With its gruff hero, powerful sorceress, mysterious young heroine, and a bard with a catchy tune, Netflix’s production of The Witcher caught the attention of fans new and old as it adapted the tales of author Andrzej Sapkowski into something distinct from its source and the successful video game series while also amplifying the best elements of entire Witcher concept. But season 1 was, literally, just the beginning. Utilizing short stories detailing Geralt of Rivia’s (Henry Cavill) exploits before he was drawn into the Continent’s great political struggle, the second season will begin to drawn material direct from the long-form Witcher novels and offer more meaning to the title character’s meandering. And with Netflix in February confirming the start of production on the second season, we thought we would take a look at everything we know about the series and, perhaps, conjure up some ideas about its future.
Clearly, there’s no Witcher without the Witcher, but Cavill will indeed return as the taciturn Geralt. And if his storyline follows on from the events of the first Witcher novel, he will be escorting Ciri (Freya Allan) to Kaer Morhan, where he was trained in the art of monster hunting. Allan will also return while Anya Chalotra continues on as Yennefer — the currently missing sorceress who no doubt has a price on her head after the events at Sodden Hill. Additionally, Joey Batey will return as Jaskier, but it remains to be seen if the bard can whip up another song as catchy as “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher.” We’re happy to see him try, though.
Other returning faces include MyAnna Buring as Tissaia, Anna Shaffer as Triss Merigold, Therica Wilson Read as Sabrina, and Mahesh Jadu as Vilgefortz – all of whom were in a bad way at the end of the first season, but seemingly regroup following Sodden Hill. Of course, it always possible they will all live in Yennefer’s memories.
The Brotherhood is also represented by Terence Maynard as sorcerer Artorius Vigo, Lars Mikkelson as the Black Sun-obsessed Stregobor, Mimi Ndiweni as Nildgaard’s prominent mage Fringilla Vigo, Royce Pierreson as the pragmatic Istredd, and Lilly Cooper as mage-in-training Murta.
Tom Canton will also return as elvish rebel Filavandrel, while Jeremy Crawford returns as dwarven adventurer Yarpin Zigrin and Wilson Radjou-Pujalte as Dara, Ciri’s elven friend who left her path last season.
Game of Thrones’ favorite Wildling Kristofer Hivju joins up as Nivellen, a cursed man of Redania whose beastly nature may not necessarily make him a monster. Other new arrivals include Agnes Bjorn as Vereena, a person of some importance to Nivellen; Yasen Atour and Paul Bullion as Coen and Lambert, respectively, a pair of Witchers who train Ciri in the novels; Thue Ersted Rasmussen as Eskel, a compatriot of Geralt’s time at Kaer Horhen who also participates in Ciri’s training; Aisha Fabienne Ross as Vilgefortz’s aide Lydia; and Mecia Simson as Francesca, a member of the Chapter with an interesting lineage.
Although no official description for the upcoming season exists, we can make some educated guesses as to where the story might go. Like the first season’s copious flashbacks, the second may begin well after the battle at Sodden Hill and Ciri’s meeting with Geralt. The first long-form Witcher novel, Blood of Elves, opens with Ciri at Kaer Morhen and recalling many of the events she experienced in the first season of the television show. If the program continues to follow the established format, her training may form the narrative loop of her storyline, as she and Geralt get back on the road, bound for Temple School in Ellander; the addition of the three Witchers connected to her training to the cast strengthens this suspicion.
Alternatively, we may see the pair on the road to Kaer Morhen with Jaskier trailing along as they face more trouble from monsters and Nilfgaard. The addition of Nivellen — who appeared in a Witcher short story predating the events of Blood of Elves — to the plot suggests Geralt will spend at least one episode doing his normal job. Perhaps Ciri is there for the experience.
On a more macro level, the Northern Kings will have either won the war against Nilfgaard or remained in a saber-rattling stance after witnessing the Battle of Sodden Hill from afar. Considering a second war with Nilfgaard breaks out in the narrative of the novels, we expect the television show may just turn the two conflicts into one – a war they can actually dramatize (budget permitting) as Ciri continues her training.
Meanwhile, Yennefer’s disappearance could continue to be a plot point, or she may immediately return to the action and aid the other sorcerers in whatever plan they form next. The Brotherhood is still up for grabs, even if there is considerable support of Nilfgaard at this point.
Granted, all of this depends on how much material The Witcher plans to cover in a given season. Considering the first year covered many of the short stories and Ciri’s recollections of life on the run following the Nilfgaard attack, we can safely assume it will follow the shape of Blood of Elves — the new additions to the cast guarantee it.
But then again, events from the stories and novels have already been remixed and there is no guarantee we’ll see all of Ciri’s time at Kaer Morhan or the Temple School before season 2 concludes.
But no matter what map the series follows in its second year, one theme has been virtually guaranteed by executive producer Lauren Schmidt Hissirch — the waning of monsters. As in the novels, fantastical creatures are becoming rarer as the Continent (a loosely European realm) marches closer to modernity. The disappearance of monsters also means Witchers are becoming fewer in number. And while referenced in passing during the first season, this change in the world will be addressed in the upcoming episodes.
As with season 1, the second year will consist of eight episodes — the seeming new standard for genre shows on streaming services. Directors include Umbrella Academy’s Stephen Surjik, Cursed’s Sarah O’Gorman, The Last Kindgom’s Ed Bazalgette, and Meet the Patel’s Geeta Patel. Hissrich remains the program’s showrunner and executive producer.
Sit back and rest a spell — there’s a bit of a wait for season 2. While a specific launch date for the second season of The Witcher has yet to be revealed, Netflix is happy to say it will come along sometime in 2021 — which may feel like a long way off, but so did the first season for fans of Geralt’s adventures in books and video games.
The Witcher season 1 is now streaming on Netflix