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The Witcher Showrunner Explains Why Eskel-Geralt Flashbacks Didn’t Make It To Season 2

By Soniya Hinduja
January 2,2022

The Witcher Season 2’s amazing run on Netflix as well as confirming a third season has sparked more discussion about the franchise. The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich recently talked about how the show initially included more flashbacks of Eskel with Geralt. Netflix’s greatly admired fantasy drama is its first English adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s books and short stories of the same name. The Witcher series follows the story of a monster hunter, among the last surviving of his kind, as he accepts his destiny. 

The Witcher Season 2 stars Henry Cavill as the Witcher Geralt and Basil Eidenbenz as his close friend Eskel. Besides these characters, The Witcher has a wide ensemble playing significant roles in the series. The Witcher’s long-awaited second season explored the journey of Geralt and his relationship with several other characters. The show does an impeccable job at fleshing out connections from the source material. While some details end up getting missed out on in the popular video game iteration, the show balances it all out perfectly. 

Eskel’s First Appearance In The Witcher Season 2

In all the adaptations of Sapkowski’s The Witcher works, Geralt and Eskel are portrayed as close friends. So much so that they are almost like family to each other. Eskel grew up in Geralt’s company. The two were training to become witchers at the School of the Wolf. In the Netflix series, Geralt first comes face to face with Eskel at Kaer Morhen in Season 2, episode 2, “Kaer Morhen”. Immediately, viewers sense tension between the two friends. And it is obvious that something foul has happened.

Kaer Morhen – Witchers
Basil Eidenbernz as Eskel in The Witcher Season 2

Unfortunately, the episode progresses to disclose that Eskel’s arm was infected by a leshy. A leshy is a formidable forest monster acting as a parasite. And Geralt must slay his infected friend to save his mentor Vesemir’s life. It is true that Eskel is prominently present in both the original book series as well as the video games. However, Netflix’s The Witcher displays the pair only briefly, leaving friends devoid of the past that Eskel and Geralt shared. 

Hissrich Explains The Absence Of More Eskel Flashbacks

Earlier this week, The Witcher showrunner Hissrich got on Twitter to talk about the character of Eskel. Hissrich mentioned Season 2’s Eskel in an elaborate thread on the social media network. There she explained why The Witcher writers decided to give the character a short screen time in the show.

Hissrich revealed that originally, The Witcher Season 2 was supposed to consist of a bunch of flashbacks. These scenes would particularly stress Eskel and Geralt’s friendship growing up. The writers wished to include flashbacks to showcase Geralt’s agony in slaying his friend to ease his pain. Hissrich also says that she hopes “to return to them in the future.” See Hissrich’s tweet below:

 

Needless to say, The Witcher does a flawless job at portraying the vast and fantastical universe of the original books. However, it often happens that when a novel is adapted into a television show, the source loses some of its authenticity.

Also Read : Showrunner Hisrrich Explains A Major Death In The Witcher Season 2 Episode 2 Was Misguided

For instance, when we compare The Witcher books and its Netflix adaptation, the two iterations vary in their pace. Additionally, the creators must juggle between revealing certain narratives while also leaving room for intrigue and for anticipation from audiences. And with Hissrich’s latest opinions, we understand how the writers must have had to focus on maintaining the balance. 

Would Eskel Have Helped Understand Geralt’s Season 2 Relationships?

Although, there are a lot of fans who are questioning this decision. They believe that if the writers wanted to deeply uncover Geralt’s relationships with his family of Witchers, how does it make sense to cut off Eskel’s flashbacks? More so because Eskel is basically Geralt’s brother. So, if the series decided to delve into Geralt’s earlier days in training, it would be a perfect way for viewers to look at Geralt’s relationship with his daughter.

Witcher

Eskel and Ciri at Kaer Morhen in The Witcher Season 2

But it appears as if the writers thought it best to not include major parts of Eskel and Geralt’s back story. This is how the showrunners managed to create the perfect stability in The Witcher Season 2. However, we cannot yet let go of the hopes of seeing these flashbacks in the future. The Witcher audiences will need to remain patient and wait for Hissrich and the remaining The Witcher crew to offer something interesting starting with Season 3. 

For now, The Witcher Season 1 and Season 2 are available to stream exclusively on Netflix.