It’s usually a good sign when a television series is renewed for a second season before the first episode of the show premieres. That certainly proved to be the case for the Netflix series The Witcher, reportedly the most popular streaming show in the world at one point, and the second-most popular series of 2019 on the industry-leading streamer (after Stranger Things).
We have some clues about when season 2 of The Witcher will premiere, so the question now becomes: What’s next for Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri? Here’s everything we know about the second season of The Witcher so far.
Rolling cameras soon-ish
Production on season 2 of The Witcher will resume August 17. In order to make the announcement, Netflix channeled the poetic skills of Geralt’s favorite bard, Jaskier, on Twitter.
I’m dusting off my lute and quill,
I have some news, some mead to spill:
After all the months we’ve been apart
It’s time for production to restart.
The Witcher and his bard – who’s flawless,
Will reunite on set 17 August.
— The Witcher (@witchernetflix) June 22, 2020
In the U.K., Arborfield/Longcross Studios is expected to be ready for business again soon, with managing director Bob Terry indicating that work is underway to reopen the studio. Arborfield/Longcross was among the first U.K. studios to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Family comes first in season 2
After introducing Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri (below) in the show’s first season, the second season will explore the powerful bonds they share.
According to showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, their unconventional family dynamic will be a central theme in season 2.
“What I think is really fun about Geralt and Ciri is they are the most unexpected family you can imagine. You have a witcher whose sole job is to kill things for money and you have a little girl who is trying to escape her past,” Hissrich told The Wrap. “Coming out of season 1, you have a pretty good sense of who Ciri is, you have a pretty good sense of who Geralt is. And now we get to throw that all in a blender and see what happens when two people who are completely different have to be forced together in circumstances.”
“It will be two strangers coming together for the first time and being told, ‘Nope, you’re gonna be together forever,'” she added. “I think that their growth together into being a father and daughter is one of my favorite parts of the series.”
But Geralt’s relationship to Ciri won’t be the only family dynamic that’s explored.
“When you start to imagine someone’s family, you also need to understand their family of origin. Sometimes that’s a mother and father, sometimes that’s blood relatives. For Geralt, it’s his brothers, it’s the brotherhood of the witchers,” explained Hissrich. “So I’m really excited to get back in and meet Vesemir, his father figure, for the first time and all of these men that he was raised with since he was seven years old.”
New cast members
One of the most important additions to the cast of The Witcher was announced in late-February, with Killing Eve actor Kim Bodnia (below) cast as Vesemir.
As fans of the Witcher franchise know well, Vesemir is one of the oldest witchers still alive, and a father figure to Geralt. One of the only survivors of the infamous Massacre at Kaer Morhen that eliminated nearly all of the witchers from the school where Geralt was trained and raised, Vesemir is fiercely protective of the few remaining witchers and also becomes a mentor to Ciri during her early years with Geralt.
The Continent just got a little bigger. Here's the new cast of #TheWitcher Season 2:
Yasen Atour as Coen
Agnes Bjorn as Vereena
Paul Bullion as Lambert
Kristofer Hivju as Nivellen
Thue Ersted Rasmussen as Eskel
Aisha Fabienne Ross as Lydia
Mecia Simson as Francesca
— NX (@NXOnNetflix) February 21, 2020
The second season of The Witcher is poised for a Game of Thrones crossover of sorts, as actor Kristofer Hivju (below) has joined the cast. Hivju portrayed fan-favorite character Tormund Giantsbane in the HBO series, and will play cursed nobleman Nivellen in season 2 of The Witcher.
Agnes Bjorn will portray Vereena, a woman with a close connection to Nivellen in Andrzej Sapkowski’s “Witcher Saga” novels. Both Aisha Fabienne Ross and Mecia Simson will play sorceresses in the second season, with Ross playing Lydia and Simson playing the elf Francesca.
Also among the confirmed cast additions is Thue Ersted Rasmussen as Eskel, a fellow witcher from the School of the Wolf, where Geralt trained. Eskel is a key character in both the novels and the popular video game franchise they inspired, and one of Geralt’s closest friends.
A few weeks earlier, the two remaining characters on the list were first reported to be joining the series.
Peaky Blinders and The Bastard Executioner actor Paul Bullion (above) will portray Lambert, another witcher from the School of the Wolf. Lambert’s presence in season 2 suggests fans will learn more about Geralt’s early years and the training he endured to become a witcher.
Also joining the season 2 cast will be Strike Back actor Yasen Atour, who will portray the witcher Coën. A lesser-known witcher hailing from the School of the Griffin, Coën played an important role in Ciri’s formative years in The Witcher novels.
First set photo
Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich provided fans with their first, official photo from the set of The Witcher season 2 in April. Although the image didn’t reveal any details about the season, it did make it clear that the next season of the series is on the minds of its creative team just as much as its fans.
The sun will rise again. Until then, stay home and stay safe. pic.twitter.com/1PbeUa9YaO
— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) April 10, 2020
The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on Hollywood, prompting numerous production delays and forcing studios to postpone premieres. The Witcher is no exception, as Netflix reportedly halted production on season 2 of the series in mid-March due to the outbreak.
The decision is noteworthy for making The Witcher the first major TV show produced in the U.K. to have production stalled due to the pandemic.
A month before The Witcher premiered on Netflix, the series was renewed for a second season on the streaming service.
Geralt's adventure is only beginning….
The Witcher has been renewed for Season 2! pic.twitter.com/6iPrUFeujI
— Netflix (@netflix) November 13, 2019
During a Reddit AMA on January 7, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich indicated that the series is targeting a return in 2021 for season 2, but couldn’t offer any more specific details on the schedule.
According to Geralt himself — actor Henry Cavill, that is — pre-production on season 2 of The Witcher is expected to begin soon, suggesting that the first quarter of 2021 is likely to be the earliest a second season could possibly arrive. No official premiere date has been announced at this point.
The story continues
Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich said in early January that the season will likely unfold in a more straightforward narrative, unlike the multiple, parallel timelines that comprised most of the first season’s story arc.
“The story will be much more linear [in season 2], now that the three characters’ stories have started to intersect,” she explained.
The first season of The Witcher was primarily adapted from The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, two collections of short stories that were set prior to the events in author Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher Saga. These stories served as a prequel to the events chronicled in Sapkowski’s main series and explored the early years of the three main characters — Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri — and how their paths initially crossed.
In a December interview with ComicBook.com, series executive producer Tomek Baginski indicated that the series couldn’t fit all of the content from those collections into the first season of The Witcher. This has led to speculation that the second season will deliver the rest of those seminal adventures while beginning to explore the events of the primary saga.
Nothing official has been confirmed so far, though, and season 2 could indeed take the trio’s story in some unexpected directions.
Series stars Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, and Freya Allan are all confirmed to be returning for season 2 of The Witcher, reprising their roles as Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri, respectively.
Confirmation of the trio’s return accompanied the season 2 announcement made by Netflix, with The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich telling Deadline, “I’m so thrilled that before fans have even seen our first season, we are able to confirm that we’ll be returning to The Continent again to continue telling the stories of Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri.”
Updated June 22, 2020: Added details about when season 2 will resume filming.