Netflix’s The Witcher executive producer Tomek Baginski has taken aim at American audiences, saying they are to blame for the simplification of the show’s plot. He shared his thoughts during an interview with Polish outlet Wyborcza (translated by Redanian Intelligence). Baginski explains that the team behind the Henry Cavill-led series wasn’t always interested in changing elements from the books the show is based on. He says behind-the-scenes events sometimes affected the plot, recalling a moment when script rewrites were necessary after an actor became ill.
“There are a lot of understandable reasons why controversial decisions are made, but the viewer does not have this context, so sometimes it hurts because something was better in the book,” Baginski said.
Baginski acknowledges that these on-the-fly changes can hurt. However, he goes on to explain that changes to the plot also arise as the crew considers The Witcher’s wide range of viewers. Specifically, Baginski has Americans in mind when choosing which elements of the story to simplify.
“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 said. “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: “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, these simplifications not only make sense, they are necessary.” He, again, acknowledges that simplified versions of plotlines from the source material are “painful” but adds that nuance and complexity won’t always reach everyone.
Redanian Intelligence also points out a relevant, past interview with Baginski. During a discussion with Imponderabilia, he spoke on how the team creates content with a range of audience members in mind. However, instead of pointing to American viewers, The Witcher producer said that social media is to blame, going as far as to say “the logic of the plot is less significant” to younger viewers.
When asked to expand on what he considers to be significant, he replied, “Just emotions. Just pure emotions. A bare emotional mix. Those people grew up on TikTok and YouTube, they jump from video to video.”
The interviewer then pointed out that Baginski was, in fact, talking to such a person. The producer responded to that comment by 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.”
The Witcher season 3 just wrapped up on Netflix with the release of its second volume on July 27. Cavill has now officially wrapped up his time as main character Geralt, with Liam Hemsworth tapped to take his place for future seasons. Stay tuned for more information on how Baginski and the rest of The Witcher team will continue to bring the fantasy world to television.