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 Witcher Season 2 In Production
The Witcher Season 2 began production in February of 2020 and the cast has started sharing photos from the set. But they were soon forced to put everything on hold when the Coronavirus pandemic hit. Production was shut down mid-stream.
It’s taken awhile but now The Witcher season 2 has resumed filming. We got evidence in the form of this Henry Cavill photo from the set…
That’s the good news. The bad news here is there’s now a nearly a 6 month delay on their schedule and it almost certainly means that The Witcher season 2 will take a lot longer to get on Netflix than originally anticipated.
THE WITCHER SEASON 2’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.
For The Witcher season 2, they’ve confirmed they’re doing things differently and the show will no longer jump around between different timelines. When asked how The Witcher season 2’s story will be structured showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich had this to say…
“So what we’ll see in season two is that all of our characters are existing on the same timeline. What that allows us to do story-wise though, is to play with time in slightly different ways. We get to do to flashbacks, we get to do flash-forwards, we get to actually integrate time in a completely different way that we weren’t able to do in season one. Because, if you can imagine, if we were in three different timelines and then flashed forward or flashed back, we would have been in four or five or six timelines, even I know that’s too much. So I think it will be a lot easier for the audience to follow and understand, especially a new audience coming in. But there are still going to be some fun challenges with time.”
To try and clear up some of the remaining season 1 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.”
WHEN NETFLIX WILL DELIVER THE WITCHER SEASON 2
Filming on The Witcher season 2 was originally set to premiere in 2021. There was even some thought that wem ight see a motivated Netflix have season 2 up and running for the 2020 holidays.
Unfortunately due to production delays from the Coronavirus pandemic a 2020 holidays debut for The Witcher season 2 is now totally out of the question. It’s also unlikely we’ll see season 2 before summer of 2021 at the earliest. Fans have a long wait ahead of them.
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!
TOSS A COIN TO YOUR WITCHER
Before we start talking about The Witcher season 2, it’s important to get in the right mood. There’s no better way to do that than by singing a round of “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher”. Luckily, Netflix has released the song online through Sony Soundtracks, complete with lyrics and a video. Sing along before we start…
He can’t be bleat? Come on now Jaskier, you’re better than that.
And now on to what’s next for a friend to humanity…
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.”
One thing that seems certain about The Witcher season 2 is that we’re getting more Ciri. A lot more Ciri. Hissrich tells TV Guide, “it’s one of the things that when I look at the season, I see she’s not as present, Ciri’s not as present as I would have liked her to be… So in Season 2, we’re really digging in with her character and we’re going to understand her a lot more. And yes, that growth that you’re describing, where she starts training, where she actually becomes the character that we know from the books and later from the video games, we will see her become that person. But she doesn’t change on a dime. What we don’t want to do is forget where she came from.”
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.”
Blood of Elves
With what the show’s creators have said about their plan for The Witcher season 2, it makes sense then that rumor has it they’ll base the second season heavily on the book Blood of Elves.
Blood of Elves is the first book in The Witcher saga written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. Where the first season of The Witcher focused on the backstory of its characters as it slowly brought them together, Blood of Elves is more focused on the here and now.
The book is the story of Geralt protecting Ciri and aiding her in her training. Eventually Geralt must admit he lacks the skill to teach her alone, and he’s forced to seek help from Yennefer. Meanwhile a mysterious wizard is out to get Ciri, and somewhere lurking in the background is an even more powerful mage who is that wizard’s master.
That fits with the showrunners’ stated goals of abandoning the multiple storylines and keeping all their main characters together going forward, so simply adapting Blood of Elves seems like the obvious choice for The Witcher season 2
THE RETURNING 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 will bring his brooding and “hmm”ing Geralt back. Cavill has truly put his stamp on the character of Geralt, taking all his video-game counterpart’s mannerisms and making them his own.
He seems heavily invested in the show, and has spent a lot of time thinking about it, promoting it, and even helping to make it. Henry Cavill won’t be leaving and if you have any doubts, just watch how into discussing Geralt’s sword in the video below…
As for the rest of the main cast for The Witcher Season 2…
Freya Allan is confirmed to be back as Ciri.
Anya Chalotra will also be back as Geralt’s love (true or not) Yennefer of Vengerberg.
Joey Batey will return as Jaskier. Hopefully he’ll have a new song for us, though it’s going to be hard to top Toss A Coin To Your Witcher.
NEW ADDITIONS TO THE WITCHER
The Witcher will be adding new characters in season 2. So far the production has been tight-lipped about who those characters will be, but we have a few names.
Natalie Dormer has not been officially announced as part of The Witcher season 2 cast. But, it seems like she’s secretly involved anyway. Dormer is best known for playing Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones and recently she’s been spotted riding a horse around the area where The Witcher season 2 is filming in Surrey, England.
Then adding more fuel to the fire, a casting director involved on the show posted a picture of Dormer riding a horse on her Instagram, along with this statement: “When you remember every day is basically a Saturday on The Witcher. Bring [redacted crew member] and Natalie Dormer laughing, dancing and riding horses!”
Kim Bodnia has joined the cast of The Witcher season 2 to play Vesemir. Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich says of his casting, “I am so thrilled to welcome Kim Bodnia to the cast of The Witcher… I have admired his unique talents in shows like Killing Eve and The Bridge, and cannot wait for him to bring strength, tenacity, and warmth to the character of Vesemir, who is such an integral part of our upcoming season.”
Kristofer Hivju is confirmed to be joining The Witcher season 2 cast. You may not know the name, but you know his face. He played one of the most popular characters on HBO’s Game of Thrones, the wildling leader Tormund Giantsbane. In The Witcher he’s been hired to play a character named Nivellen. In the source material’s lore Nivellen is a cursed man with a monstrous appearance.
Paul Bullion is joining the cast in The Witcher season 2. He’s slated to play another Witcher named Lambert. The character has already appeared in The Witcher games. In the books, Lambert helps Ciri train. He’s such a popular character there’s even been fan fiction written about him. As for Paul Bullion, he’s currently best known for his work on the show Peaky Blinders.
Yasen Atour is also joining The Witcher season 2 as yet another Witcher. Atour is playing a Witcher named Coën. Coën also plays a pivotal role in training Ciri when he winters with her at a place called Kaer Mohren. In the books he’s described as heavily scarred from a childhood disease. Yasen Atour has appeared in such films as Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation and the remake of Ben-Hur.
Aisha Fabienne Ross is joining the cast as Lydia van Bredevoort. In Witcher lore she’s a sorceress and one described as having very expressive eyes. Ross is best known for her work in the movie The Danish Girl.
Agnes Bjorn will play Vereena in The Witcher’s second season. Verena is a Bruxa, which is a type of powerful vampire. It was she who cursed Nivellen, the character being played by Kristofer Hivju.
Mecia Simpson will play Francesca Findabair. She’s an elf sorceress and former elf queen. She’s considered to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. No pressure Mecia. She’s probably up to the task as Mecia Simpsons is best known for winning Britain’s Next Top Model
Recently actor Graham McTavish leaked an audition video in which he reads lines from what appears to be a script for The Witcher’s second season. In it, the character he’s auditioning for is referred to as “David”. Here’s the video…
McTavish is probably best known for his recent work on the series Lucifer, but he’s been working steadily as a character actor since the mid-80s.
The character of David, being referenced in the video, could be a character from The Witcher book series called “Dijkstra”. The dialogue McTavish is reading sounds a lot like something he would say, and there’s at least some similarity in the names.
In the books Dijkstra is the spymaster in the court of a kingdom called Redania. He’s critical to the plot of the book on which we know The Witcher season 2 will be based. So he’ll almost certainly show up in season 2 as a big character, and now it looks like McTavish could end up playing him.
ADDRESSING WITCHER FAN COMPLAINTS
Some fans of The Witcher books have been upset over changes made to characters ethnicity in the translation from the book to the show. For instance, the Zerrikanian assassins depicted in episode 6 are described as being blonde, but they are played by actors of color on the show.
The author of The Witcher books, Andrej Sapkowski, has fired back at those complaints and issued the following statement: “As far as I remember, skin color isn’t discussed in detail in my books… So the adaptors can freely show their craft. They made my blonde Zerrikanians dark-haired in the comic because the artist had his artistic freedom.”
In the past Sapkowski has repeatedly stated that the world of The Witcher is not medieval nor based on anything else from history or real-world locations. It’s a completely made-up fantasy place of his own devising. That means anything can happen there and I guess it also means anyone can look like anything, depending on who’s in charge of making it.
Season 1 was a lot of fun, but even people who love the show are quick to point out it had a few problems. One of the most frequently complained about things involved with The Witcher season 1 is the way the costumes on the armies of Nilfgaard looked.
As you can see in the photo above, their armor basically looked like they were wearing trash bags. That became more of a problem as the season wore on, since the show started giving us more and more of these trash bag wearing soldiers. Luckily, the show plans to fix it for The Witcher season 2.
The show’s EP Lauren Hissrich says, “Everything about The Witcher has been a real learning process for me… It’s the beauty of being able to do this for the first time and then get to come back and do it again. Season two is exciting. It’s a chance to look at the mistakes we’ve made in season one and do it better, tell stories better, improve some things, look at what didn’t work, get rid of it and start over… The Nilfgaard armor will be totally different. You have that opportunity to go back and course-correct if you want to.”
What they’ll do to make them look better remains to be seen, but just most fans seem to agree that just about anything would be an improvement.
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…”
MARK HAMILL IN THE WITCHER
The one big rumor (more like fan wish) that had 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. However, Kim Bodnia has now been cast as the character, putting it all to rest.
The Witcher Prequel Series
It’s official: Netflix is developing a live-action spinoff of The Witcher, a new series which will be a prequel. The Witcher is the most successful program the streaming giant has ever produced, and The Witcher season 2 is going to be huge. So it makes sense that they’d want more and more of it.
The Witcher spinoff series is called The Witcher: Blood Origin and here’s Netflix’s official description of what they’re planning…
“1200 years before Geralt of Rivia, the worlds of monsters, men and elves merged into one, and the first Witcher came to be. Announcing The Witcher: Blood Origin, a 6 part live-action The Witcher spin-off series from Declan de Barra and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich.”
The prequel would be set 1500 years before the current timeline, during a cataclysmic event known as the Conjunction of the Spheres. It’s something explained in the other Witcher material outside the current Netflix show. It’s at that time when magic and monsters were first unleashed on the world of The Witcher. A rift opens between two worlds and that creates a situation where Elves and Dwarves must figure out a way to cohabitate with humans. It’s at this time that Witchers were first created.
Newly promoted showrunner Declan de Barra has this to say about his plans for The Witcher: Blood Origin…
“As a lifelong fan of fantasy, I am beyond excited to tell the story The Witcher: Blood Origin. A question has been burning in my mind ever since I first read The Witcher books – What was the Elven world really like before the cataclysmic arrival of the humans? I’ve always been fascinated by the rise and fall of civilizations, how science, discovery, and culture flourish right before that fall. How vast swathes of knowledge are lost forever in such a short time, often compounded by colonization and a rewriting of history. Leaving only fragments of a civilization’s true story behind. The Witcher: Blood Origin will tell the tale of the Elven civilization before its fall, and most importantly reveal the forgotten history of the very first Witcher.”– -Blood Origin Showrunner Declan de Barra
The Witcher Movie
While you wait for season 2, Netflix is planning other Witcher-related content to keep fans happy. The first they have on the agenda is an animated Witcher movie. Or more specifically, an anime movie.
The film is called The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf and it’s being animated by the same people who made the acclaimed anime television series Legend of Korra. According to Netflix, Nightmare of the Wolf will be a prequel that “…will take us back to a new threat facing the Continent.”
The script for The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is being written and produced by The Witcher’s showrunner Lauren Schmidt as well as Witcher writer Beau DeMayo. Their involvement basically means this animated series is canon, and all but required viewing for anyone who’s excited about The Witcher season 2.
The Witcher Fandom
You know you’ve made it when fans start making YouTube videos about you. Leading the charge is Honest Trailers, who set their sights on The Witcher and delivered this hilarious video…