The Witcher season 2: release date, story, new characters and what we know
We just can't wait for The Witcher season 2 to come to Netflix already. Season one of the show, starring dreamboat jawline on legs Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, established itself as the next major contender to Game of Thrones's fantasy crown, hunting down 76 million viewers in its opening chapter. As expected, season 2 of The Witcher will feature plenty more monster hunting, fewer timeline confusions – since (spoilers) Geralt and Ciri were united at the end of season 1 – and (we hope) more catchy tunes from Jaskier the bard to keep us singing all the way to a likely third season.
New details are emerging about The Witcher season 2 all the time, primarily through showrunner Lauren Hissrich's very candid and detailed interviews. Season 2 was confirmed before the show even arrived on Netflix, such was the confidence in the Cavill-led series, and filming reportedly began on February 12 in the UK.
With related books, comics, and games a veritable treasure trove of juicy witchery goodness to draw from, The Witcher season 2 will no doubt deliver an even more exciting batch of yarns – season 1 only used the first two collections of short stories. Below, we've used expertise of The Witcher books to inform what's likely to happen in season 2.
Below, read everything we know about The Witcher season 2's release date, cast, story and more.
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The Witcher season 2 release date: 2021
The closest actual date for The Witcher season 2 release date we have is '2021'. This was reported by Variety but was also confirmed by writer Lauren S. Hissrich during a Reddit AMA, who said, "We don't yet have a target launch date for season 2, past 2021." It's not a great deal to go on, but it guarantees there'll be more than a year's wait between seasons. Our best guess is we'll see it in early 2021.
The Witcher season 2 was announced on November 13, around six weeks before the first season aired. This usually means the network or streaming service really likes what it sees, and is keen to get moving on more episodes with the same cast and crew.
Season 2 is filming beginning in February 2020, this time in London, Scotland and parts of Eastern Europe.
The Witcher season 2 cast: two new Witchers are reportedly joining the show
Henry Cavill (Geralt), Anya Chalotra (Yennefer) and Freya Allan (Ciri) will all return for The Witcher season 2. Other casting announcements are starting to roll out. Deadline reports that Carmel Laniado has joined the cast as a young girl called Violet for at least three episodes. While she seems nice on the outside, she's actually pretty sadistic. Sounds like she'll fit right in to the Witcher universe.
Redanian Intelligence, meanwhile, reports that two new witchers are joining the cast: Lambert, played by Paul Bullion, and Coën, played by Yasen Atour. This has added fuel to the fire that a lot of The Witcher season 2 will take us to Kaer Morhen, where witchers are trained.
It also looks like Kristofer Hivju – better known as Game of Throne's crimson-bearded Tormund Giantsbane – will play Nivellen. Also according to Redanian Intelligience, Hivju has appeared in a casting breakdown under the codename 'Nigel', which it claims refers to the cursed man.
The Witcher's first season used many of the first book's short stories as inspiration, and it looks like at least aspects of 'A Grain of Truth' will feature in the second. This story sees Geralt meet Rivellen in his secluded manor: others deem him a monster, but Geralt has reasons to doubt their claims.
The Witcher season 2 story: what happens next, according to the books
A big talking point of season 1 was how it told stories in multiple places and across a non-linear timeline (though the now-released official Witcher map and Witcher timeline really help) resulting in a multi-tale anthology of sorts. It was partially inspired by the approach to storytelling in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk.
In an interview with Vulture, Hissrich admits that while she believes she didn't give the audience too much credit – "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 one's climax brought all the separate threads together nicely, priming The Witcher season 2 for a more straightforward plot. Hissrich has confirmed that Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer exist in the same timeframe now.
"That’s where we ended season one. 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 season 2, and suggests the chance of flashback scenes with which to tell them.
Also, while Hissrich and the team "already know the stories we're telling," (also in her Vulture interview) expect season 2 to go deeper into its characters: "We’re not trying to constantly introduce new characters all the time, and new worlds, and new kingdoms."
In an interview with GamesRadar, she revealed that season 2's story would be "…much more focused. There's a stronger drive in the story, because all of the relationships that we've been setting up in season one, actually start to come into fruition in season two…all of those building blocks that we set up for the world, finally start to come together into something a little more concrete."
This 'more concrete' element is Ciri's story, as discussed by Hissrich in an interview with Redmania Intelligence, where she said that Ciri will be "center stage" in season 2.
But what is Ciri's story? In the books, Ciri's story makes up the central plot of 'the saga'. The saga covers five books, starting with Blood of Elves, and centers on Ciri, her importance as a magical royal with Elven heritage, her relationship with Geralt, her ongoing efforts to survive, and how all this shapes events on The Continent.
In terms of themes for The Witcher season 2 story, we can look to the subjects Hissrich appreciated when first reading The Last Wish. Later in her Vulture interview she mentions that she enjoyed the challenges themes of "the marginalization of people in society, and the racism and xenophobia, but also just about the grayness of morality."
These topics have been touched on already in season 1, but they could well be developed in relation to Jaskier (Dandelion in the books and games). Speaking to Vulture, Hissrich teases that while attempting to present him as less of a creepy womanizer than he is in the books, in series 2, "you root for him to find his true love … if that's what he's looking for."
The setup for this has already begun, as the very beginning of Blood of Elves is covered in season 1 by the siege and downfall of Cintra and Ciri's escape. Elsewhere, expect to see more of life under Nilfgaardian rule in season 2, and high tensions between humans and non-humans.
The grand location of Kaer Morhen should appear prominently in The Witcher season 2 as well. This is the ancestral home and stronghold of the Witchers, and Geralt is required to take Ciri to the fortress for protection and training. Here, he takes closer guardianship of Ciri, becoming a father figure. Factor in the appearance of a mysterious, powerful wizard – also pursuing Ciri – some more war, prophecies, dark magic and, of course, monster hunting, and season 2 begins to look incredibly promising.
In terms of story specifics, Redvania Intelligence claims that another short story from The Last Wish will appear, perhaps woven into the more linear main arc. This short story, A Grain of Truth, features Geralt meeting a cursed man called Nivellen who has been turned into a beast.
Asked recently by Pure Fandom for a teaser on season 2, Hissrich 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."
Expect to see more from magical villainess Fringilla, too. When asked by Vulture, Hissrich confirmed that "you will absolutely get more Fringillla […] we're digging deeper into her past and how she ended up at Nilfgaard, who she is as a person, and how she and Yennefer ended up on such different paths." In other words, expect more metal mind-control earworms. Ugh.
The Witcher season 2 will be accompanied by a Witcher animated movie
In addition to The Witcher season 2, an anime-style Witcher movie has been announced for Netflix called The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. No release date has been set for that one yet.
It'll be written by Beau DeMayo (who scripted episode 3 of season one), and it focuses on Vesemir, Geralt's mentor. He'll be familiar to anyone who knows the games and the books. It'll be animated by Studio Mir, which was behind the acclaimed Legend of Korra series. The story will take us "back to a new threat facing the Continent."
An official synopsis was added to Netflix for Nightmare of the Wolf, which was later pulled. "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 season 2: other rumors and details
A lot of tiny details about season 2 have been doing the rounds, and we'll sum them up briefly in this section. The wrinkly Nilfgaardian armor, which some fans on the internet didn't like, will be changed in season 2. Hissrich told Flickering Myth's Writer Experience podcast that, "the Nilfgaard armor will be totally different. You have that opportunity [in season two] to go back and course correct if you want to."
Some casting rumors have been doing the rounds, too. The character of Redanian spy Sigismund Dijkstra is rumored to be a part of season 2, though we're not clear on who's playing him yet. A leaked video appeared to show actor Graham McTavish (the Hobbit) auditioning for the role – but either way, there's no news to report on this one yet.
Likewise, people have been campaigning for Mark Hamill to play Geralt's mentor, Vesemir. We can't be entirely sure Vesemir will be introduced in The Witcher season 2, though. In January 2020, Hissrich told IGN, "we have not contacted his agent yet because we’re not casting the role quite yet" regarding the campaign to get Hamill on the show.
The Witcher could run for seven seasons on Netflix
The Witcher could run on Netflix for a long time. Speaking to SFX, 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 entirty 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.
She and Yennefer get separated from Geralt during the saga, and his attempts to reunite with them form a gripping part of the story. This journey takes him across the Continent and introduces him to plenty of interesting new places and characters. Then there's the important role of the Wild Hunt: a group of elven warriors who raid other worlds for slaves. Their introduction could really ramp up the peril in the pursuit of Ciri.
The Witcher feels like it's here to stay on Netflix
The first season of The Witcher shrugged off the idea that it was just here to replace Game of Thrones. It confidently told stories in its own way and presented a fantasy world that has already captures people's imaginations. And, while we are unlikely to see much spillover from the games – they are not really canon according to Sapkowski but rather a "free adaptation containing elements of [his] work" – we know fans will enjoy various subtle references to the series, as they did in season one.
Hissrich and company aren't in the business of rushing this out. Hissrich said that the series would need time: "We don't want to rush the product. That doesn't benefit anyone." If it's as good as season one, it'll be worth the wait.
If it'll help pass the time until season 2, you can finally listen to the official version of 'Toss a Coin to your Witcher' on Spotify.
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