Casting announcements for The Witcher season 3 are raising more questions about the shows faithfulness to Andrzej Sapkowskis novels and short stories. Debuting on Netflix in 2019 The Witcher season 1 was a close adaptation of the fantasy book series of the same name but season 2 took remarkable liberties with the source material. It introduced a demonic creature known as the Deathless Mother as its primary antagonist redesigned a secondary character among the Witchers of Kaer Morhen and featured an original subplot involving Francesca and the Elves.
The next installment of the show will be drawn primarily from Andrzej Sapkowskis book Time of Contempt but casting for The Witcher season 3 suggests the adaptation will continue to depart from the books. Robbie Amell has joined the cast as an original character named Gallatin hes a well respected actor so its likely hell be playing a major role in season 3 and beyond. According to Netflix he plays an Elven warrior named Gallatin who leads an army of guerrilla Scoiatael fighting on behalf of Nilfgaard. Unafraid to speak his truth Gallatins loyalty to his people ultimately leads him on a collision course with Francesca over power. This is clearly a continuation of the Francesca arc meaning the TV show will continue to blaze its own trail. This is likely to generate complaints from one particular part of the fanbase.
Ironically although The Witcher draws inspiration from Sapkowskis books book readers havent always been impressed by the changes. In fact this reportedly led to review bombing of season 2 on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes explaining the differing Audience Scores between the first two seasons at time of writing season 1 has an Audience Score of 90 percent compared to season 2s 60 percent. The lack of book accuracy is seen as a lack of confidence in the world Sapkowski built and a failure to properly value the characters and concepts he brought into play. The casting of Amell as Gallatin will undoubtedly mean these complaints will increase after season 3 with an entirely new Continent spanning event being created for the TV series.
To be fair to the harsh criticisms some of the changes made by Netflixs The Witcher series have been inexplicable a fan favorite Witcher named Eskel was radically rewritten for the series for unclear reasons and then promptly killed off. But the Francesca subplot is different because it isnt altering a character nor is it subtracting anything from the story rather its additive adding another dimension to it. The Witcher novels tend to be centered on central characters but The Witcher is really trying to build a larger world through its adaptation of the source material. Francescas storyline is set in a corner of the world Geralt didnt interact directly with much in the books meaning the central arc is unaffected by the additions.Such world building is not simply better practice for the TV medium in general. Its also crucial for this series precisely because of Netflixs ambition to create an expansive extended world of The Witcher featuring spinoffs and tie ins. Given this context its easy to see why the main TV series is departing from the books in this particular way its trying to establish the foundation for a wider franchise built upon The Witcher and Geralts world. Some parts of the fanbase will remain disappointed but thats the price Netflix must pay.