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Animated 'The Witcher' Trailer Drops, More 'Game Of Thrones' and Marvel Animation 'Mini-Studio'

It's surprising that fantasy isn't a genre that is that common in western animation. The medium allows bringing to life of fantastical worlds that would be impossible (or incredibly expensive) in live-action. The industry might be finally waking up to that fact with more projects like the upcoming Lord Of The Rings animated spin-offs.

Another animated fantasy that is on its way is the animated prequel The Witcher: Nightmare Of The Wolf. This animated film (not anime, despite what Netlifx would like us to believe) is based on the world of Netflix's fantasy epic, which is itself based on a popular series of books by Andrzej Sapkowski that also inspired the hit CD Project Red video game series.

The film is described as a Witcher origin story and follows the younger years of  Vesemir who would go on to become the mentor of the series's main protagonist Geralt. It was animated at South Korean Studio Mir, best known for producing animation for Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend Of Kora and Voltron Legendary Defender, and directed by Kwang Il Han. Beau DeMayo, a writer and executive producer on the live-action series penned the script. The voice cast includes Theo James as Vesemir, Lara Pulver as Tetra, Graham McTavish as Deglan, and Mary McDonnell as Lady Zerbst.

Netflix has now announced the movie will drop on August 23 everywhere. They have released the first trailer, which you can check out below.

The Witcher was commissioned to try and find Netflix's answer to HBO's Game Of Thrones. HBO and WarnerMedia meanwhile have been hard at work trying to capitalise on the massive success of that fantasy saga now that the flagship TV series has concluded. They have commissioned teams to develop multiple series based in the world of George RR Martin's A Song Of Ice and Fire series, some of which may not be moving forward. 

A while ago it was announced that HBO Max had ordered an animated series spin-off. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, another two animated series are being developed at the streamer. Again, HBO's strategy of developing multiple series concurrently means that either of them (or even both) may never actually make it to the screen.

THR's sources suggest that one of the three series would be set in The Golden Empire of Yi Ti, a part of Martin's continent of Essos, a place that is said to be heavily inspired by  Ancient Imperial China. Details on the other potential projects have yet to be shared.

Despite Game Of Thrones's massive success, at its height, the biggest TV show in the world, HBO's ambitious plans to mine Martin's world still feels like a bit of a gamble. The final season was so poorly received that much of the hardcore fanbase turned against it. Will they return for the new shows, and will the mainstream audience return with them? We guess we'll see.

Another genre that is explored less in animation than you would think is the superhero movie. As Marvel Studios prepares to launch their first animated series in What If...? they have been talking about more animation coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

According to the studio's Executive VP of film production Victoria Alonso, this will just be the beginning of their move into the animated realm. Alonso, who describes animation as her "first love" says that they are setting up a 'Mini-Studio' within Marvel dedicated to animation.

Marvel has of course had a long history with animation, and had an animation studio for a long time that produced unrelated series like Muppet Babies as well as series based on their own properties. Recent animated films and series (including What If..?) have been produced by outside studios. It's not clear at this time if the new Marvel Animation branch would continue to work with other animation companies or whether they would be moving it in-house. Hopefully, Sony's Into The Spider-Verse has inspired them to really explore the possibilities animation allows. How out there could an animated Doctor Strange movie get for example? Maybe a new X-Men series could be a way to use those characters before they return in live-action. Or maybe animation will allow the exploration of more bizarre Marvel characters, such as Squirrel Girl, Gwenpool or (of course) Howard The Duck. We're excited to see where this goes.