Freya Allan Almost Played An Entirely Different Role On The Witcher
There aren't many characters on "The Witcher" more important than Ciri (Freya Allan). The surviving princess of Cintra is at the center of many of the series' biggest mysteries, and her relationship with her destined protector, Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), has essentially emerged as the narrative backbone of the live-action Netflix fantasy show. For those reasons, it seems safe to say that it was imperative during the show's initial casting process that the creative team behind "The Witcher" cast the right actor to play Ciri.
Fortunately, her work across the first two seasons of "The Witcher" has proven that Allan was, much like Cavill was for Geralt, a strong choice for the role of Ciri. Not only does Allan have strong and fun chemistry with Cavill, but she's managed to bring Ciri's various emotional layers, strengths, and weaknesses to life throughout Seasons 1 and 2 of "The Witcher."
Taking that into account, fans of "The Witcher" may be surprised to learn that Allan almost wasn't chosen to play Ciri on the Netflix series. As a matter of fact, Allan originally auditioned to play a very different role on "The Witcher."
Freya Allan originally auditioned to play Marilka
In a 2019 interview with Digital Spy, "The Witcher" star Freya Allan revealed that she wasn't originally up for the role of Ciri on the Netflix series. Her initial auditions for the show were, in fact, for the role of Marilka, a character who plays a brief but integral role in the first episode of "The Witcher."
As fans may or may not remember, Marilka is the young girl who gets hired by the wizard known as Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) to bring Geralt to him. While she initially has a fairly friendly attitude toward Geralt, her opinion of him changes by the end of the show's first episode, and she ends up being one of the townspeople who drives Geralt out of Blaviken. In the Netflix series, the role was ultimately played by actor Mia Mckenna-Bruce.
However, Allan told Digital Spy that she was actually cast as Marilka before the show's creative team decided to consider her for Ciri. "I found out I got Marilka. The next day, they called me up saying, '[Alik Sakharov], who's the director, and Lauren [Schmidt Hissrich], the showrunner, are coming with some producers from LA to London to see me for Ciri.'" According to Allan, it didn't take long for her to be cast as Ciri after that initial meeting was set.
"I went in, and the next day, I found out I got that part. So it was sort of like, 'Have I got two roles then?' It was a really bizarre, confusing experience," Allan said. Fortunately, while Henry Cavill was never the same after "The Witcher" Season 1, it seems safe to say that everything has worked out well for Allan.
Ciri changed and grew in The Witcher Season 2
Indeed, Season 2 of "The Witcher" even sees Freya Allan give a slightly more nuanced performance as Ciri. According to Allan, that was the result of her being given more to do as the character throughout "The Witcher" Season 2, including showing off Ciri's growing skills as a warrior. In December of 2021, the actor told NME, "I felt like Ciri wasn't done justice in Season 1. So I was excited to properly delve into the character and get to do all the fighting aspects as well."
However, while her performance as Ciri does grow more nuanced and compelling throughout the second season of "The Witcher," the character also looks noticeably different in it from how she did in the show's first season. Allan, notably, offered an explanation for the character's physical transformation during an interview with Collider, revealing that Ciri's different look in "The Witcher" Season 2 was the result of a request that she herself put in behind the scenes.
"I was the one who said, 'I'm so sorry, but if we are' — which hopefully we will — 'get to do many more seasons, I am not going to have any eyebrows left if they are bleached every day of 'The Witcher.' They won't be there anymore,'" Allan said.
The good news is that, while Ciri's new look in "The Witcher" Season 2 did lead to some confusion among fans of the series, it didn't ultimately impact her performance negatively in any way. As fans of "The Witcher" will likely tell you, that's all that really matters in the end.