When the first part of The Witcher season three’s final season premiered on Netflix to a significant drop in viewership, it felt all but inevitable that the internet would plunge into insufferable online discourse over the once-promising fantasy book adaptation. In what can only be described as the real-life version of The Simpson’s “Am I So Out Of Touch” meme, the executive producer of the show has chimed in on the conversation by putting blame on American audiences and TikTok users.
Last October, Netflix announced that Henry Cavill would not be returning for season 4 and would be replaced by Liam Hemsworth as its titular monster slayer, Geralt of Rivia. Netflix stretched out his final curtain call as Geralt by splitting up its third season into two parts. While the exact reason behind Cavill’s departure is still unclear, fans began to speculate whether it was over Cavill’s frustration with the show’s writers deviating from the books.
Some fans think Cavill was specifically displeased with the show’s oversimplification of the book’s key plot points and flattened characterization of the white-haired Butcher of Blaviken (which he shined at portraying), hence the departure. The series’ plot decisions have been contentious for fans, as well, so much so that a producer recently weighed in on the discourse.
In a recent interview with Polish news site Wyborcza (which was translated by The Witcher fan site Redanian Intelligence) producer Tomek Baginski explained that behind-the-scenes events, like a script rewrite after an actor got sick, lead to a lot of “controversial decisions” being made in the show. While Baginski says he understands why viewers who read the books would be “hurt” by a sudden change in the show, the decision to simplify plot points like The Witcher’s expansive geopolitics is often “necessary” when “a series is made for a huge mass of viewers, with different experiences, from different parts of the world, and a large part of them are Americans.”
“I had the same perceptual block when I presented Hardkor 44 [a never-made variation on the Warsaw Uprising] abroad years ago and tried to explain: there was an uprising against Germany, but the Russians were across the river, and on the German side there were also soldiers from Hungary or Ukraine,” Baginski told Wyborcza. “For Americans, it was completely incomprehensible, too complicated, because they grew up in a different historical context, where everything was arranged: America is always good, the rest are the bad guys. And there are no complications.”
Baginski continued, saying simplifications of plot points are just as painful for writers as it is for viewers but oversimplifications to an otherwise nuanced and complex topic are often “necessary” so that a show can reach a larger audience.
This isn’t the first time Baginski has blamed American sensibilities for certain show plot points. In an interview with the Polish YouTube channel Imponderabilia, Baginski singled out season two’s low viewership as a byproduct of younger viewers who frequent social media sites like YouTube and TikTok for having short attention spans.
“When it comes to shows, the younger the public is, the logic of the plot is less significant…Those people grew up on TikTok and YouTube, they jump from video to video,” Baginsk said, adding that young folks gravitate more toward “just emotions.”
When the interviewer chimed in and said they were part of the age range of viewers Baginski was talking about, the producer replied saying “Okay, so it’s time to be serious. Dear children, what you do to yourself makes you less resilient for longer content, for long and complicated chains of cause and effect.”
Anywho, if you had a long enough attention span to get to the bottom of this article, the entirety of The Witcher’s third season is available to watch now on Netflix.