It’s an exciting time to be a fan of The Witcher, with the book series by Andrzej Sapkowski getting not only a second series of the Netflix show starring Henry Cavill, but also two spin-offs, including The Witcher: Blood Origin with Michelle Yeoh and Lenny Henry.
Arriving on Netflix today, however, is The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf – the brand’s first animated series, following Geralt’s mentor Vesemir.
With Theo James reprising his role as the voice of Vesemir, the spin-off watches the experienced witcher as he faces a new menacing opponent whilst battling his own demons, with Sherlock’s Lara Pulver, Castlevania’s Graham McTavish and Independence Day’s Mary McDonnell also starring.
Ahead of today’s release, Netflix teased the series with a sneak-peek clip of Vesemir training Kaer Morhen’s young witchers, who’re fed up with his tough-love approach.
"Here, we offer strength, purpose and respect."— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) August 19, 2021
here's a sneak peek at THE WITCHER: NIGHTMARE OF THE WOLF of Vesemir being daddy to Kaer Morhen's witchers-in-training pic.twitter.com/2ZYYGi6cVn
Here’s everything you need to know about The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf.
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf release date
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf was released on Netflix on Monday 23rd August 2021.
The release date was announced with the first footage from the show, which many fans compared favourably to fellow Netflix anime Castlevania.
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf cast
Theo James will be playing young Vesemir, after previously voicing the character in The Witcher season one episode ‘Much More’. James is best known for appearing in the Divergent trilogy, but has also appeared in the Underworld series, Sanditon and fellow Netflix anime Castlevania.
From Kaer Morhen to Kaedwen. Take a closer look at our characters from Nightmare of the Wolf 🐺 pic.twitter.com/ucgj0xjYB3— The Witcher (@witchernetflix) August 18, 2021
Vesemir will also appear in live-action form in The Witcher season 2, but this older incarnation will be played by Killing Eve star Kim Bodnia.
Sherlock’s Lara Pulver will be lending her voice to Tetra Gilcrest, a powerful sorceress who is descended from one of the Continent’s first mages. She will be joined by Battlestar Galactica actress Mary McDonnell as Lady Zerbst, a Kaedwen noblewoman who inherited her husband’s seat on the king’s advisory council after his death and uses her position to support witchers.
Finally yet another Castlevania alumni will be involved, as Dracula actor Graham McTavish will be voicing hardened witcher warrior-leader Deglan. Deglan was raised on the harsh, unforgiving Skellige Isles, and will do whatever is necessary to protect his witchers.
McTavish will also be returning for The Witcher season two – but will be playing spymaster Dijkstra rather than reprising his Deglan role.
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf trailer
The first trailer for The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf showed off plenty of impressive fight scenes, as well as a more humorous tone than its sister series:
A second trailer explored how witchers are created, and gave us a better overview of the film’s plot:
"Do you know what's involved in making a witcher?"— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) August 9, 2021
Watch the new trailer for THE WITCHER: NIGHTMARE OF THE WOLF, a new animated prequel movie from Studio Mir that tells the origin story of Geralt's mentor Vesemir. pic.twitter.com/668W3IxcdN
Our very first look at the film came in December 2020, when we got a slightly creepy logo reveal:
Here is the logo for Nightmare of the Wolf. A Witcher Anime film coming 2021. pic.twitter.com/vagw48L8NS— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) December 21, 2020
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf – who is Vesemir?
A key character in The Witcher series, Vesemir will already be familiar to fans of the books and video games. Vesemir is the oldest and most experienced witcher at their stronghold Kaer Morhen in the 13th century, and acts as a father figure to Geralt and the few other surviving witchers.
Like many other witchers, Vesemir trained at the School of the Wolf at Kaer Morhen, and continues to reside at the old keep during the winter and set out on The Path when spring arrives.
Vesemir will appear in The Witcher season two played by Kim Bodnia, where he will likely play a role in Ciri’s witcher training after Geralt brings her to Kaer Morhen.
Vesemir has previously been portrayed as an old man in the books and games, but Nightmare of the Wolf will rewind to tell an original story exploring Vesemir’s past – beginning right back when he was a boy and claimed by the Law of Surprise by witcher leader Deglan.
What is The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf about?
Developed by the same team behind the live-action series and animated by Studio Mir – who previously worked on The Legend of Korra – The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf follows a young Vesemir, before he became Kaer Morhen’s most experienced witcher and Geralt’s mentor.
Young and headstrong, Vesemir only hunts monsters for money in this prequel film, enjoying his job and all the earthly benefits that come with it. However a routine mission soon uncovers a powerful new threat to the Continent, prompting Vesemir to reevaluate the work he does and why he does it.
Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, the creator and showrunner of The Witcher, will also be co-executive producing this animated spinoff, which is set to explore questions that are not covered in the main show.
“There are things I wanted to know about, what it takes to become a witcher, how Geralt became a witcher, where his journey started and who was important to him,” Hissrich told Variety.
As shown in the trailer Nightmare of the Wolf will explicitly show how witchers are made, with Vesemir going through the painful process as a child before we catch up with him as a grown and fully-fledged witcher.
Nightmare of the Wolf will also mirror The Witcher season two in many ways, which will see Geralt act as a father figure to princess Ciri. Geralt’s own father figure Vesemir will appear in the upcoming season also, but this anime film offered the chance to explore Vesemir’s past, along with witcher practices and the history of the Continent.
“Families are multi-generational,” Hissrich added. “The things I teach my children, I learned from the generation ahead of me. When we meet Geralt in ‘The Witcher’ he is a full adult, he’s 100 years old and he’s been living on his own for a very long time. But you can’t help wondering how he learned the things he practices regularly and is going to teach Ciri.”
It was previously established in The Witcher season one that witchers and mages don’t get along, despite magic being used to create the superhuman monster hunters in the first place. With Vesemir set to team up with sorceress Tetra Gilcrest, a descendent of one of the first mages, Nightmare of the Wolf will explore mages even further and examine how their relationship with witchers deteriorated.
It won’t be an overly long trip to the Continent however – the film’s runtime has come in at 1 hour and 21 minutes.
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf was released on Netflix on Monday 23rd August 2021. Looking for something else to watch? Check out the best series on Netflix or the best movies on Netflix. You can also plan your viewing with our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Fantasy hub for the latest news.