Of all the fight sequences in the first season of Netflix’s The Witcher, arguably the most memorable scene was the Butcher of Blaviken sequence in the very first episode. The wonderfully choreographed sequence pits Geralt of Rivi (Henry Cavill) against a group of men led by the potential mutant Renfri, which culminates in Geralt killing them all in brutal fashion.
Now, in a recent interview (via ComicBook), The Witcher showrunner Lauren Hissrich has broken down this particular fight sequence and explains the decision making between the fight with the group of men and the duel against Renfri.
“When writing it and when shooting it, we broke it up into two different sequences,” Hissrich says. “The first one we called the brigand fights; the second one we called the Renfri fight. And what we wanted to do was showcase two different sides of Geralt.”
“So Geralt in the brigand fight, I think that has to probably be about 30 seconds on screen,” she continues, “and he brutally murders several people in quick succession without thinking twice about it, and you get to sort of showcase the skills of Geralt, and that he is trained to be a killing machine — that’s what he’s trained to do.”
“Then we flip that on its head, and when I was talking to Wade Eastwood and Wolfgang Stegemann, who choreographed that fight, obviously said to them in the second half, Geralt doesn’t want to kill Renfri,” she adds. “So we’re taking out here and now, and we’re putting him in a defensive stance in a fight. And I don’t think that that’s often done. And what I wanted to show is that Geralt can be a killing machine, but he doesn’t have to be, and a lot of times, throughout the fight, there’s actually some dialogue that we took out of that fight, because it slowed it down, and we just didn’t need it. Everything was really on screen. But the idea is he’s saying, ‘We don’t have to do this. We don’t need to do this. Let’s talk. Let’s figure this out.’ And it’s Renfri who’s pushing back to say, ‘Nope, we’re doing this now. One of us isn’t coming out of this alive.'”
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Based on the best-selling fantasy series of books, The Witcher is an epic tale of fate and family. Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. But when destiny hurtles him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a dangerous secret, the three must learn to navigate the increasingly volatile Continent together.
The Witcher stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer and Freya Allan as Ciri. Other cast members include Jodhi May, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Adam Levy, MyAnna Buring, Mimi Ndiweni, Therica Wilson-Read, Emma Appleton, Eamon Farren, Joey Batey, Lars Mikkelsen, Royce Pierreson, Maciej Musiał, Wilson Radjou-Pujalte, and Anna Shaffer.