It’s fair to say that fans have been waiting a while for A Discovery of Witches season two, with the vampire/witch romance adventure – adapted from the books by Deborah Harkness – returning after a gap of over two years since its acclaimed first series aired its last episode.
Now, though, season two is imminent with A Discovery of Witches season three filming already – and according to series stars Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer (who play vampire Matthew and witch Diana), even they had some trouble readjusting to their characters after a 16-month break from set.
“For me, it was such a long gap, that actually I had a lot of trepidation stepping back,” Goode told RadioTimes.com and other press during season two filming.
“I was like, ‘I can’t f**king remember how I did it.’ And then also, certainly for my character, it’s a very different series, really, because he regresses into his past, and psychologically that really changes him. So I think that’s one of the reasons why I felt a little bit discombobulated.”
“I do like the familiarity of, you know, living and breathing a character for a while, then you take a break, and you get to come back in and get beneath who they are,” Palmer added.
“It’s been really fun this season because I’m getting to do so much more magic stuff, and learning about weaving, and the history behind witches, and the idea of the threads of the universe, and weaving them together.”
Following star-crossed lovers Matthew and Diana’s escape into the past at the end of series one, series two sees the pair in Elizabethan London (specifically 1590), where they have to stay under the radar and find Diana a magic teacher while Matthew poses as his younger self.
“To be thrust back so many years, is incredibly confronting and challenging, and Diana’s in a very vulnerable position,” Palmer told us. “So she’s having to navigate lots of different things.
“It’s enthralling and exciting, but also she understands the danger. And then it’s hard for her because when we go back in time, the Matthew that she knows seems really different. So he shifts into this darker version of who he is.”
“He regresses,” Goode explained. “He’s evolved from 1590 to where we first saw him. Obviously, he’s controlling his blood rage, and he’s just a very different person. So when he goes back, his friends are immediately spun out by the fact that he clearly isn’t [his former self] Matthew Roydon anymore.”
And off-camera, the actors were feeling the pressure as well. After fans responded positively to the first series, the build-up for the long-delayed series two means that expectations are sky-high, with both Goode and Palmer hoping that viewers would respond well to the big story shift in the new episodes.
“I think going back in time, it suddenly becomes a period drama, so there’s many more things you have to think about,” Goode told us.
“But I don’t think we’re sitting on our laurels. Our immediate reaction was…”
“How do we make it even better and go deeper with it?” Palmer said, finishing his thought.
However, Goode did note that fans would have to be prepared for more changes to the source material, which had already been majorly diverged from in series one.
“They’re incredibly difficult books to adapt, so there are going to be people who are huge fans of the book that might be like I am, where you’re not disappointed but you’re like, ‘Why isn’t that in there?’.” Goode said. “Obviously you have to make those changes and they can be occasionally quite broad.
“But we think we’ve made something so far that’s going to appease both sides. It can be a difficult story to follow. So we’ve had to change the order of events.”
“But it’s all under the guise of [author] Deb Harkness, which is great,” Palmer added. “Man, it comes with its challenges, absolutely. But knowing that she’s steering this ship takes the pressure off, I think, because the fans really look to her to dictate how the story goes, and what’s included, and what’s not.”
Overall it sounds like A Discovery of Witches series two will be worth the long, long wait – and despite their early concerns, it seems like Goode and Palmer had a better time than ever making it.
“I think we’ve had more laughter than season one – by quite a bit,” Goode told us.
“Yeah, it’s been fun,” agreed Palmer.
“Though I can’t wait to get back into modern dress,” Goode laughed.
A Discovery of Witches series two comes to Sky One on Friday 8th January. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide.