The Witcher season 3 has now started airing on Netflix with five new episodes for fans of the fantasy hit to enjoy. In the latest batch, war is approaching on the Continent as Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) and Geralt (Henry Cavill) must to everything they can to keep Ciri safe from the many, many threats surrounding her.
Below, we break down everything you need to know about what happens in the first five episodes, from the new cast introduced to the big third act reveals. What's more, we've also compiled a big recap of all of the events, what our review verdict is, and some exclusive insight from the cast of the show. For all that and when to expect Volume 2 on Netflix, read on...
The Witcher season 3 volume 2 release date
The Witcher season 3 has been split into two volumes. Volume 1 (the first five episodes of the season) dropped on Netflix on June 29.
Volume 2 (episodes six-eight) heads to Netflix on July 27.
The Witcher season 3 volume 2 trailer
Currently, we don't have a specific trailer for The Witcher season 3 volume 2. However, you can see some glimpses of it in all of the main season 3 clips to date.
The first teaser trailer for The Witcher season 3 focused on the theme of isolation, with Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri all apart from each other.
"Now for the first time I understand real fear," Geralt says in the teaser, which also features Ciri fleeing from the mysterious Wild Hunt first glimpsed during the season 2 finale. Geralt also unsheathes his silver sword and is prepared for battle against an unseen foe...
The second trailer, which you can see above, sees Geralt ponder his own place in the power struggle on The Continent. "Neutrality: It won't get you a statue, but it'll certainly help in keeping you alive," The White Wolf muses.
When is Henry Cavill leaving the show?
The Witcher season 3 cast sees the return of most of the major characters, including Geralt (Henry Cavill), Ciri (Freya Allan), and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), and Jaskier (Joey Batey).
However, it's officially Cavill's last season as Geralt. Liam Hemsworth will take over in the fourth season, and, despite Cavill now no longer returning as Superman, he definitely won't be back as Geralt again.
"I'm so excited for viewers," showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich told us of the recasting. "I think that it's just a new chapter for us. And I think new chapters bring new energy and that people will find things to love. So yeah, personally, I'm really excited." As for why Cavill stepped away, nothing has been revealed, but a report has claimed that he was looking to leave after season 2 over not "seeing eye to eye" with the producers.
Meanwhile, The Witcher season 3 does feature plenty of other returning cast members. Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni), Cahir (Eamon Farren), Francesca (Mecia Simson), Filavandrel (Tom Canton), Triss (Anna Shaffer), Tissaia (MyAnna Buring), Dara (Wilson Mbomio), Istredd (Royce Pierreson), Sabrina Glevissig (Therica Wilson-Read), Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu), and Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) are all back.
There are also a handful of characters introduced in the second season who also returned. They include Dijkstra (Graham McTavish), Phillipa (Cassie Clare), and Lydia (Aisha Fabienne Ross). Plus, let’s not forget the re-emergence of Duny, now known as Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr (Bart Edwards). Codringher (Simon Callow) and Fenn (Lizz Carr) also return for the third season, albeit briefly.
In terms of new stars, The Witcher's cast also grew big time in season 3. Robbie Amell joined as Gallatin, Hugh Skinner plays Prince Radovid, and Sunny Patel plays villain The Professor. The Crown's Sam Woolf also joined as Rience after Chris Fulton's exit from the show
In Volume 2 we're expecting to meet another new cast member after it was confirmed that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' Meng'er Zhang will play Milva. She's "a human adopted by the dryads of Brokilon Forest" and is a "fierce and talented huntress."
Elsewhere, there are rumblings of Rats joining the fray too. Christelle Elwin will play Mistle, a member of The Rats. They're "a gang of misfit teenagers who steal from the rich and give to themselves – and sometimes the poor."
Plus, per a report from Redanian Intelligence, Hiftu Quasem has been cast as Falka, an ancestor of Ciri's who has been referenced in the show before.
What have The Witcher cast said about Geralt's recasting?
The Witcher season 3 cast have opened up about it being quite a shock when Henry Cavill announced his exit. Yennefer star Chalotra told SFX magazine that she "shed a tear" over his exit. Meanwhile showrunner Lauren Schimdt Hissrich told Total Film magazine, "It was time for him in his life to move on. I think we’ve all been mourning this in our own way."
At The Witcher season 3 junket, GamesRadar+ sat down with Batey, Allan, and Chalotra to ask if they've met Hemsworth yet. "I've been in contact with him," says Jaskier star Batey. "We've been emailing, we’ve been exchanging our favorite quotes from the books and things like that. I don’t think any of us are in the position to advise on playing Geralt but he’s throwing himself into it. His training regime is insane and he’s been devouring the books."
Chalotra shared that they’ve spoken too "through email, a message of support when the news came out," she says, adding: "I can’t wait to meet him." The only one of the main trio who hasn’t spoken to him yet was Allan, who joked, "I’m glad you guys all did that…"
The Witcher season 3 volume 1 review
GamesRadar+ gave The Witcher season 3 volume 1 a lukewarm review of three out of five stars.
Our reviewer Bradley Russell wrote, "The beginning of Henry Cavill’s Geralt swan song both starts and ends strongly, but this inconsistent volume's continual preoccupation with The Continent’s politics does little to excite."
He added: "The Witcher’s traditional strong start is this time bookended by a scintillating dash to the finish. What lands in-between is ordinary at best and tedious at worst – but the highs will make the wait until next month all the more excruciating for many. "
The Witcher season 3 story recap (so far)
WARNING: BIG SPOILERS AHEAD
The first half of The Witcher season 3 picks up in the aftermath of The Witcher season 2 finale. Geralt and Yennefer take Ciri into hiding to try and keep her safe as Nilfgaard, Redania, and the Northern kings are desperate to find her. They don't have much luck as Rience is hot on her tail, aided by the Elves who are keen to bring her back to them. This all culminates in a huge battle at the end of The Witcher season 3 episode 1 that our main trio manage to just about escape from.
Faced with more danger on the horizon, Yennefer decides to bring Ciri to the protected fortress of Aretuza to keep teaching her magic. However, what they find there is a Brotherhood torn on who they should be supporting. The Lion Cub of Cintra is not a fan of her new home either, disappearing off and being pursued by none other than The Wild Hunt.
Meanwhile, Geralt heads off in search of Rience. In episode 2, he finds a terrifying flesh monster made of stolen students from Aretuza. He manages to save one of them, called Teryn who for some reason thinks that she is Ciri. Geralt does his best to find out what happened to her in episode 3 to no avail.
Jaskier has been going through his own issues this season so far too, dealing with pressure from Redania to bring Ciri to them. This is complicated by his growing feelings for none other than the Prince of Redania, Radovid. However, our beloved bard has put Ciri first and the last we see of him, he was busy hiding her while Geralt and Yennefer organized the Conclave. That is until he received a visit in the middle of the night from Radovid...
Everything came to a head in episode 5. As explored in our The Witcher season 3 volume 1 ending explained, Yennefer and Geralt organized a ball to try and locate who was puppeting Rience in the finale. All signs were pointing to Stregobor when some new information emerged at the last moment. After finding Tissaia's bracelet (that was given to her by Vilgefortz) was made of scarlet ammonite, Geralt realized that he was the real culprit. However, before he could do anything about it, Dijkstra held a knife to his neck...
As for what's coming in the rest of the season, we don't know anything specific just yet. However, showrunner Hissrich previously revealed on Twitter that the upcoming season will adapt Andrzej Sapkowski's 'Time of Contempt.'
We’re not going into heavy book spoilers here, but in short, expect one of Geralt's most brutal fight scenes, an odyssey for Ciri, and the introduction of the criminal group The Rats. If you want to pick up where the story left off, be sure to check out the reading order in our guide to The Witcher books.
It sounds like the upcoming episodes will be very close to the source material, too. "What is so interesting is that season 3, to me, is the closest thing that we've done as a one-to-one adaptation of the books," Hissrich told Entertainment Weekly. "Obviously, we can't do every page, but Time of Contempt gave us so many big action events, plot points, defining character moments, huge reveals of a big bad. There's so much to do that we were able to stick really, really closely with the books."
The Witcher season 3 exclusive insight
For more exclusive insight into The Witcher season 3, check out:
- The Witcher season 3 release schedule: when is volume 2 on Netflix?
- Why is Henry Cavill leaving The Witcher?
- The Witcher season 3 cast talk new arrivals and Jaskier’s "hot girl summer"
- Henry Cavill helped choreograph The Witcher's best fight scene