Toss a coin to your Witcher, because The Witcher season 2 will be here before the end of the year. And The Witcher season 3 is officially on the way, too, as Netflix secures the future of its big new fantasy franchise.
After the fate of the Iron Throne was decided in the Game of Thrones finale, we had mere months to wait for our next epic fantasy fix to arrive, in the form of Netflix’s hit adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s bestselling novels. Although The Witcher season 2 has taken its time coming, the streaming giant has now confirmed that the new run of eight episodes will debut on December 17, a whole two years after its predecessor.
As expected, movie Superman Henry Cavill returns as the eponymous monster-hunting Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, continuing his adventures across the vast world of the Continent. With the complex multiple timelines of the first season now aligned, The Witcher season 2 unites Geralt with orphaned princess Ciri (Freya Allan), and you can guarantee it won’t be too long before they cross paths with the show’s third viewpoint character, the mage known as Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra).
We’ve been on an extensive fact-finding mission through Geralt’s world, to find out what’s in store in The Witcher season 2 – from release date and first trailer, to plot details, episode titles and new characters. With more Witchers, more magic, more double-crossing and more political intrigue on the menu, this sophomore year is set to be just as essential as the first…
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The Witcher season 2 release date: December 17, 2021
The Witcher Season 2 premieres December 17! pic.twitter.com/8GXtt6adT7July 9, 2021
The Witcher season 2 will be released on December 17, 2021, as revealed by Netflix during the WitcherCon virtual event in July 2021. The wait is almost over!
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The Witcher season 2 trailer: see all of them so far
Netflix released the full two-minute teaser trailer for The Witcher season 2 in July 2021, as part of the WitcherCon event – check it out above.
Seeing as much of the first season focused on Geralt's efforts to fulfil the Law of Surprise binding him to Ciri, the young, orphaned heir/Lion Cub of Cintra, it's no shock that this first The Witcher season 2 trailer picks things up with them.
Now that Geralt has made contact with Ciri, he takes her under his wing, taking her to Kaer Morhen – the citadel where he learned his Witcher skills. Presumably he's planning to train her in the ways of the Witcher, while she works out her place in the Continent after the deaths of her family and loss of her kingdom – she admits that “sometimes I feel so afraid, I feel like I could burn the whole world.”
There's also a brief sighting of the final member of The Witcher's central triumvirate, Yennefer of Vengerberg, in the aftermath of season 1's climactic Battle of Sodden Hill. She's been found by Fringilla, the Nilfgaardian mage who was pivotal in the downfall of Cintra, who simply tells her: “Welcome back…” Does this mean Yennefer will start The Witcher season 2 in Nilfgaardian custody? Surely Fringilla and Yennefer aren't about to become friends…
“We're digging deeper into [Fringilla’s] past and how she ended up at Nilfgaard,” showrunner Lauren S Hissrich told Vulture. “Who she is as a person, and how she and Yennefer ended up on such different paths.”
In September 2021, Netflix released a new trailer that cut together clips from season 1 with a ton of new footage from season 2 – including a first proper look at Kim Bodnia's Vesemir. Check that out below:
There are two new clips for the show, too, which focus on Geralt's relationship with new character Nivellen (Kristofer Hivju), which you can watch here, and another where Geralt is warding off a monster to protect Ciri. Find that one here.
The Witcher season 2 episode titles have been revealed
The episode titles for season 2 were revealed as part of WitcherCon. They are:
- A Grain of Truth
- Kaer Morhen
- What is Lost
- Redanian Intelligence
- Turn Your Back
- Dear Friend
- Voleth Meir
The eighth and final episode's title is apparently so secret we'll have to wait to learn what it is.
The episode titles offer up a few clues about The Witcher season 2. 'A Grain of Truth' takes its name from a short story in Andrzej Sapkowki’s book The Last Wish, which features Nivellen, the character played by Game of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju in The Witcher season 2. 'Kaer Morhen' is the name of a fortress where Witchers are trained. 'Redanian Intelligence' refers to Redania, a country on the Continent that possesses an exceptional spy network – Redanian Intelligence is also the name of a news site devoted to The Witcher. 'Dear Friend' presumably refers to a letter Geralt wrote to Yennefer in the Witcher books. And 'Voleth Meir' refers to a new character played by Ania Marson. Voleth Meir is reportedly elven for 'Deathless Mother', and it seems the character has an important role to play in Ciri's arc.
The Witcher season 2 cast: new and returning cast members, including Vesemir
Netflix has announced most of The Witcher season 2 cast – including confirmations of who'll be playing some major new characters from the books.
The list of returning characters is as follows:
- Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia
- Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg
- Freya Allan as Ciri, the Lion Cub of Cintra
- Joey Batey as Jaskier
- Anna Shaffer as Triss
- Eamon Farren as Cahir
- MyAnna Buring as Tissaia
- Tom Canton as Filvandrel
- Lars Mikkelsen as Stregobor
- Terence Maynard as Artorius
- Therica Wilson Read as Sabrina
- Lilly Cooper as Murta
- Jeremy Crawford as Yarpen Zigrin
- Royce Pierreson as Istredd
- Mimî M Khayisa as Fringilla Vigo
The list of new characters joining The Witcher season 2 cast looks like this:
- Kim Bodnia as Vesemir
- Kristofer Hivju as Nivellen
- Adjoa Andoh as Nenneke
- Liz Carr as Fenn
- Simon Callow as Codringher
- Graham McTavish as Dijkstra
- Kevin Doyle as Ba’Lian
- Chris Fulton as Rience
- Cassie Clare as Philippa Eilhart
- Paul Bullion as Lambert
- Yasen Atour as Coën
- Basil Eidenbenz as Eskel
- Joel Adrian as Hemrik
- Mecia Simson as Francesca
- Aisha Fabienne Ross as Lydia
- Agnes Bjorn as Vereena
- Carmel Laniado as Violet
- Rebecca Hanssen as Queen Meve
- Alastair Parker as TBC
While Geralt was something of a lone (White) wolf in season 1, we’ll be meeting a few more Witchers in season 2.
We know that Killing Eve's Kim Bodnia is playing Witcher trainer Vesemir – who appears as the focus in animated Witcher prequel movie Nightmare of the Wolf – and that we’ll be visiting the Witcher school at Kaer Morhen.
Paul Bullion, Yasen Atour and Basil Eidenbenz are also joining the cast as fellow Witchers Lambert, Coën and Eskel, respectively, while Redanian Intelligence has reported that Joel Adrian will play another Witcher named Hemrik.
Fans of the book and videogames will already be familiar with Lambert and Eskel, both of whom belong to the Geralt and Vesemir’s School of the Wolf. It's interesting that the producers are seemingly throwing in extra Witchers for season 2, seeing as these monster-slaying professionals are typically considered to be a dying breed. While there are references to other Witcher schools like the Cat and Bear in the books, Geralt’s faction seems to be one of the few Witcher groups actively doing anything to fight the monster threat facing the Continent.
In terms of other official announcements for the cast, Kristofer Hivju – best known as Game of Thrones' Tormund Giantsbane – will play Nivellen, a man cursed with the body of a monster. (We’re guessing we’ll see him in the first episode of The Witcher season 2, ‘A Grain of Truth’, seeing as that’s also the name of the Andrzej Sapkowski short story where he appears.)
In March 2021, Netflix revealed seven more characters who had been added to the cast. They were: Bridgerton’s Adjoa Andoh as Nenneke, a priestess of Melitele in the books; Silent Witness’s Liz Carr as Fenn; Four Weddings and a Funeral’s Simon Callow as Fenn's partner, Codringher; Outlander’s Graham McTavish as Redanian armed forces head Dijkstra; Clique’s Chris Fulton as the mage Rience; Cassie Clare as Redanian royal advisor Philippa Eilhart; and Downton Abbey’s Kevin Doyle as Ba'Lian, a new character.
Other castings include Mecia Simson as Francesca, Aisha Fabienne Ross as Lydia and Agnes Bjorn as Vereena. Deadline has also reported that Carmel Laniado has joined the cast as a young character called Violet for at least three episodes.
At least one character from The Witcher games is destined for The Witcher season 2, too. According to Redanian Intelligence, the witty, powerful Queen Meve of Lyria and Rivia, introduced in the game Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, is to be played by Rebecca Hanssen (Enola Holmes). The videogame connections are also set to continue with actor Alastair Parker, who played Cleaver in The Witcher 3 game (also via Redanian Intelligence), who’ll appear in an as-yet unrevealed role.
The Witcher season 2 will have entirely different directors to season 1, and Netflix has confirmed their identities:
- Ed Bazalgette (The Last Kingdom, Doctor Who)
- Sarah O’Gorman (Jamestown, Cursed)
- Geeta Patel (Santa Clarita Diet, Meet the Patels)
- Stephen Surjik (Daredevil, The Umbrella Academy, Wayne’s World 2)
The Witcher season 2 story: what we know so far
Now that we've seen the trailer and read the official synopsis for The Witcher season 2, it's confirmed that, as expected, Ciri will take center stage.
Here's Netflix's official logline on the show's return:
“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.”
It's a season about Geralt becoming a father figure to Ciri, according to showrunner Lauren S Hissrich, so expect that relationship to drive season 2. Geralt – a man who rarely uses words when a grunt will do – might even become a bit more talkative in his new paternal role.
“For me, it was very important to bring Geralt as close to the books as the vision and plot would allow,” said Henry Cavill at WitcherCon (via Redanian Intelligence). “I wanted him to be more verbose and more intellectual and more representative of a man who has lived 70 years and has a philosophical lean. He can be mopey at times but he is also wise. He has been around. He is a nice guy despite having moments of unpleasantness, and capable of extraordinary violence, but his intentions are pure. I wanted to reflect that as much as possible.”
A big talking point of The Witcher season 1 was how it told stories in multiple places and across a non-linear timeline – the now-released official Witcher map and Witcher timeline really help make sense of the show – resulting in a multi-tale anthology of sorts.
In an interview with Vulture discussing the odd structure of season 1, Hissrich said that while she believes “the audience is incredibly smart”, she had “misunderstood what everyone was looking for in their entertainment”. She said “I love to be challenged when I'm watching TV,” but conceded that that wasn't the case for everyone.
However, season 1's climax brought all the separate threads together nicely, priming The Witcher season 2 for a simpler plot and structure. Hissrich has confirmed that Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer exist in the same timeline now, so their stories will be told simultaneously. Indeed, this season will mark the first time Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra have actually acted together, which should make things easier to follow.
“That’s where we ended season 1. That’s absolutely where we will pick up in season two. The stories will be told in a much more linear fashion. They won’t all be one story. It’s not like all three are together and happy all the time. But, I do want to employ some different ways to look at time series-wide.”
That doesn't mean we won't see any of the episodic Geralt monster-hunting adventures that we loved in season 1. Hissrich will be mining “different short stories” for The Witcher season 2 – such as the aforementioned 'A Grain of Truth' – and suggests there's an opportunity for flashback scenes.
Some other changes are coming next year, too. The wrinkly Nilfgaardian armor, which some fans on the internet didn't like, will be upgraded in The Witcher season 2. Hissrich told Flickering Myth's Writer Experience podcast that, “the Nilfgaard armor will be totally different. You have that opportunity [in season 2] to go back and course correct if you want to.”
And when asked by Pure Fandom for a teaser about The Witcher season 2, Hissrich simply had this to say: “Without spoilers, I will say that there’s a crop of new monsters, a new cost to magic, and new and unexpected pairings of our favorite characters.”
The Witcher season 3 is confirmed – and more seasons may follow
The first season of The Witcher shrugged off the idea that it was just here to fill a Game of Thrones-shaped hole in our lives. It confidently told stories in its own way and presented a fantasy world that has already captured people's imaginations on their Xboxes and PlayStations. And, while we are unlikely to see much spillover from the games in the Netflix show – they are not really canon according to author Sapkowski but rather a “free adaptation containing elements of [his] work” – we know fans will enjoy various subtle references to the games, as they did in season 1.
The Witcher could run on Netflix for a long time, too. Lauren S Hissrich claims to have thought out ideas for a massive seven seasons. And we're pretty certain there's enough source material left for that to be viable.
We've got the entirety of Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer's stories to play out. It takes them across the Continent to a rich variety of locations and introduces us to some of the best fantasy characters around. Ciri's development is a great basis for future tales in The Witcher universe that combine themes of family and love, and mystery and magic. There's also prequel series The Witcher: Blood Origin in the offing.
The Witcher season 3 was confirmed in September 2021.
Bring it on. We're in for the long haul.
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