With a clutch of cliffhangers leaving The Witcher fans on tenterhooks at the end of the first season, viewers will be thrilled to hear that Henry Cavill will soon be returning to our screens with his twin swords and big grey wig in season two.
While Geralt (Cavill) defeated a host of ghouls in the final episode and found himself reunited with Ciri (Freya Allen), the show’s second protagonist, Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra), wasn’t so fortunate.
The season one finale saw Yennefer fighting for her people at the Battle of Sodden Hill and gathering all of her magic – her chaos - to kill the Nilfgaardian warriors in an epic fire blast. After Yennefer disappeared, fans were left worrying that she had been killed off.
But here’s the good news – she’s very much alive. A clip of the Witcher season two on the show’s official Twitter account has shown Tissaia thanking Yennefer for her show of strength in the Battle of Sodden Hill. There’s trouble brewing for Yennefer in the clip, however, when Tissaia asks her to lay low for now – will she obey?
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While we can certainly expect Geralt to have retained his signature gruffness and unflinching approach to killing, Cavill has teased that his character will show a more ‘soulful’ side in season two.
The new season will delve further into the relationship between Geralt and Princess Cirilla as they make a trip to his childhood home of Kaer Morhen. “With this season I was really excited to explore, especially with the Geralt and Ciri relationship, the wisdom of who Geralt is,” Cavill told NME at the London premiere. “In the first season, he’s not really explored as a character and so when we see the fact he’s actually 70+ years old, he’s not going to be a fool.
“We get to see how he operates with Ciri and how he works softly with her,” he added. “After all, this is a young person who has gone through a traumatic experience. For me, [it] was really important to show the intelligent side of Geralt, the wisdom side of Geralt and the soulfulness.”
Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has also revealed that the second season of The Witcher will explore new emotional depths.
Speaking about how season two will show us Geralt’s “softer side”, she told Den of Geek: “I would say we get to see more of his intellectual side, which was something I was keen to introduce.
“Because season one was a particular choice–he was in the outside world and had a particular way of doing things. And [he] was without the luxury of opportunity for vast swathes of dialogue, which we often find in the books. I found it better to make him a listener and a watcher. Now that this second season has come around, he gets to be a bit more verbose,” she added.
In addition, a newly released clip makes clear the new season will provide more depth and insight into Freya Allen’s character Princess Ciri. The footage shows Ciri in training at Kaer Morhen as she goes head-to-head with an enormous pendulum.
While The Witcher season two will shed light on our old favourite characters, it will also introduce some new ones along the way. “Basically, we set the chessboard in season one,” Hissrich said. “In season two, the world is bigger. We are tracking a lot more groups of people this season. We have Geralt and Ciri and Yen, but we also have the elves and we’re sort of digging into their story.
“We meet Dijkstra and we get into Redania’s story and Philippa who everyone cannot wait to [finally] see,” Hissrich continued. “You have mages. You have Nilfgaard. You have the rest of the Northern kingdoms. There are all these players on the board now.”
Notably, Kim Bodnia (Killing Eve) is set to appear in The Witcher season two, as Vesemir, Geralt's mentor. He is just one of the new Witchers set to arrive in the second season of the fantasy epic, alongside Coen (Yasen Atour), Lambert (Paul Bullion) and Eskel (Basil Eidenbenz).
And that’s not the only good news. Netflix has already confirmed that it will make a third season of The Witcher at the recent TUDUM event, meaning season two won’t be the end of the road.
Without further ado, read on for your ultimate guide to everything you need to know about Netflix’s The Witcher season two release date, cast and trailers.
The Witcher season 2 release date
Fans can start streaming The Witcher season two on Netflix on 17th December 2021, the streaming service has officially confirmed.
The news was announced as part of the first ever WitcherCon in July 2021, and came two months after the streamer announced in a letter to investors that the series would be returning in the second half of 2021
Previously, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich had confirmed the show would return this year in a Reddit AMA: “We don’t yet have a target launch date for season two past 2021. We don’t want to rush the product. That doesn’t benefit anyone.”
The episodes have been a long time coming due to the pandemic, with filming halted for five months between March and August 2020, with another interruption coming in November after a crew member tested positive.
Filming finally wrapped on The Witcher season two in April (more than a year since it first got underway), with the team sharing a picture of Henry Cavill’s last day on set to celebrate.
There will be plenty more to come – hopefully a good deal quicker – as The Witcher has already been renewed for a third season, before the second has even debuted (as confirmed at Netflix's TUDUM event).
The Witcher season 2 cast: Who's new and who's returning?
The main characters from the show's first outing are all set to return for The Witcher season two – Netflix has revealed the full cast with a few key new additions.
Unsurprisingly, 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). Deadline reported in February 2020 that Kim Bodnia (Killing Eve) will also play Witcher trainer Vesemir.
Returning from The Witcher season one are; Triss (Anna Shaffer), Cahir (Eamon Farren), Tissaia (MyAnna Buring), Yarpen Zigrin (Jeremy Crawford), Stregobor (Lars Mikkelson), Artorius (Terence Maynard), Sabrina (Therica Wilson Read), Filavandrel (Tom Canton), Murta (Lilly Cooper), and Istredd (Royce Pierreson).
There are reportedly three new witchers joining The Witcher cast too. Paul Bullion (Peaky Blinders) joins as Lambert, Yasen Atour (Young Wallander) as Coen. Netflix has only confirmed the pair joined the cast, while Redanian Intelligence has suggested they will play Witchers. Lambert is in the games and books as a member of the Wolf Witcher school - like Geralt.
It was reported in September 2020 that Eskel had been recast due to the coronavirus pandemic changing schedules. Fast and Furious 9 star Thue Ersted Rasmussen was initially cast as Eskel and had begun filming, but had to pull out over a scheduling clash. He was replaced by Basil Eidenbenz (Victoria).
The addition of new Witchers could suggest that we'll see a diversion from the games and books in season two. The Witchers are dying out in the video games, despite there being references to other Witcher schools. Perhaps the increase in numbers means a change in story.
Redanian Intelligence also posted a rumour in May 2020, saying there could be a third Witcher called Hemrik played by Joel Adrian.
As for official casting announcements, Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones) will play Nivellen, a cursed animal-like man loosely based on the Beast from Beauty and the Beast (notably, some of the Witcher’s adventures are drawn from fairy tales).
Newcomer Mecia Simpson stars as Francesca, Aisha Fabienne Ross (The Danish Girl) as Lydia, Agnes Bjorn (Monster) as Vereena and Deadline reported Dolittle star Carmel Laniado will star as Violet, a younger character guest starring for three episodes.
Redanian Intelligence has also reported a few other game-based characters are destined for season two. Queen Meve of Lyria and Rivia from Thronebreaker: The Witcher tales is set to be played by Rebecca Hanssen and Alastair Parker is set to star in an unconfirmed role. Parker did, however, star as Cleaver in The Witcher 3 video game.
Later in December 2020, several new cast members were announced for the series – including Emily Pollet (Emmerdale), James Eeles (Peaky Blinders), Cayvan Coates and Rebecca Hanssen (Dixi).
Then in March 2021 even more cast were announced by Netflix; Adjoa Andoh as priestess of Melitele Nenneke, a character from the books, Liz Carr as Fenn, Simon Callow as Fenn's partner Codringher, Graham McTavish (Outlander) as spy Dijkstra, Chris Fulton as mage Rience, Cassie Clare as powerful sorceress Philippa Eilhart and Kevin Doyle as new character Ba'Lian.
If you're already thinking that's a pretty packed cast, think again, because more cast announcements followed. Sam Hazedine will play Red Rider leader Eredin, Niamh McCormack is elven sorceress Lara Dorren and veteran actress Ann Firbank will portray elven oracle Ithlinne.
Joseph Payne has been also been cast as Jarre, Ed Birch as Redania’s king Vizimir, Ania Marson as the mysterious Voleth Meir and Emily Byrt as original character Aylne. Phew.
The Witcher’s fight choreographer Vladimír Furdík, who played the Night King in Game of Thrones, won’t return for season two.
The Witcher season 2 episodes
The upcoming second season of The Witcher will comprise of eight episodes, the same number as the first season, which will be available to stream on Netflix.
At WitcherCon, Netflix unveiled the list of episode titles, bar one: the finale.
Episode one: A Grain of Truth
Episode two: Kaer Morhen
Episode three: What Is Lost
Episode four: Redanian Intelligence
Episode five: Turn Your Back
Episode six: Dear Friend
Episode seven: Voleth Meir
Episode eight: TBC
The first episode, A Grain of Truth, is based on a short story of the same name by The Witcher creator Andrzej Sapkowski, and showrunner Hissrich explains below why it was the perfect place to kick off season two.
The Witcher season 2 trailer
Netflix's TUDUM event took place in September 2021, giving fans updates and glimpses at a number of major shows from the streaming service, including a key focus on all things The Witcher.
Two clips from the second season were released online, with the first seeing Geralt and Ciri rush into action when a monster gets into the house where they are hiding out. Watch below.
The next clip introduced a fan favourite character from the books named Nivellen, to be played by Game of Thrones star Kristofer Hivju, who is an old friend of Geralt's.
The first full trailer for the series arrived in July 2021 at WitcherCon, the same event where the release date of the new episodes was finally announced.
The approximately two-minute-long clip sees Geralt taking Ciri to a new base in Kaer Morhen and imparting some vital advice to her – check it out below:
And a second trailer was released a few months later, in October 2021 – this time offering a detailed look at some of the terrifying monsters Geralt will have to do battle with in the new run – you can watch in full below:
When filming finally wrapped in April, Netflix released a special behind-the-scenes video showing cast and crew celebrating the news, with showrunner Hissrich explaining the epic 158-day shoot.
In a clip shared by Netflix at the end of November 2021, the streaming service gave fans a glimpse at a new giant monster called the Myriapod, which Geralt will be forced to battle. Video game fans may be familiar with a bigger version of the bug called the Viy of Maribor. But whether Geralt manages to squish the giant bug remains to be seen, and viewers will have to tune into the series to find out.
The Witcher first reactions and reviews
The first reviews for The Witcher season 2 have begun to arrive – and the reviews are largely positive.
Eammon Jacobs awarded The Witcher season 2 three stars out of five for RadioTimes.com.
"Cavill has much more to play with this season as he touches on what makes Geralt tick and what his life was like training under elder monster-hunter Vesemir (Kim Bodnia) at the Witcher stronghold, Kaer Morhen. So although he’s still a grumpy brawler, our lead is refreshingly chatty this time around," he penned.
"Overall, yes, The Witcher season two has a few missteps along the way with some questionable decisions and meandering storylines. But if you’re looking for more horrific monsters, riveting fights, and magical mysteries, then there’s plenty to love."
David Opie of Digital Spy gave The Witcher season two a positive review, penning: “Geralt is also fleshed out more in relation to the characters who surround him. Not only do old companions from his past appear, including Vesemir, his old mentor, but the core of this season now revolves around Geralt's paternal relationship with Ciri, another character who is vastly improved as well.
"No longer a mere damsel in distress, Freya Allan's character has far more agency this time around, even if she's still bound by prophecy and the whims of others to at least some degree. As the other key female character, Yennefer also plays a vital role here once again with an arc that takes some surprising turns which fans might not expect."
Nick Hilton of the Independent commented: "The colours have a brightness that at times feel almost like a comic book. Every character is lit with the audience’s eyesight in mind (more than can be said for the raft of shows so dark they need to be watched with head torch equipped). All of this allows the viewers to see the beautiful, expensive landscapes, and the equally beautiful, expensive cast, who seem to have been assembled as a super group of high cheekbones, the Cream of bone structure.
“For all that the acting and writing is frequently ropey – “You’d be married off to the nearest Lord of Bad Breath” and “They lick the boots of humans, the same boots that will eventually crush their necks” are two of the main offenders – it has the pleasantly self-effacing air of a show that knows its first season wasn’t a home run."
The Witcher season 2 plot: What is it about?
The official synopsis for The Witcher season two places Ciri at the heart of the upcoming episodes. We left Geralt thinking Yennefer died at the Battle of Sodden at the end of season one. The shift isn't too unexpected as the books make Ciri's story central to the whole franchise.
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 season set to mine more from that material as well as the first mainline instalment, Blood of Elves.
The Witcher season one also told stories in various places across a non-linear timeline, something which is being ditched this season.
“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.”
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.
However, new story details have suggested that Ciri will head to Witcher stronghold Kaer Morhen where she may (based on new image above) take on Witcher-type training, as in the books. The new December photos also appear to be of Kaer Morhen, seeming to confirm the news.
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 two, 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 two 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.”
Netflix previously released a very brief first look at what’s to come, hidden in a montage of creature encounters from the first season.
Set to the unmistakable tune of Bobby Pickett’s Monster Mash, fans should keep an eye out around the 15 second mark, and again at 31 seconds, for two blink-and-you’ll-miss-them new clips.
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 with quite a few differences from The Witcher books.
Netflix offered fans a sneak peek at the script for the first episode of season two, tweeting the very first page. The script introduces us to a new character called Colin Coppercloth, who walks through a small and silent village at night with his family, seemingly looking for lodgings before a violent incident sees his wife go missing and his daughter covered in blood.
If that's left you wanting more, you should check out our The Witcher season 2 review.
The Witcher season 2 first images and photos
Back in October 2020, Netflix released first look images of main characters Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri from shooting The Witcher season two.
In the images Ciri is holding a weapon, leaving fans wondering if the next season will explore how she trained at Kaer Morhen, while the first page of the script for The Witcher season two generated more conversation.
In July, WitcherCon also saw some more glimpses revealed, including a first look at Jaskier in season two and a peek at Ciri in training.
several more images were released in October 2021 – offering some new glimpses of Geralt, Ciri and Triss. And at the same time, some of the show's key supporting characters also appeared in some new images, check out all the new snaps below:
The Witcher season 2 prequel: What is The Witcher: Blood Origin?
Netflix announced back in July 2020 that the series would get a spin-off, The Witcher: Blood Origin, a six-parter prequel focusing on the first ever Witcher.
A synopsis has been released: "1,200 years before Geralt of Rivia, the worlds of monsters, men and elves merged into one, and the first Witcher came to be."
Series writer Declan de Barra is working on the new spin-off along with Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. The series will have a new cast.
The Witcher animated movie
Earlier this year, Netflix released an anime-style Witcher movie called The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, written by Beau DeMayo, who wrote episode three of The Witcher season one.
The plot focuses on Vesemir, Geralt's mentor, and a familiar character for those familiar with the books and games. Studio Mir is animating the movie that takes viewers "back to a new threat facing the Continent".
Read more: The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf review
Theo James voices Vesemir in the film, a younger version of the character than is depicted in live-action by Killing Eve's Kim Bodnia, with the official synopsis teasing what fans can expect.
"Long before mentoring Geralt, Vesemir begins his own journey as a Witcher after the mysterious Delgan claims him through the Law of Surprise," it reads.
- For the latest news and expert tips on getting the best deals this year, take a look at our Black Friday 2021 and Cyber Monday 2021 guides.
The Witcher timeline: Why is The Witcher season 2 now linear?
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.
Speaking to Vulture, Hissrich said while she felt the "audience is incredibly smart" she had "misunderstood what everyone was looking for in their entertainment".
Season one's ending brought all the threads together setting us up for a simpler season two plot.
“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," Hissrich told The Wrap.
“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.
Will there be The Witcher season 3?
Yes, The Witcher has officially been renewed for a third season on Netflix, announced alongside a second animated movie and a family friendly spin-off, while previously announced Blood Origin is still on the way.
Showrunner Hissrich has said there are ideas for seven seasons, with the games and books providing plenty of source material for the writing team to draw on.
The Witcher season 2 video game Easter eggs
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 video game 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. Anyone for Gwent?
The most notable addition from the games, however, look to be the Wild Hunt, otherworld-y spectres who appeared in the books but were notably the main antagonists of the third video game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Rumours spread after Cassie Clare was cast as Phillippa Eilhart – a key character in the second and third Witcher games – and set photos from filming in Devon seem to show the Wild Hunt themselves in action.
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