„Toss a coin to your Witcher, O’ Valley of Plenty!” – the most notorious line of a melody, that every fantasy fan cheer for and love. The Netflix Orginal, Witcher (2019) produced by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and based on the book series written by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski took over the world. The fanbase of the story grew exponentially, since the release of the series, but little do they know, is that a majority of the shooting and production happened in Hungary.
The story is set in a fictional, medieval world, known as „The Continent”. Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) is the main protagonist, a witcher, creatures who have inhumane abilities, and trained to hunt monsters so that they can be „swords for hires”. They are known for not having feelings, sympathy, but as the series goes on, the viewers can see that this is not even close to being true. Next to Geralt’s, the two stories of Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) and Crown Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan) are the more important storylines in the series. The first season consisted of eight episodes and was released on Netflix in its entirety on December 20, 2019.
Principal photography for the first season began on October 31, 2018, in Hungary. The series was mainly recorded at Mafilm Studios. The outdoor set of the studio included the exterior of wizard Stregobor’s (Lars Mikkelsen) household. Vajdahunyad Castle, which is at Budapest’s Városliget, was one of the most notable locations of the series for the Hungarian viewers. At Origo Studios, which can be found in the outskirts of Budapest, the Hall of Cintra was constructed. Fort Monostor was used for exterior scenes, especially for Cintra. At Csákberény, The Battle of Marnadal was filmed at the nearby hills of the village. Yennefer’s hometown was filmed at Skanzen Village Museum in Szentendre, 30 kilometers from Budapest. The open-air site was also used in scenes with Ciri, especially in an area with a windmill. Even though in some shots, the production used the exteriors of Burg Kreuzenstein, a castle in Austria, the interiors were filmed at Origo Studios. Exterior shots of the Sorcerers of Aretuza were shot on Roque de Santo Domingo in Garafía, however, the interior used for the graduation ball was filmed at the Kiscelli Museum in Óbuda, Budapest. This location was also used for the conclave of the Northern Mages. Some other, minor locations include Fortress System in Komárom, The „Egri Vár” of Pilisborosjenő, Selim-hole in Tatabánya, and the Old Castle in Tata.
There are more Hungarian aspects of The Witcher than you might think. The series contains various Hungarian supporting -and episode characters. Actress, Nóra Trokán acts as a Driad General. In the trailer of the series, she can be seen next to Ciri. Judit Fekete is sorceress Vanielle of Brugge. Máté Haumann acts as a nilfgaardian marshall, but next to all of these names we can list Attila Árpa, Kembe Sorel, and Sándor Köleséri as well. Before the first season was even out, Netflix announced a second eight-episode season, which will be released in 2021.