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The Witcher season 2: what we know from release date to cast, first photos and trailer

The Witcher season 2 will be released on Netflix in 2021.

Geralt of Rivia

It’s been over 18 months since we last saw Geralt of Rivia and Crown Princess Ciri on screen – but Netflix has finally provided the first footage of season two.

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At only twelve seconds long, there’s not a whole lot to unpack, but the quick-cut nature of the teaser may well reveal some clues about Freya Allan’s Ciri if you’re quick with the pause button.

It’s likely we’ll see a lot more at the virtual fan event Witchercon, which Netflix is jointly hosting with CD PROJEKT RED, the company behind the popular Witcher video game series.

Described as “an epic event for Witcher fans old and new,” the convention will stream on both Twitch and YouTube on Friday 9th July and is set to please both fans of the games and the series.

As well as more – hopefully slightly longer – footage, we’ve also been promised interactive panels, some exclusive behind-the-scenes and “expert explorations into the lore, legends, monsters and origins of the Continent”.

The exciting event should tide fans over until the second season arrives later in 2021, likely for a Christmas release following the success of season one’s December 2019 debut.

It was announced at the beginning of April that The Witcher season 2 had finally finished filming, after a year and a half(!) of delays caused by the pandemic.

We know season two will pick up the story where we left off, but with fewer time jumps and less non-linear storytelling as all the characters will now be in the same timeline – while Netflix has also teased lots (and lots) of new cast members for the upcoming run.

Read on for your ultimate guide to everything you need to know about Netflix’s The Witcher season 2.

The Witcher season 2 release date

Confirmed: The Witcher season two will get a 2021 release date, according to Netflix.

In a recent letter to investors Netflix said: “We anticipate paid membership growth will re-accelerate in the second half of 2021 as we ramp into a very strong back half slate with the return of big hits like Sex Education, The Witcher, La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist), and You.”

That period technically covers anytime from the start of October to the end of December, but we’d bet on the show returning to a Christmas release slot given it proved so successful the first time around.

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.

Fortunately, filming has finally wrapped (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.

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.

More photos were released in December along with the first page of the script for The Witcher season two, episode one.

The Witcher script
The Witcher script (Netflix)
Netflix

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 witches 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.

Is there a The Witcher season 2 trailer yet?

Not yet! Filming has just finished so we don’t expect to get a trailer until later in the year, nearer the release date. When filming finally wrapped in April, Netflix released a special behind-the-scenes video showing cast and crew celebrating the news.

As part of Netflix’s Geeked Week in June 2021, we finally the first footage of season two – the VERY brief teaser focuses on Ciri and features several blink-and-you’ll-miss-it easter eggs:

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 images, 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 has already 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.

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

As well as The Witcher season two there will be an anime-style Witcher movie called The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. There’s no release date yet, but it sounds like it could be released before season two, with a leak (later pulled) suggesting that the animation could have a one hour and 21 minutes long runtime.

The animation is written by Beau DeMayo, who wrote episode three, season one of The Witcher. 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 will take us “back to a new threat facing the Continent”.

With Killing Eve’s Kim Bodnia playing Vesemir it’s probable he will also voice him in the animation. The official synopsis was added to Netflix, but later pulled. It reads: “Long before mentoring Geralt, Vesemir begins his own journey as a Witcher after the mysterious Delgan claims him through the Law of Surprise.”

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?

It looks like Netflix is committed to the series, with the animated movie and spin-off series in the works. Hissrich has said there are ideas for seven seasons and with the games and books there’s definitely plenty of source material. There’s no news yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

The Witcher season 2 video game Easter eggs 

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 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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The Witcher is streaming now on Netflix – check out our lists of the best series on Netflix and the best movies, or see what else is on with our TV Guide. Visit our Sci-fi hub for all the latest news.