You know things are going pretty good for a TV series when a second season has been ordered even before the first season has premiered. That is exactly how things played out for Netflix’s The Witcher. Even though the Henry Cavill-led series has received lukewarm critical reviews, the fan support for it has been tremendous and with Netflix already confirming at least The Witcher season 2, what direction will we see Geralt of Rivia take?
THE STARS OF THE WITCHER
Along with confirmation that Witcher season 2 is in the works, it has also been announced that The Witcher’s three main characters are returning as well. Henry Cavill (Superman) will bring his brooding and “hmm”ing Geralt back, along with Freya Allan as Ciri, and Anya Chalotra as Geralt’s love (true or not) Yennefer of Vengerberg. Cavill has truly put his stamp on the character of Geralt, taking all his video-game counterpart’s mannerisms and making them his own.
Any new additions to the cast for The Witcher season 2 have not been revealed though you can bet some of the familiar faces from season 1 will find their way into season 2.
THE WITCHER’S BOSS
Lauren Schmidt Hissrich was charged with the large task of bringing Geralt’s story to the small screen. So when it was announced that The Witcher season 2 is happening Hissrich was obviously thrilled. She told Variety: “I’m so thrilled that before fans have even seen our first season, we are able to confirm that we’ll be returning to The Continent again to continue telling the stories of Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri.”
Hissrich continues on as the series showrunner and hopes to build on season 1, which was based on author Andrzej Sapkowski’s collection of short stories The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny.
CONFUSION REIGNS OR DOES IT?
It’s no easy task bringing Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri’s story together, as evidenced by how (much to critics’ chagrin) Hissrich built the world of The Witcher. It may be easier in Witcher season 2, but for season 1 difficulty was in how Hissrich chose to introduce the show’s three characters by using three separate timelines. Those who read Sapkowski’s books were immediately confused as were viewers who weren’t sure what was going on.
To try and clear up some of the confusion, Netflix has released this official timeline of events…
Hissrich explained the choice to The Wrap, “What was important to me is starting off and making sure that we understood who Geralt was and who Ciri was, and then, in Episode 2, who Yennefer was,” Hissirch told The Wrap. “And one of our early decisions we made was actually just to introduce Geralt and Ciri in Episode 1 and to hold Yennefer for Episode 2 for that exact reason. There’s only so much you can take in. And I want to make sure that what I call the ‘bells and whistles of fantasy’ — the monsters and the magic and the violence and battles and sexuality — all of those things we expect from high fantasy, that those don’t take up the room of actual character development. We need to let the characters live and breathe in this world a little bit. That was one of the reasons we structured the story that way.”
What about those Witcher-ites who have followed the story from the books? Again, Hissrich felt the necessity of laying out the story as she did. “Really, the biggest change we make to the source material is making sure that Ciri and Yennefer are also well-represented in this story,” she added. “It was really important to me to establish ‘The Last Wish,’ which was the first book that I read and the book I really fell in love with, but Ciri’s not alive yet during that book. So I didn’t want to wait until Season 2 or Season 3 to wait to introduce her, I wanted her to be a part of Season 1. So we made the decision to play with time and have these three different timelines so that we could tell each of their stories in a really thorough and full way.”
WHAT COMES NEXT IN THE WITCHER SEASON 2?
While Hissrich felt the three timelines were essential as an introduction, will The Witcher season 2 see the same set-up? More than likely, no. Hissrich wants to narrow the show’s focus in season 2. She was able to introduce the main characters and their world in the first season and with The Witcher’s season 2, she’d like to bring the characters together more, give them more interaction and playtime.
She told GamesRadar, “What’s great about Season 2, I can tell you, is that, in what we’ve written, the story becomes much more focused. There’s a stronger drive in the story, because all of the relationships that we’ve been setting up in Season 1, actually start to come into fruition in Season 2.”
Freya Allan also hinted at more exciting news about Ciri when she told CINEMABLEND that her character will become “a lot more brutal” in season 2.
Hissrich followed up on her vision for Witcher season 2. “Characters start meeting and interacting more. That goes well sometimes. It doesn’t go well sometimes. But it’s kind of like, all of those building blocks that we set up for the world finally start to come together into something a little more concrete.”
Hissrich further adds that we can expect the show to do a lot more delving into the mythology of its world. When asked why they cut out details like the impending extinction of Witchers and monsters she said, “Season one spans about thirty years for Geralt, so monsters aren’t going extinct that whole time. But it’s something we delve into a lot more (in both cases) in season two.”
The first season of The Witcher contained tons of nudity on a level rarely seen on any other television show outside of maybe HBO’s Game of Thrones. That’s likely to continue in the second season, except going forward you may see more of the actual actors being naked, and not their body doubles. Or at least that’s the case with Anya Chalotra, who plays Yennefer.
Talking about her experience doing nudity in The Witcher season one she reveals she started out using a body double for the sex scenes, but eventually switched to doing them herself. Anya explains…
“I had a body double for the sex scenes, and she was always there. Flora. ‘But I didn’t [use her], I only used her for the first sex scene because I realised very quickly in that first sex scene that actually, I didn’t feel comfortable [with] anyone else portraying Yennefer, because it’s still acting isn’t it?”
And it sounds like she’ll take that philosophy forward into The Witcher season 2, and ditch the body double entirely. She elaborates…
“I found [watching] that really hard, so if we were going to talk about the sex scenes then it would be how we were best going to film them, so that I was comfortable and you’d get you’d still get what we needed for the story to move on,’ she explained. ‘But with the audience, yeah, but the wide shot isn’t me. The intimacy between Yennefer and Istrid is. Those close up shots.”
More than that, it ended up that they have found they need nudity on the show, and she sounds like she’s all for it…
“We thought we could portray those scenes without any nudity… Semi-nude, but not like the first sex scene where I had to use my body double. The only things that I had to get nude for were the scenes, the transformation scene and other scenes which actually really did develop the story and really need to, you know…”
LUKE SKYWALKER IN THE WITCHER
The one big rumor (more like fan wish) that has been floating around involves none other than Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill. Perhaps the flames were fanned because the man himself has expressed interest in becoming one of the story’s better-known characters, Vesemir. After a couple of fans posted Instagram pictures they created of Hamill as Vesemir…
Hamill himself responded to the fan generated Witcher season 2 art via twitter…
WHEN NETFLIX WILL DELIVER THE WITCHER SEASON 2
Filming on The Witcher season 2 is set to begin in London sometime in early 2020 with a season 2 premiere expected in 2021. It wouldn’t be crazy, though, to see a motivated Netflix have season 2 up and running for the 2020 holidays.
There is also the rumor that season 3 has been greenlit as well but that has not been confirmed. Hissrich put it this way to NME when asked how long she thinks the series will run, “I’ve been quoted saying seven and 20, but basically, I will write this series as long as one: the source material holds out. But two: as long as audiences are interested in watching it.” Let’s hope both one and two happen!