The Witcher's Henry Cavill Breaks Down the First Episode's Brutal Fight Scene

Netflix's The Witcher starts off with a bang, as the first episode of the first season adapts the classic story "A Lesser Evil" from author Andrzej Sapkowski's The Last Wish. Included in Netflix's adaptation is a fight between Geralt of Riva, as portrayed by Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), and the potential mutant Renfri, portrayed by Emma Appleton. It's a pretty complicated fight, and one that results in Geralt earning the "Butcher of Blaviken" moniker. And now, Cavill himself has provided a detailed breakdown, shot by shot, of the fight scene.

You've probably already seen other folks, like showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich, talking about the Butcher of Blaviken fight scene before, but Cavill gets incredibly detailed, incredibly fast. Given that he had to actually perform the thing -- he notoriously prefers not to use stunt doubles -- it offers a pretty impressive take on it.

"Our strikes were exact, or at least looked exact," Cavill says in the shot-by-shot breakdown. "We were moving less than an inch away from each other's heads. She had to move just enough and I had to make sure that I was close enough. So, if I was making a downwards strike, I have to redirect my sword, so it does end up being less than an inch away from her head when it misses. It's a true dance and requires a lot of patience and a lot of skill."

"When writing it and when shooting it, we broke it up into two different sequences," Hissrich said previously of the scene. "The first one we called the brigand fights; the second one we called the Renfri fight. And what we wanted to do was showcase two different sides of Geralt."

"So Geralt in the brigand fight, I think that has to probably be about 30 seconds on screen," she continued, "and he brutally murders several people in quick succession without thinking twice about it, and you get to sort of showcase the skills of Geralt, and that he is trained to be a killing machine -- that's what he's trained to do."

"Then we flip that on its head, and when I was talking to Wade Eastwood and Wolfgang Stegemann, who choreographed that fight, obviously said to them in the second half, Geralt doesn't want to kill Renfri," she added. "So we're taking out here and now, and we're putting him in a defensive stance in a fight. And I don't think that that's often done. And what I wanted to show is that Geralt can be a killing machine, but he doesn't have to be, and a lot of times, throughout the fight, there's actually some dialogue that we took out of that fight, because it slowed it down, and we just didn't need it. Everything was really on screen. But the idea is he's saying, 'We don't have to do this. We don't need to do this. Let's talk. Let's figure this out.' And it's Renfri who's pushing back to say, 'Nope, we're doing this now. One of us isn't coming out of this alive.'"

What do you think of Netflix's The Witcher? When it came to the Butcher of Blaviken fight scene, did the shot-by-shot breakdown help you understand the making of it? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming!

Here's how Netflix describes the series:


"Based on the best-selling fantasy series, The Witcher is an epic tale of fate and family. Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. But when destiny hurtles him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a dangerous secret, the three must learn to navigate the increasingly volatile Continent together."

The first eight-episode season of Netflix's The Witcher is available to stream on the platform now. It has already been renewed for a second season. Lauren S. Hissrich serves as showrunner. It stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer, and Freya Allan as Ciri. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the latest and greatest adaptation right here.

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