The Witcher season 2 is really starting to get rolling. Not only has filming commenced, the Netflix series has even released a batch of new, official images and set photos for us to coo over before we return to The Continent.
With The Witcher season 2 gearing up for a 2021 release, expect more movement on that front, and possibly even a trailer, over the coming months. In the meantime, here's everything we know so far: several new cast additions, a less-muddled timeline, and an aged-up Jaskier. Sob.
The Witcher season 2 release date is set for 2021
The Witcher season 2 release date remains somewhat a mystery. Outside of a general "2021" window, Netflix has yet to clue us in on when new episodes are will arrive on the streaming service.
Netflix previously announced in a statement that pre-production will begin in “early 2020” with a view to a 2021 release date. Creator Lauren S. Hissrich also reaffirmed that The Witcher season 2 release date is 2021, not 2020 in a Reddit AMA, writing: "We don't yet have a target launch date for season 2, past 2021... We don't want to rush the product." Of course, with the pandemic having played havoc to filming schedules, we could even be looking at a 2022 release date. Let's hope not though.
Thankfully, the larger gap between shouldn't concern fans. Hissrich explained that the added time was only a good for the show, saying she wants to "make sure that everyone on our team gets the time to do their job and do it to the best of their ability. So we’re making sure we have a lot of built-in cushion time for Season 2 so we don’t cram anything in at the last minute."
So, even with the current delays, it's probably not going to affect The Witcher season 2 release date too much, if at all.
There's also the question of the release date announcement? Don't expect any news until next year. For reference, season 1's release date reveal was held off until late October, just seven weeks before the show aired. While it probably won't be such a short timeframe for season 2, we should not expect a season 2 announcement until around three-to-four months at the earliest. The Witcher season 1 arrived in December 2019 – perhaps another Christmas release for season 2? Time will tell.
The Witcher season 2 trailer: first teaser and when to expect a full trailer
The first piece of very, very short Witcher season 2 footage had landed.
Featured in a "Monster mash" video showcasing the monsters Geralt has (and will) go up against, there are two glimpses of season 2, one at 0:15 and the other at 0:31. The former features a creepy creature, while the latter focuses on a trio of skeletons. Spooky.
No Witcher season 2 trailer… yet. It’s very early days, after all. The very first trailer (described as a ‘teaser’ despite being two minutes long) for season 1 launched in July 2019, some five months before the show aired on Netflix. With filming now anyway, we can perhaps expect a late 2020 season 2 trailer at the absolute earliest, though early 2021 is a far more realistic proposition especially given real-world events.
The Witcher season 2 resumes filming, despite Henry Cavill's injury
The Witcher season 2 was shut down once more in October but has since been given the all-clear to restart production as of November. All being well, the Netflix series should be able to continue filming for the next few months, though lead Henry Cavill reportedly had to take a break after being injured on-set.
The Witcher season 2 official images and set photos
Some of the main characters from The Witcher Netflix series not only find themselves in new situations in season 2, but also have different looks.
Geralt has a shiny new piece of armour to show off, Ciri is training in what could be Kaer Morhen, and Yennefer is looking worse for wear after The Battle of Sodden Hill. See the three main images below.
During the filming break, showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich – who you'll be hearing plenty from further down – shared a shot from production in March. Admittedly, you can't see much, but it does look like a possible return to Brokilon Forest, where Ciri spent part of the first season.
#tbt one month ago on the set of @witchernetflix. The sun will rise again. Until then, stay home and stay safe. pic.twitter.com/1PbeUa9YaOApril 10, 2020
There's even a shot of director Stephen Surjik finishing up work on-set of The Witcher season 2. No real clues here, but the setup behind him looks very complicated...
It’s my last day on set with @SSurjik. I didn’t expect his 2 episodes to span a global pandemic. But they did, and I couldn’t have had a better partner by my side. Grateful for his vision, leadership, spirit, and friendship. @witchernetflix S2 is back and better than ever. ♥️⚔️🐺 pic.twitter.com/xBMRCydQoXSeptember 16, 2020
More photos of today's Season 2 filming by @PalaceProud pic.twitter.com/UoQBahdp9yNovember 23, 2020
And, yes, Netflix has even provided us with some more official set photos. No characters in this one, but it's teasing the Wolf School, a clan of Witchers.
We've got a little #Witchmas present for you. Here's some sneak peeks from the set of Witcher Season 2. pic.twitter.com/CtGS354FU6December 16, 2020
The Witcher season 2 cast: some new faces
The Witcher season 2 cast has all been confirmed, including a whole batch of new characters to get excited about.
Geralt (Henry Cavill), Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), and Ciri (Freya Allan) all return, as does the incomparable Jaskier (Joey Batey). Also back are MyAnna Buring as Tissaia, Tom Canton as Filavandrel, Lilly Cooper as Murta, Jeremy Crawford as Yarpin Zigrin, Eamon Farren as Cahir, Mahesh Jadu as Vilgefortz, Terence Maynard as Artorius, Lars Mikkelson as Stregobor, Mimi Ndiweni as Fringilla Vigo, Royce Pierreson as Istredd, Wilson Radjou-Pujalte as Dara, Anna Shaffer as Triss Merigold, and Therica Wilson Read as Sabrina.
But the new additions are potentially the most important. The most recognisable face is certainly Kristofer Hivju, best known as Tormund Giantsbane from Game of Thrones. He'll be playing man-turned-into-a-monster, Nivellen. Here's who else will be joining him on The Continent.
- Yasen Atour as Coen
- Agnes Bjorn as Vereena
- Paul Bullion as Lambert
- Basil Eidenbenz as Eskel
- Aisha Fabienne Ross as Lydia
- Mecia Simson as Francesca
- Kim Bodnia as Vesemir
Those who are versed in all things Witcher might notice a new name there. Thue Ersted Rasmussen is out as Eskel due to scheduling conflicts and Basil Eidenbenz is in as Geralt's fellow witcher.
For a primer on those, check out our guide on the new characters coming to The Witcher. Intriguingly, Deadline is reporting that Carmel Landiado will play the character of Violet who is "a young girl whose playful and whimsical demeanour is a front for a smarter and more sadistic character."
Violet has no basis in either the books or the games and Laniado's casting has not been confirmed. That's one to keep an eye on, especially as filming progresses and more cast members appear on set for the first time.
And what of Vesemir? Fan attention was drawn towards a 2018 tweet from Mark Hamill, who, when asked about the possibility of playing Vesemir, replied, “I have no idea what this is or what it's about but agree it could/should be played by me.”
I have no idea what this is or what it's about but agree it could/should be played by me. 👍March 6, 2018
But that ultimately didn't come to fruition, with Killing Eve's Kim Bodnia ultimately winning out and snagging the role of Vesemir. It's unknown at this time whether Hamill auditioned or was actively considered for the part.
Vesemir is set to be introduced in a pre-Witcher season 2 animated film. Nightmare of the Wolf is due to air at some point in 2020, though it's not yet known if Bodnia will voice the character in that prequel.
The Witcher season 2 story: new characters, new monsters
Details are scarce, but the underlying mantra behind The Witcher season 2 story appears to be making things leaner, tighter, and a lot more straightforward.
Hissrich teased the upcoming season (and its interactions) in an interview with GamesRadar+, saying: “What’s great about season two, I can tell you, is that, in what we’ve written, the story becomes 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.”
Hissrich added: “Characters start meeting and interacting more. That goes well sometimes. It doesn’t go well sometimes. But it’s kind of like, all of those building blocks that we set up for the world, finally start to come together into something a little more concrete.”
While the first season roughly covered the majority of The Last Wish collection of short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski, a report by Redanian Intelligence suggests that The Witcher season 2 story will at least draw from A Grain of Truth, another series of tales by the Polish author. However, those who already know the book cover-to-cover might want to hold fire on thinking they know the meat of The Witcher season 2 story.
That’s because both Geralt and Ciri will apparently be travelling to Kaer Morhen, the ancestral home of the witchers, and meet a man-turned-beast named Nivellen on their travels. Let’s hope there’s a grain of truth to that one, especially given the castings of both Nivellen and Lambert, a steadfast presence as Kaer Morhen in the books and games.
Another monstrous rumour from Redanian Intelligence puts forward the possibility that the tree-like Leshen (perhaps best known to players of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as being a devilishly difficult forest spirit enemy) could feature in season 2. Not only that, but its appearance will have "major consequences" for an unknown character. Uh-oh.
More recently, Hissrich has teased out some more season 2 story details, specifically with how that pertains to two of the more villainous characters from last year. “I can’t wait to dig deeper into Cahir and Fringilla in [The Witcher season 2], who they are, why Nilfgaard is important, and where they’ll go from here.” Hissrich said on Twitter. “It’s one of my favourite parts of the new season."
Netflix has even released a single page from the script, which teases a monster haunting a poor merchant and his family. Geralt, it seems, is talking to the figure in a voiceover.
If you want to know more about the source material (which might just clue you in on The Witcher season 2 story), here's our guide on The Witcher books, including the suggested reading order and how they compare to the Netflix series as well as the games.
The Witcher season 2 timeline: "much more focused"
One of the biggest talking points to come out of The Witcher Netflix series in 2019 was the use of a non-linear narrative. Over the course of a handful of decades, we saw the origins of Yennefer’s story, as well as how Geralt came to look after Ciri thanks to his presence at the Cintran royal court and his call for the Law of Surprise. The stories flitted back and forth between past and present throughout, often at multiple times in the same episode.
However, that understandably confused some viewers – the show didn’t always make it clear when we were watching certain scenes.
The biggest culprit was Jaskier, who seemingly didn’t age despite crossing paths with Geralt over several years – and that’s despite Yennefer making reference to the baby-faced bard’s “crow’s feet.”
The Witcher season 2 should change that. Hissrich held her hands up during the aforementioned Reddit AMA: “We dropped the ball on aging [Jaskier] up over the course of the show. It's hard to show the passage of time when everyone looks the same, so we'll be approaching that differently in [season 2].”
However, we can probably expect a more straightforward A-to-B story this time around. That’s not to say there definitely won’t be flashbacks or time jumps, but the language used by Hissrich in interviews so far sounds fairly definitive.
“Obviously, it was one of the most controversial parts of Season 1 and I didn’t expect it to be as controversial as it was,” Hissrich told The Wrap. “What’s great though is they have intersected now. So what we’ll see in Season 2 is that all of our characters are existing on the same timeline.”
There have already been references to a more linear approach to the story as far back as December, with Hissrich telling GamesRadar+ that the story next time around is “much more focused.” That sounds like a far less convoluted timeline to the one we eventually got used to in season 1.
For a detailed look at the timey-wimey shenanigans of the first season, check out our very own complete Witcher timeline.
The Witcher season 2 episode count
Alongside the big batch o' cast news that was flung into our laps in February comes confirmation that The Witcher season 2 episode count is set at eight episodes, the same total as the first season. Stephen Surjik, Sarah O'Gorman, Ed Bazalgette, Geeta V. Patel will each be directing two episodes apiece.