Grab your Gwent cards and get ready to toss some coins, because The Witcher season two is on its way!
“Moving into Season 2, what’s interesting is our storylines start to become a little bit more cohesive,” showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissirch said.
“The characters start overlapping a lot more. But it’s been really important to us to continue those different genres and different tones within the show. So there’s still a lot of really dark humour and some ridiculously silly humour. There’s obviously romance; Geralt and Yennefer are at the forefront of it.
“But I think now we have this additional layer of family. There’s a new emotional layer to the show, which is what it means to be a parent, what it means to be a child, and what it means to sort of realize that you need people. And I think that’s one of the most exciting parts of Season 2.”
Netflix showed some serious confidence in their answer to Game of Thrones by ordering a second series before the first had even been released, a move vindicated when it became the most popular Netflix series of 2019 (in the UK).
Based on the Witcher novels by author Andrzej Sapkowski’s, which also inspired a hugely popular series of Witcher video games, The Witcher stars Henry Cavill as no-nonsense warrior Geralt of Rivia.
Here’s everything we know so far about The Witcher season two including storylines, time jumps and how coronavirus has impacted the shooting…
The Witcher season 2 release date
While there’s no confirmed date for when we can expect the season to land on Netflix, RadioTimes.com predicts that the series will probably not return until 2021, owing to the ever-changing situation and the logistical challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the series is now set to resume filming (see below), which could mean a release date closer to the one originally predicted in late 2020.
Did coronavirus delay The Witcher on Netflix?
Henry Cavill in The Witcher (Netflix)
It had been assumed the show would return in late 2020, but production was delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Speaking to The Wrap, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich explained: “We were shooting in the UK and were about six weeks into our season when we shut down. We were literally in the middle of a big sequence we had been preparing for months.
“But we have a very international crew and it wasn’t just about the health of our crew and our cast, but also getting them back home to their families. So that was at the forefront for us.”
However, fans recently got some good news, with The Witcher announcing that they’ll return to filming on the 17th August 2020, though Hissrich has noted that it’s crucial that the cast and crew of the series feel personally comfortable with filming conditions as well.
In addition, so long as social distancing measures are necessary to prevent the spread of the illness, certain scenes involving close proximity or large crowds are going to be difficult – or indeed impossible – to pull off safely.
If you’re worried about a long delay, you could listen to Netflix’s official The Witcher behind-the-scenes podcast, in which you can hear members of the cast and crew – including Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer – talk about what went down during filming and what could have been.
The return of the show and its key characters was first announced on 13th November 2019, over a month before the launch of season one.
The Witcher season 2 spoilers and plot
Season one was based on a set of short stories set before the Witcher saga, The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny, with the next series set to mine more from that material as well as the first mainline instalment, Blood of Elves.
“A lot of what we’ve set up in season one will come into play in season two,” Hissrich told RadioTimes.com. “We will get into some stuff from Blood of Elves. But I also think there are things that we wanted to adapt from The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny that we didn’t have time to do.
“So to be blessed with a season two, and to know that we can go back and revisit some of those things, is really exciting. There will be a big mix of things.”
Anya Chalotra, Henry Cavill and Freya Allan as their Witcher characters (Netflix)
Blood of Elves sees Geralt take on the protection and training of Freya Allan’s Ciri, but given that some of Ciri’s storyline has already been depicted in season one, it’s unlikely to be a direct adaptation of those events.
One thing we do know is that the series will introduce more Witchers alongside Henry Cavill’s Geralt, including book and game fan-favourites Vesemir, Coen and Lambert.
“Really, in season one, we got to know Geralt and he’s our prime example of a Witcher,” Hissrich said.
“And then there is one other Witcher, Remus, who we meet in Episode 103, who quickly dies. So it was, for us really, about getting Geralt back to his roots and sort of learning where he came from and what his story is and what his sense of family is.”
Hissrich went on to explain that the ongoing coronavirus crisis may demand changes to the story they had initially planned, due to restrictions placed on television production as a result of the pandemic.
“It’s going to impact story,” she said. “It will have to. But one of the best things about being a writer on set is that I’m there to make those changes as we need them.
“Really, in terms of writing, we just been honing a lot over the last eight weeks. Really digging back into scripts, making some big shifts, especially in the emotional journeys of our characters and making sure that everything we’re writing feels really grounded and true.”
Whatever the case, expect some Witcher monsters, sword-fighting, more on the war with Nilgaard and the elvish insurgence, as well as a likely focus on the prophecies and powers of Princess Ciri.
“In Season 2, we’re really digging in with her character and we’re going to understand her a lot more,” Hissrich told TV Guide. “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.
“What’s really fun about Season 2 is that in the books, [after] Geralt and Ciri meet in that moment in Sodden … when we come back in the next book, we’ve actually skipped a lot of time. … Well, we found in writing the show that we didn’t actually want to skip over those first months of them getting to know each other.”
Hissrich has also spoken to Collider about where the series could go beyond the second season, including where it might end.
“It’s a delicate dance because you have to be able to have a conceit of where you’re going,” she said. “Your stories need an end point. They need a direction to aim towards.
“I’m sure, at some point, that I said I could write seven seasons but I’m also sure that I said I could write 20 seasons. I will continue writing this series as long as it makes sense to write this series. That means taking, organically, from the books and allowing story to flow, but then also allowing the story to end when it needs to end.”
So, provided season two sees similar levels of success as the first, there could be a lot more adventures in store for Geralt and his crew… (Click here to read more about the Witcher book to TV differences.)
Will there be another Witcher timeline in season 2?
Notably, The Witcher will ditch its controversial time-jumping narrative structure in season two, which proved to be confusing to some viewers who were not familiar with the books.
Hissrich told The Wrap: “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 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.
“So I think it will be a lot easier for the audience follow and understand, especially a new audience coming in. But there are still going to be some fun challenges with time.
“I do hear that there was an audience out there that was a little like, ‘What the hell is going on? Why don’t I understand this?'” she added. “I think for those people, Season 2 will be a lot easier to follow. I think Season 2 aligns all of our characters on a similar timeline. We’re playing with time a little bit still, but in a different way, an easier, I think, to swallow away.”
The Witcher season 2 cast
Unsurprisingly, Superman’s alter ego Henry Cavill will return as Geralt of Rivia, with Freya Allan as the prophesied Princess Ciri. Anya Chalotra will play sorceress and love interest Yennefer and Jodhi May will reappear as Queen Calanthe, with Joey Batey back as fan-favourite bard and sidekick Jaskier (sometimes called Dandelion in the novels).
It was announced by Deadline in February 2020 that Kim Bodnia would play experienced Golden Age Witcher (and Geralt’s father figure) Vesemir, hot off his role as Villanelle’s handler in Killing Eve.
Speaking of the casting, Hissrich said: “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.”
There are also a number of new cast members set to feature in the second series. They include: Yasen Atour (Young Wallander) as Coen, Agnes Bjorn (Monster) as Vereena, Paul Bullion (Peaky Blinders) as Lambert, Thue Ersted Rasmussen (Fast and Furious 9) as Eskel, Aisha Fabienne Ross (The Danish Girl) as Lydia and newcomer Mecia Simson, who will play Francesca.
Another recent addition to the cast is Game of Thrones star Kristofer Hivju, who tested positive for coronavirus after filming on The Witcher shut down, but has since made a full recovery.
The Witcher’s fight choreographer Vladimír Furdík, who played the Night King in Game of Thrones, won’t return for season two.
And reports suggest that Dolitte star Carmel Laniado will be joining the cast for series 2, playing the supporting role of Violet.
Will the Witcher season 2 reference the video games?
Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, with the Witcher III version of the character (Netflix, CD Projekt Red)
Apparently so! After a subtle nod in season one (via Geralt in a bath tub), Hissrich has hinted that we haven’t seen the last of the videogame Easter Eggs.
“We love the games,” Hissrich told TV Guide.
“Obviously what we wanted to do is go back to the source material, not to do an adaptation of an adaptation. But it doesn’t mean that we’re not fans of the games ourselves, that we don’t play them ourselves, and that we know that a huge part of our audience has only heard of The Witcher because of the video games.
So we do want to pay homage to it, to them as often as possible. And also I’ve been to CD Projekt Red. I’ve met all of all of those really talented people there. And what they do is amazing. So, if we can offer them a wink and a nod whenever we can, we will.”
We can hardly wait to see what they’ve got in store.
The Witcher is streaming now on Netflix – check out our lists of the best TV shows on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide.