During Friday’s Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con International, Netflix dropped a trailer for The Witcher, an upcoming television series following a Witcher named Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) based on the books by Andrez Sapkowski.

The Beat had a chance to discuss the highly-anticipated series with showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and several cast members after the panel. Here are the top five things we learned about the new show in the panel and press room.

The show will be rooted in the books rather than serving as an adaptation of the video games.

The Last Wish was the first book I read. The first time you experience a world, you fall in love with it in a different way. I love all of the books, but that was my entrance. It really is world building in The Last Wish that I found to be the most important. When I first started talking to Netflix about the show, I think everyone assumed we would start with the saga, because that’s sort of the most serialized storytelling and would lend itself to sort of binging. But I said, you can’t do that without setting up the world first. So that was really a big challenge too – where to begin. – Schmidt Hissrich

We’ll get additional backstories for some characters – particularly the women.

What’s really fun is that we get to expand on the books. We get to read between the lines. We get to sort of dig deep into the character moments and let them breathe a little bit more in ways that, specifically with Yennefer and Ciri, that weren’t really present before they met Geralt. We get to dig in and learn about them and create fully formed characters before they start intersecting with one another and changing. – Schmidt Hissrich

We’ll see Yennefer as a much younger character.

In our version of The Witcher we explore Yennefer’s backstory. We explore from her at 14 years old to when she’s 77. So there’s that huge turning point for her when she discovers her power and the purpose that that gives her, and also the transformation, and the journey of self-discovery she goes on from then on. – Anya Chalotra (Yennefer)

Netflix spoke with 30 candidates before selecting Lauren Schmidt Hissrich to helm the show.

This is my 4th show with Netflix. They have a really diverse talent pool and pull from everything. I also know that they at no point said, “We need to meet with female showrunners for The Witcher.” They met with 30 of us, and I think they just liked my take. I think that really it’s just about opening the doors for everyone to be able to tell their story. I was able to get in the room and give my pitch. And I think that’s where we actually really need to focus: Can everyone get in the room? – Schmidt Hissrich

Cavill beat out more than 200 actors for the part (and does his own stunts).

I was very passionate about the games because I played them a lot. It was something which I wasn’t going to let pass me by without giving it my absolute best shot… Thankfully the 206 other people, for whatever reason, I’m sure they’re fantastic, didn’t have that thing which was right for Geralt. And it’s an absolute honor for me to have the opportunity to bring this guy to the screen. – Cavill

The Witcher will debut on Netflix sometime in late 2019.

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