Surprise! Joey Batey, who has been one of the many breakout stars of The Witcher thanks to his performance as Jaskier the humble bard, is reprising his role in new prequel fantasy series to The Witcher: Blood Origin. How is he returning, given that Blood Origin is set thousands of years before his adventures with Geralt? Well, you’ll have to wait and see.
But, in the meantime, we caught up with Joey to speak to him about Jaskier’s role in Blood Origin, how his character is set to develop in The Witcher season 3, Henry Cavill’s exit, and the possibility of a Jaskier musical spin-off series.
The Digital Fix: The first thing I want to say is that you looked great in The Witcher season 2. You were in great shape. That must have been really intimidating for Henry, right?
Joey Batey: [Laughs] Yeah, he was threatened. He was, I think. Hilariously, that was just the result of the pandemic, because we’d stopped shooting and then I was like, I had nothing else to do. So I just started lifting more weight than I usually do. But yeah, no. Henry was deeply deeply threatened and they did ring me to offer me Superman first. But, then I thought, you know, he’s already done it. I’d let him do it instead.
TDF: That’s really gracious of you.
JB: It’s very kind of me, I know.
TDF: What’s interesting with your role in Blood Origin is that with Jaskier’s role in the main series and the prequel series, I think there’s an argument to say that perhaps Jaskier is the real main character in The Witcher. What would Jaskier think of that suggestion?
JB: Oh, well, I think Jaskier definitely protagonises. He thinks he’s the main character of everyone’s story. So I think his heart would light up at those words. But what’s nice about Blood Origin, and indeed, the way that Jaskier’s sort of starting to travel through the series, including The Witcher season three, is that he is getting his own plotline.
Some of season three includes some, perhaps, romantic liaisons throughout the show. And he is the storyteller of the continent – there is something of this particularly in the books. He’s writing, you know, half-centuries worth of poetry and he is remembered as being the greatest bard of all time. And we get to see him becoming that and understanding that storytelling, and other people’s stories, are a way of changing the world and shaping it for good. And I think that’s something that we do start to explore particularly in Blood Origin, and then on in season three.
TDF: Yeah, it must be really exciting to have that role just grow and grow. So speaking of that, how long do we have to wait before Netflix commissions a Jaskier musical series, preferably with Gordon the mouse as your companion. Is that something you’d like to do?
JB: Gordon the mouse! I would love that. You know, in season three, there are more and more shenanigans with animals. Essentially all of the creative team just started throwing various different animals at me in different scenes. So the band is growing. There’s going to be Gordon on drums, there’s chickens. Just wait and see: this band is growing. I’m not sure how many people would watch it. But if we shot it in a sort of ‘90s MTV way…
TDF: I would! You have one audience member at least.
JB: That’s all that matters.
TDF: Obviously, we’ve had the news that Henry’s leaving the series. Firstly, I think that Jaskier would find it very amusing that Geralt is getting recast.
JB: [Laughs] Yeah!
TDF: Are you looking forward to working with Liam? And are you anticipating Jaskier’s dynamic with Geralt to change from Season Four onwards due to that?
JB: I am looking forward to working with Liam. I really am. I’ve been talking to him a little bit since the announcement. And he is just like, he’s throwing himself into the deep end with this with such aplomb.
I don’t want to just kind of continue what we’ve been doing, because every season, Jaskier and Geralt’s relationship continues and grows and merges in lots of different ways and strengthens. So that friendship is going to be different, even if Henry were playing it.
So I’m just looking forward to the challenge and seeing what Liam brings. Because Jaskier is such a responsive, reactive human being and an incredibly empathetic human being. My job is to take as much of what Liam is bringing, and to keep that going and keep the ball in the air as well. And so it’s going to be really exciting and challenging, I think.
TDF: As a one word answer, at the beginning of Blood Origin Jaskier is covered in blood and mud and guts. Was that gross or fun?
JB: That’s my answer.
The Witcher: Blood Origin will be available on Netflix from December 25