitely hoping it is because vampires are awesome.

Of course, Vesemir is a Witcher, so his most consistent and organized opposition comes not from monsters lurking in the woods, but from humans who distrust or fear him and his kind. During Vesemir’s youth, the newly-constructed citadel of Kaer Morhen where he and many other Witchers were training was brutally attacked by an angry mob of villagers from the surrounding lands, and Vesemir – one of the survivors of the tragedy – subsequently rose through the significantly-depleted ranks of Witcher hierarchy to become Kaer Morhen’s leader. His “School of the Wolf” was very powerful for a while, but gradually became too powerful, leading to yet another attack from humans; this time stirred up by King Radowit II, whose crowned visage perhaps appears on the gold coins we see in the trailer.

Vesemir’s negative experiences convinced him to follow a policy of strict isolationism after this second massacre, but he wasn’t always a loner like his adopted son, Geralt – he formed a close bond with Guxart, a rival Witcher who mentored at the School of the Cat, and with whom Vesemir was arrested and held captive by Radowit. Anyone getting rivals to lovers vibes from these two? Just me? Either way, the School of the Cat goes undercover, leaving Vesemir pretty much alone at Kaer Morhen for decades, raising a dwindling generation of new Witchers – including Geralt of Rivia, and later Cirilla of Cintra, which is where The Witcher will resume with the story.

Nightmare Of The Wolf
Video Game Vesemir | playstationlifestyle.net

All in all, I’m very excited to see where this goes. This teaser doesn’t give us a whole lot to go on regarding plot, action, or even voice-acting, so I’m not sure exactly how to rate it, but I will be definitely be tuning in to see Nightmare Of The Wolf, and I hope it can tide me over while I wait impatiently for The Witcher to return this December.

Trailer Rating: 7/10

“The Witcher” Season 2 Reveals 1st Trailer!

Today is WitcherCon, a celebration of The Witcher franchise and its many offshoots: from the books and short stories that started it all, to the popular CD Projekt Red video games, to the Netflix live-action series based on the books and its own various spinoffs, including an upcoming anime feature-length film following Geralt of Rivia’s mentor Vesemir, and a prequel series which recently added Michelle Yeoh to its cast. In the struggle to fill the mainstream fantasy void left in Game Of Thrones‘ wake, The Witcher‘s massive appeal across multiple mediums makes it arguably the strongest competitor at present: at least until Amazon Prime gets on the board with The Lord Of The Rings.

The Witcher
The Witcher | syfy.com

And today, after being cruelly teased at Netflix’s Geeked Week event with only a twelve-second clip of Ciri, we got our first full trailer for The Witcher‘s second season – which also debuted new images, a poster, and received a release date of December 17th, 2021. The trailer clearly shows that The Witcher‘s creative team are upping the ante for season two, raising the stakes in what looks to be a more cohesive singular story than season one’s sprawling, chronologically complicated narrative. The timeline’s still a little bit confusing though, because Jaskier the traveling bard is back and doesn’t appear to have aged a day in the roughly twenty years since Geralt first encountered him in season one: and I kind of love that the show appears to just be rolling with that, and that we’re all willing to buy that somewhere along the line Jaskier became immortal because of course he did.

That’s the kind of cheeky attitude that helped make The Witcher so popular with fans, and I think it’s part of why holier-than-thou professional critics had a really fun time dumping criticism on The Witcher because it wasn’t “prestige” enough for their sophisticated tastes. But the show is still very grimdark and gruesome, and if this trailer is any indication, it will only get darker from here. Geralt of Rivia and Ciri (formerly Princess Cirilla of Cintra) team up to take on a variety of horrific monsters – all of which are being kept hidden through clever editing, to better preserve the jump-scares they’ll inevitably get out of me when I’m up at three o’-clock in the morning in December watching this show – while Ciri trains to become a Witcher herself at the desolate mountaintop fortress of Kaer Morhen, where Geralt’s mysterious mentor and father figure Vesemir is also being kept hidden: because he too is a monster, although of a slightly different kind. Will he give me a jump-scare too when he shows up? Maybe; it all depends on what the wig situation is.

The Witcher
Jaskier | hollywoodreporter.com

Here at Kaer Morhen, we find Ciri coming into her own as the series’ protagonist (and apparently finding a really good Witcher hairstylist, because her wig looks amazing), but Geralt and Vesemir won’t be her only teachers. Yennefer of Vengerburg, who disappeared after unleashing an inferno upon the Nilfgaardian armies at the end of season one, is also back – something that the trailer treats as a big spoilery stinger, even though Netflix literally revealed that Yennefer was coming back several months ago – and she’ll be instrumental in helping Ciri to fully access and control her dangerous and unpredictable magical abilities before she succumbs to her desire to “burn the whole world”, as Ciri describes it (which provokes a hilariously exaggerated facial reaction from Henry Cavill’s Geralt that is only accentuated by his neon chartreuse contact lenses: speaking of wigs, his wig has evolved and actually looks halfway-decent these days, but there is absolutely no saving those contacts).

I love that Ciri’s got a dark side to her character, and I can’t wait to see what kind of monster-hunter she becomes in time, when equipped with her magic. There’s been rumors she and Geralt will encounter a fearsome leshy in the woods outside Kaer Morhen, but we also know – and this trailer confirms – that Geralt at the very least will stop by the manor of a man named Nivellen who’s mutated into a horrific beast, to save him from a demoness named Vereena…a grimdark Beauty And The Beast retelling that’s one of the storylines I’m most excited for in season two. We catch a glimpse of Nivellen in the trailer, and I think we also see Vereena at one point, wings unfolded, circling around Geralt in the manor’s snowy courtyard.

The Witcher
Geralt and Ciri | comingsoon.net

I think that, with everything that’s being hidden from us in the trailer, it would have been nice to get one slightly bigger reveal than Yennefer’s return (a first look at the fan-favorite mage Philippa Eilhart would have been an awesome way to get people talking), but I am undeniably excited for The Witcher to come back, and I’m glad that WitcherCon was a big hit with fans of the franchise so that we can do this again next year, hopefully. In the meantime, look forward to my coverage of both The Witcher and its swiftly approaching anime prequel, Nightmare Of The Wolf.

Trailer Rating: 8/10

Blink And You’ll Miss First Look At “The Witcher” Season 2

The last big news out of Netflix’s Geeked Week event was the unveiling of another upcoming online fandom event, specifically directed at fans of The Witcher franchise – WitcherCon, which will take place just around the corner on July 9th, and will finally give viewers of Netflix’s wildly successful The Witcher series and players of CD Projekt Red’s bestselling Witcher video games a shared space in which to interact and enjoy news related to both. I’ll let people with a more comprehensive knowledge of the games guide the conversation surrounding that specific topic, but as a fan of Netflix’s series I believe the first full-length trailer for The Witcher‘s second season is probably being reserved to debut during WitcherCon, and I’m beyond excited to see it.

The Witcher
The Witcher | editorial.rottentomatoes.com

Today, however, to appease the ravenous fans baying like wolves in their comments (no, not me…well, not just me), Netflix gave us a brief taste of what to expect from season two (which you can watch at the 41:30 mark in the video above), in a twelve-second teaser video focused on the show’s central character, Princess Cirilla of Cintra, better known to fans as Ciri. After fleeing from the burning wreckage of the privileged life in Cintra she had enjoyed as a child, Ciri’s journey in season one ended with her finally meeting Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher with whose destiny hers had been intertwined before her birth. Season two will follow Ciri’s own path to becoming a Witcher, as Geralt brings her back to the ancient citadel of Kaer Morhen, where his mentor/father figure Vesemir will begin training Ciri in the ways of the Witchers, making her the first woman to be inducted into the mysterious order.

The teaser gives us a few split-second glimpses of that training, as Ciri discards the heavy, richly embroidered, Cintran robes she wore for most of season one, and shifts into lightweight, practical, armor for her fight scenes. But when she’s not running obstacle courses or hunting monsters in the woods at night, it seems she’ll be diving deeper into the magical origins of her mysterious powers, including the catastrophic events that happen whenever she unleashes her literally earth-shattering wail. She’ll probably be assisted in this search by the mage Yennefer of Vengerburg, the trendsetting icon whom I choose to believe is also responsible for picking out the luxurious white fur gown Ciri can be seen wearing in the teaser in a couple different shots.

The Witcher
Ciri | comingsoon.net

Unfortunately, we don’t get to see either Yennefer or Geralt in this teaser, which is mostly filled with brief flashes of significant (or in any case, haunting) imagery, like a ceremonial dagger resting on a plinth, dancing shadow-puppets, runes etched in stone, a skeletal corpse placed on an altar, and my personal favorite: a mural depicting a man having his leg eaten by a large bird or perhaps a dragon. Fantastical and horrifying monsters are a big reason for the franchise’s popularity, and season two is expected to introduce some particularly iconic beasts from The Witcher books and games into the series, including the forest-dwelling leshy, depicted in the games as a towering humanoid creature with a head modeled after a deer’s skull, and a majestic crown of black antlers. I haven’t ever played the games, but the images alone are unforgettable.

As I said, I think we’ll see much more during WitcherCon, including a full-length trailer, but this little teaser is a nice way to end Geeked Week, which also gave us the Shadow And Bone season two renewal we craved alongside some more miscellaneous reports and reveals. I think Geeked Week’s biggest problem in hindsight was a lack of footage from the shows and films being covered during the event, although I’m actually willing to give The Witcher a pass since it will be getting its very own Comic-Con type extravaganza just a month from now.

The Witcher
The Leshy | redanianintelligence.com

But what about you? Was this sampling of season two enough to appease you, or were you left disappointed by the lack of content? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!