It took years for The Witcher to get the onscreen adaptation it deserves, and while fans won’t have to wait that long for the anticipated second season of the Netflix series, the hiatus has still felt far too long for our liking. Luckily, Netflix tossed us a coin and announced that The Witcher Season 2 went back into production.
The Witcher is inspired by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski‘s Witcher books, which also spawned the popular CD Projekt Red video game franchise. The show stars Henry Cavill as monster hunter Geralt of Rivia, a witcher whose destiny becomes bound to the sorceress Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) and the powerful princess Ciri (Freya Allan). The first season was told across three timelines, each of which followed one of the three main characters. But now that all three timelines have caught up to each other, we can’t wait for Season 2 so that the series can really delve into the relationships between Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri.
So what can we expect of The Witcher Season 2? Here’s everything we know so far.
It is still expected to premiere in 2021. After shutting down production on March 16, The Witcher Season 2 resumed production in the U.K. on Aug. 17. Despite the five-month production suspension, Season 2 is still expected to have a 2021 release date. However, Deadline reports that production was shut down again in November after four positive COVID-19 tests on set; none of the positive cases were reportedly among the main cast.
The main cast will return. Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, and Freya Allen will all reprise their roles as Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri, respectively. Other returning cast members include Joey Batey (Jaskier), MyAnna Buring (Tissaia), Tom Canton (Filavandrel), Lilly Cooper (Murta), Jeremy Crawford (Yarpin Zigrin), Eamon Farren (Cahir), Mahesh Jadu (Vilgefortz), Terence Maynard (Artorius), Lars Mikkelsen (Stregobor), Mimi Ndiweni (Fringilla Vigo), Royce Pierreson (Istredd), Wilson Radjou-Pujalte (Dara), Anna Shaffer (Triss Merigold), and Therica Wilson Read (Sabrina).
Netflix has released the official Season 2 description: In October, the streaming service shared the logline for The Witcher‘s second season. It reads: “Convinced Yennefer’s life was lost at the Battle of Sodden, Geralt of Rivia brings Princess Cirilla to the safest place he knows, his childhood home of Kaer Morhen. While the Continent’s kings, elves, humans and demons strive for supremacy outside its walls, he must protect the girl from something far more dangerous: the mysterious power she possesses inside.” Netflix also shared the first photos from the season, which feature Henry Cavill’s monster hunter Geralt of Rivia and Freya Allan’s Princess Cirilla.
It will consist of eight episodes. Keeping form with its freshman run, Season 2 of The Witcher will once again be made up of eight episodes. Stephen Surjik will direct Episodes 1 and 2, Sarah O’Gorman will direct Episodes 3 and 4, Ed Bazalgette will direct Episodes 5 and 8, and Geeta Patel will direct Episodes 6 and 7.
The timeline won’t be as confusing. Many viewers struggled to keep track of the show’s three separate timelines in Season 1 (which you can find explained here), but these fans will be relieved to know this won’t be as big of an issue in Season 2. During a Reddit AMA in January 2020, Hissrich confirmed that the structure “will definitely change” in Season 2, and their “stories have begun to converge.” Hissrich did tease in the spring, though, that the show will still be “playing with time a little bit still, but in a different way, an easier, I think, to swallow way.”
The series is introducing a lot of new characters from the books. In February, Netflix announced new additions to The Witcher cast, including that Game of Thrones‘ Kristofer Hivju in the role of Nivellen. Agnes Bjorn will play Vereena, who is a key role in the Nivellen storyline. Aisha Fabienne Ross will play Lydia, a sorceress and assistant to Vilgefortz. Mecia Simson has been cast as Francesa, and though Netflix didn’t include a last name for the character, book readers can probably safely assume the actress will be playing Francesca Findabair aka Enid an Gleanna, a powerful elven ruler.
Redanian Intelligence reports that Codringher and Fenn, as well as Dijkstra and Rience, will factor into Season 2, although castings have yet to be announced. The reliable Witcher fan site also reports that Ithlinne Aegli aep Aevenien, who created the prophecy that influences so much of the series, may appear in the season.
Season 2 will likely draw inspiration from Blood of Elves. While the first season was largely an adaptation of the two short story collections The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, Season 2 will probably draw most of its inspiration from the first novel in The Witcher Saga, Blood of Elves. Unlike the short stories, which jumped around in time and location a lot, the five-novel series tells one cohesive storyline about Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri as they fight to protect Ciri from those who wish to harm or control her.
We’re going to meet Geralt’s witcher family. Blood of Elves kicks off with Geralt and Ciri at Kaer Morhen, an old keep that witchers are trained at. And based on the casting of multiple other witchers, we’re guessing we’ll be following our heroes to the castle, where Ciri will likely begin training to be a witcher herself. Season 2 has already announced castings for Coen (Yasen Atour) and Lambert (Paul Bullion). The role of Eskel was originally cast with Thue Ersted Rasmussen, but due to rescheduling conflicts as a result of the production delay, the part was recast with Basil Eidenbenz. In May, Redanian Intelligence reported that Joel Adrian had also joined the cast as a new witcher character, Hemrik.
We’ll also be meeting Vesemir (Kim Bodnia), who is the oldest and most experienced witcher, and the closest thing Geralt has to a father. “And what a better time to meet Vesemir, his father, than when he’s raising a daughter of his own. So we start to look back at who were Geralt’s parenting models, what did his family look like? And what Season 2 becomes, to an extent, is what we got to do with Yennefer and Ciri in Season 1, which is explore where these characters came from,” Hissrich told TV Guide.
Season 2 will introduce more original characters. The Witcher Season 1 featured a handful of characters who didn’t originate in the books, and Season 2 will follow suit. In February, it was announced that Carmel Laniado has joined the cast in a recurring role as Violet, “a young girl whose playful and whimsical demeanor is a front for a smarter and more sadistic character,” per Deadline. While Violet wasn’t featured in the books, fans of the popular video game franchise likely can’t help thinking of the violet rose prominently featured in the Hearts of Stone expansion. The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has been very clear that the series isn’t adapting the games, but there’s always the chance this new character Violet may prove to be a subtle nod to them and the tragic violet rose storyline.
Other new characters coming to The Witcher Season 2 include Lesley Ewen as Meena Coppercloth and Andrew Paul and Colin Coppercloth, per Redanian Intelligence.
Season 2 won’t just be based on the novels. New characters Nivellen and Vereena both originated in the short story “A Grain of Truth” from the first book, The Last Wish. “A Grain of Truth,” which is about a cursed man in a complicated romantic relationship (it’s also the books’ take on Beauty and the Beast), is one of the few short stories from The Last Wish that wasn’t include in The Witcher Season 1.
As of now, no casting announcements have indicated that Season 2 will draw directly upon any of the short stories from Sword of Destiny that haven’t already been featured — including “Eternal Flame” or “A Little Sacrifice” — but that doesn’t mean these storylines won’t be featured in the series next season or down the line.
There will be more video game Easter eggs. When asked whether the show would continue to pay homage to the CD Projekt Red video games, Hissrich said fans could definitely expect more Easter eggs woven in. “Obviously, what we wanted to do is go back to the source material, not to do an adaptation of an adaptation,” Hissrich said. “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, we want to pay homage to it, to them as often as possible.”
We’ll see new sides of Nilfgaard’s most formidable fighters. So much of Season 1 was driven by the conflict with Nilfgaard, who served as antagonists to pretty much everyone. However, Season 2 will spend more time with Cahir and Fringilla, and they may just prove they aren’t the villains Ciri and Yennefer seem to think they are.
“One of the things that we worked hard at in Season 1 was to establish that Nilfgaard seems like our bad guys. They seem like our villains. What’s fun in Season 2 is we start peeling back those layers a little bit more,” creator Lauren Schmidt Hissrich teased. “We start digging into what Nilfgaard actually wants and why Cahir and Fringilla, these characters that we love, feel like they are best served in this kingdom. And I think both of them get to show really surprising things this season.”
We can expect more terrifying monsters. Although none of the creatures monster slayer Geralt and the others will face in Season 2 have been confirmed, Redanian Intelligence speculates that we may see a leshy, which featured prominently in The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, and a myriapod, which was memorably featured in the short story where Geralt and Ciri first meet and is similar to the giant centipedes in The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine. Redanian Intelligence also reports that there’s a chance we could see more of Aretuza’s eels, despite their polarizing reception in Season 1.
Season 2 isn’t the only Witcher content heading our way. In January 2020, Netflix announced that they were making an anime feature film set in The Witcher universe, titled The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. The film will explore a new threat facing the Continent, prior to the events of the series, and follow the adventures of Vesmir.
In July, Netflix also revealed a live-action prequel series, The Witcher: Blood Origin. The six-part limited series will be set in an elven world 1,200 years before the events of the flagship drama and reveal the origins of the first witcher as well as the events that lead up to the Conjunction of the Spheres.
The Witcher Season 1 is available on Netflix.