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The Witcher’s showrunner took inspiration from cult classic 80s movie, Labyrinth

Henry Cavill stars as Geralt of Rivia in Season 2 of Netflix's The Witcher
Henry Cavill stars as Geralt of Rivia in Season 2 of The Witcher. Pic credit: Netflix

Netflix’s epic fantasy series, The Witcher, is based on a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.

Set in a fantasy world called the Continent, the story follows the witcher called Geralt (portrayed by Henry Cavill in the TV show), his Law of Surprise child, Ciri (Freya Allan), and the mage, Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra).

However, the showrunner, Lauren S. Hissrich, has just announced that she got some inspiration for the show from another somewhat surprising source.

The 80s movie, Labyrinth, inspired part of The Witcher

When interviewed recently for the New York Times, Hissrich made a startling revelation regarding her inspiration behind The Witcher.

According to the showrunner, the 80s cult classic movie, Labyrinth, starring David Bowie as the Goblin King and Jennifer Connelly (Sarah), was particularly inspiring when heading into production on The Witcher.

“You have live-action, you have songs, you have fun, and you also have these creatures, and they all feel of the same world,” Hissrich said.

“For The Witcher, we struggled at first with, ‘How do you have people take a story seriously when there are monsters flying left and right?’ I loved how Labyrinth wrapped all these things together.”

In particular, Hissrich singled out the scene involving the Junk Lady trying to lure Sarah away from her task at hand, which was to save her baby brother, Toby (Toby Froud), from the Goblin King.

She likened this scene to when, in Season 2 of The Witcher, Ciri had to decide between her past and that of her future.

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Movie poster from Labyrinth
Movie poster for the 1986 movie, Labyrinth. Pic credit: Henson Associates/Lucasfilm/TriStar Pictures

Lauren S. Hissrich names other sounces of inspiration

Along with Labyrinth acting as inspiration for The Witcher, Hissrich also cited some other things that helped her to create the TV show.

Most notably, she looked to the movie, The Witch, for some inspiration.

“The idea of telling a horror story by what you don’t see deeply informed how we approach things in The Witcher,” Hissrich revealed.

She also noted that the character, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), in The Witch, could be compared to Yennefer’s role in Season 2 of The Witcher.

“Thomasin is going for acceptance of who she is in Puritan New England, and independence and power against societal restraints,” Hissrich said.

“Their journeys are really interesting to me, and also, more generally, the blurring of good and evil. Temptation versus resistance: That theme from The Witch directly informs Yennefer’s story this season.”

Along with that, she also mentioned Elektra, a character that she helped introduce in another Netflix show, Daredevil.

Elektra is an assassin that used to be a dancer and she likened her transformation to that of Geralt’s in that he was also forced into a role that he was not prepared for.

Finally, Hissrich used the gorgeous photographs shared on Michal Koralewski’s Instagram account.

The Polish photographer shares images of Poland to his social media account and Hissrich used this to help shape The Witcher by adding a more vibrant view on the fantasy world.

In particular, one shot of Old Town in the medieval city of Poznan helped to shape things.

“Fantasy is often represented as dire and dour and gray, and it’s all dusty because it’s the worst time in the world,” Hissrich explained. “One of the things that I wanted to bring to The Witcher is a sense of light and color, so I was immediately attracted to the colors, the buildings, the brightness in the photo.”

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Season 2 of The Witcher is currently available to stream on Netflix.

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