Netflix reportedly kills The Witcher spinoff series The Rats

New reports suggest Netflix has chosen to move away from The Witcher spinoffs.
The Witcher season 3 - Netflix/Susie Allnutt
The Witcher season 3 - Netflix/Susie Allnutt /

Netflix has been trying its hardest to make a big, epic, dark fantasy universe out of The Witcher, one that could rival Game of Thrones. They’ve been met with varying degrees of success, though the streamer has definitely had better luck with the main series than with its spinoffs.

Even though The Witcher: Blood Origin wasn’t well-received, Netflix had moved forward with its plans to make another live-action spinoff series; this one centered on the controversial outlaw gang from Andrzej Sapkowski’s books known as “The Rats.” But now new reports suggest the streamer has reversed its decision on the spinoff series in addition to the untitled kid’s Witcher series.

But in April 2024, reports surfaced from Redanian Intelligence and What's On Netflix indicating that the streaming service will no longer move forward with The Rats series despite already filming some of it, though supposedly production only filmed for two months out of a planned six, meaning only 1-2 episodes were completed out of the initial order of 6-8.

Redanian Intelligence also notes that one of The Rats actresses, Juliette Alexandra, had her CV changed to remove the part about The Rats spinoff series and only The Witcher season 4 is mentioned now.

Some footage from The Rats is likely to be used in The Witcher season 4

It sounds like some of the footage will be reworked and used in season 4 as part of flashback material, which makes sense because previously one of the casting directors mentioned they had worked on "a very special — almost standalone — episode of season 4" that is expected to explore "a completely new group of people."

The characters played by Alexandra, Christelle Elwin, and Ben Radcliffe are mentioned. It sounds like we'll get at least one season 4 episode solely dedicated to introducing who the Rats are now that Ciri has fallen in with their group.

The Witcher season 3
The Witcher season 3. Image: Netflix. Freya Allan as Ciri. /

Who are The Rats?

Fans of the books know the Rats as a group of criminals first introduced in Time of Contempt featuring Asse, Iskra, Kayleigh, Mistle, Reef, and Falka.

In Time of Contempt, Ciri meets the Rats shortly after making it through the Korath Desert. Mistle (Christelle Elwin) was introduced in a season 3 episode and then in the finale Ciri is officially introduced to the group when she ends up in the desert. Just like in the books, Ciri doesn't reveal her real name to the crew and instead tells them she's named "Falka."

Dolph Lundgren
Los Angeles Special Screening Of Quiver Distribution's "Lights Out" / Harmony Gerber/GettyImages

Who was reportedly in cast?

According to Redanian Intelligence, The Rats would have featured all six members of the outlaw gang.

If you’ve already watched The Witcher season 3, you’ve met Christelle Elwin’s character, Mistle. Mistle was formerly part of a wealthy noble family until she was forced to flee during a rebellion. She and Ciri form a close relationship.

The outlet also reports that Swedish star Dolph Lundgren of Rocky IV fame has been cast as the rogue witcher named Brehen and was supposedly on set for the majority of filming.

Rumored cast:

  • Christelle Elwin as Mistle
  • Ben Radcliffe as Giselher
  • Fabian McCallum as Kayleigh
  • Aggy K. Adams as Iskra
  • Juliette Alexandra as Reef
  • Connor Crawford as Asse
  • Dolph Lundgren as Brehen

Redanian Intelligence reports that filming wrapped on The Rats on July 1, 2023, after a shortened timeframe. The series was supposed to film for five to six months but finished after two, suggesting a shorter runtime. Filming reportedly took place in Cape Town, specifically at the Cape Town Film Studios and some areas outside the port city.

The Witcher: Blood Origin also had its episode count cut short. However, unlike The Rats, Blood Origin filmed the entire time it was supposed to and then went back for reshoots, whereas this series wrapped filming early, meaning it might be much shorter or could even be turned into a movie instead of a series.

On the plus side, The Witcher was recently renewed for a fifth and final season ahead of season 4 and production on its fourth season has officially started. The animated Witcher film Sirens of the Deep is also on track to debut later this year.

Stay tuned to Netflix Life for more information on The Witcher universe.

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