Redanian Intelligence, experts in all things The Witcher return to What’s on Netflix for a recap of some of the biggest newest stories regarding The Witcher season 2, The Witcher: Blood Origin and anything else that’s of interest. Here’s the April 2021 update on all things The Witcher.
Back in February of 2020, and just a few months after the series debuted its first season on Netflix, The Witcher’s second season entered production in London. Back then, filming was supposed to last approximately half a year, yet everything changed when a certain global pandemic arrived just a month later. Had it not been for the Coronavirus, we would probably be able to stream the second season of The Witcher on Netflix already. Instead of the original five-to-six-month filming period, the show faced a series of hiatuses and extensive Covid safety guidelines, and it seemed for a long time that the show would keep filming forever. But, fortunately, this is no longer the case!
After thirteen months of filming, The Witcher’s final season has finally wrapped production, and Netflix were kind enough to share a behind-the-scenes video to celebrate the occasion, as well as seven new castings officially confirmed (and seven more confirmed by Redanian Intelligence). Throughout March, we were also treated to a few leaks from the set including our first look at the Wild Hunt and details about upcoming flashbacks. Besides The Witcher’s second season, we also have a few updates on the upcoming prequel series, Blood Origin.
- Netflix shares a behind-the-scenes video following Season 2’s production wrap
- Casting update: Season 2 adds Philippa, Dijkstra, Nenneke, Eredin and more
- First look at Netflix’s Wild Hunt from the set of Season 2
- The Witcher: Blood Origin loses its lead amid production delay
- All the new details we’ve learned about The Witcher’s prequel show
- The Witcher Season 2 flashbacks to include Young Geralt and Vesemir
- Set Report: A closer look at the set that is likely to be the city of Oxenfurt and more details about flashbacks set in Cintra
Netflix shares a behind-the-scenes video following Season 2’s production wrap
Following the wrap at the end of March, Netflix shared the above video featuring some behind-the-scenes footage of season two as well as a great sendoff from Henry Cavill and showrunner Lauren Hissrich. Cavill has also shared an image of himself in costume holding onto a clapperboard during his final scene for season two on his Instagram page, and Hissrich was quoted by Variety regarding the wrap.
“It has been fantastic to shoot The Witcher here in the U.K,” said The Witcher showrunner. “We have filmed at some incredible locations including Fountains Abbey, Blea Tarn, Hodge Close, Frensham Ponds, and of course, our comforting home at Arborfield Studios. We’ve assembled the best British talent and crew who have been passionate, professional and brilliant partners through such a complex and unprecedented filming experience. Now we can’t wait for everyone to see all of the hard work that has gone into this production.”
Besides Hissrich and Cavill, many members of the cast and crew celebrated the wrap on social media (including Ciri star Freya Allan and many others).
Casting report: Season 2 adds Philippa, Dijkstra, Nenneke, Eredin and more
After a year of relative secrecy with regards to season two’s new cast members, Netflix has finally broken silence by announcing (or confirming) seven key additions to the cast. Not long after, Redanian Intelligence uncovered seven additional cast members and their roles. We’ve gathered the new additions in the list below.
- Graham McTavish (Outlander, The Hobbit) as Redanian spymaster Sigismund Dijkstra. A resourceful and adept politician, Dijkstra employs a network of spies that spans the Continent and is an incremental asset in the Northern Kingdom’s war with Nilfgaard.
- Cassie Claire (Brave New World, Netflix’s Sandman) as sorceress Philippa Eilhart. Besides being one of the most powerful and respected sorceresses on the Continent, she is an important political figure situated in Redania.
- Adjoa Andoh (Bridgerton, Silent Witness) as Mother Nenneke High Priestess of Melitele. Somewhat of a mother-figure to Geralt, she has tended his wounds many times in the past and will help him take care of Ciri in season two.
- Chris Fulton (Bridgerton, Outlaw King) as the villainous mage Rience, a sadistic and dangerous mage who will pursue our heroes in service of a mysterious lord.
- Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey, Miss Scarlet and the Duke) as Ba’lian, an elf. This is an original character added to the show, so not much is known about his role.
- Simon Callow (Outlander) and Liz Carr (Silent Witness) as the detective duo Codrhinger and Fenn, who will be employed by Geralt to help identify his enemies.
- Sam Hazeldine (The Innocents, Peaky Blinders) as Eredin, leader of the Wild Hunt, an otherworldly and terrible threat.
- Joseph Payne (The Third Day) as Jarre, a young scribe at the Temple of Melitele who will befriend Ciri.
- Ania Marson (Killing Eve, Britannia) as Voleth Meir (which is elven for “Deathless Mother”). An original character who will be involved in Ciri’s storyline, Voleth Meir was described in a casting call as “a demon, who roams the land bargaining and preying on people’s deepest and darkest desires”.
- Niamh McCormack (The Magic Flute) as elven sorceress Lara Dorren, a legendary figure in the Continent’s history and Ciri’s ancestor.
- Ann Firbank (All or Nothing, Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker) as another legendary elven sorceress, Ithlinne, whose prophecy set the events of the series in motion.
- Ed Birch (The Last Kingdom, Cruella) as King Vizimir of Redania.
- Theatre actress Emily Byrt as Aylne, a “fierce sex worker who joins a group of soldiers she isn’t afraid to boss around”.
Many of these characters are fan favorites among readers of the novels and players of the video games, so we’re quite excited to see these new cast members in season two.
First look at Netflix’s Wild Hunt from the set of Season 2
Perhaps the most shocking leak from season two so far is the reveal that the Wild Hunt will appear in the second season. Though they do show up multiple times in the novels, this doesn’t happen until later in the story. It appears Netflix will bring forwards the Wild Hunt in a cameo appearance for season two, one which will include Eredin, the King of the Wild Hunt, who will be played by Sam Hazeldine.
In a fortunate turn of events, onlookers near The Witcher set at Saunton Sands in Devon were able to snap some pictures of the Wild Hunt in costume. Unlike many of the shows other designs, which have deliberately strayed from the visuals depicted in CD Projekt RED’s video games, Netflix’s Wild Hunt look remarkably similar to The Witcher III’s, with their skeletal black armor.
Make sure to check out the full gallery of pictures in the Redanian Intelligence report.
The Witcher: Blood Origin loses its lead amid production delay
Besides the main series, Netflix is developing two confirmed spinoffs (with more rumored). The first is an animated film titled Nightmare of the Wolf which will focus on a younger Vesemir (Geralt’s witcher-dad who will be introduced in season two), expected to release before the second season. The second is a live-action limited series titled Blood Origin, a prequel that was slated for filming this May. Now it appears that the prequel’s production is facing delays, and as a result, the show has lost its lead actress Jodie Turner-Smith (as reported by Deadline).
Turner-Smith was cast in the role of Éile, described as “an elite warrior blessed with the voice of a goddess who has left her clan and position as Queen’s guardian to follow her heart as a nomadic musician. A grand reckoning on the continent forces her to return to the way of the blade in her quest for vengeance and redemption.” Now that Netflix must recast this important role, it’s possible the prequel will face further delays.
All the new details we’ve learned about The Witcher’s prequel show
— Declan de Barra (@declandebarra) March 28, 2021
Despite the unfortunate news regarding Jodie Turner-Smith, Netflix is already preparing to film the prequel series and all the scripts are already completed (as seen in the above tweet by the showrunner). This means that a lot of interesting details have begun to surface, including some key crew members and a possible filming location.
According to Production Weekly, a very reliable news source, Blood Origin will be filming in the United Kingdom and in the Canary Islands. This wouldn’t be the first time a Witcher crew will be visiting the Spanish islands, as the show’s first season filmed there extensively. The island has a wealth of lush forest locales, as well as beautiful beaches, which may well become key locations in the prequel series.
In other news, Redanian Intelligence has found evidence suggesting season two director Sara O’Gorman (who also directed episodes for Cursed and The Last Kingdom) may reprise her role in the prequel series, alongside Witcher newcomer Vicky Jewson (Born of War, Close). Keep in mind these are not officially confirmed, but evidence suggests they are likely to be directors in the show.
Showrunner Declan de Barra (who wrote the fourth episode of The Witcher season one and the first of the second season) will be joined by many of The Witcher’s key producers including Lauren Hissrich (the showrunner of the main series), Tomek Baginski (the Polish producer who first pitched the show as a movie to Netflix), and the duo of Jason Brown and Sean Daniels. Production designer Andrew Laws will also return.
The Witcher Season 2 flashbacks to include Young Geralt and Vesemir and may tie in with Netflix’s animated spinoff
In addition to the extensive list of castings mentioned above, Redanian Intelligence also confirmed two cast members who will play younger versions of Geralt and Vesemir. Young actor Alexander Squires is cast as Young Geralt, while James Baxter (Still Open All Hours) is cast as Young Vesemir. A third casting may suggest that Baxter could reprise his role in the animated spin-off film Nightmare of the Wolf (also starring Vesemir), as Snatch’s Tamer Hassan is cast in the role of “Deglan”. All three are set to appear in season two.
Deglan was first mentioned in the synopsis of Nightmare of the Wolf: “Long before mentoring Geralt, Vesemir begins his own journey as a witcher after the mysterious Deglan claims him through the Law of Surprise.” Unless this is a completely different Deglan, it appears that Nightmare of the Wolf will tie into season two in this flashback sequence. It’s quite possible, then, that these actors (specifically Baxter and Hassan) will voice Vesemir and Deglan respectively in the animated film.
We may not have to wait very long to get an answer, as we expect to hear more about Nightmare of the Wolf soon.
Set Report: A closer look at the set that is likely to be the city of Oxenfurt and more details about flashbacks set in Cintra
Before The Witcher wrapped production, filming took place for many weeks at the massive sets built in the Witcher headquarters at Arborfield Studios. We have some news to share about two of these sets: one appears to be the show’s take on the city of Oxenfurt, and the second suggests a return to Cintra. Keep in mind there may be spoilers below.
Readers of Blood of Elves will remember that a particularly memorable fight scene takes place on the streets of Oxenfurt, one which involves the sadistic mage Rience (Chris Fulton), a number of mercenaries, and Geralt (Henry Cavill). Philippa Eilhart (Cassie Claire) also makes an appearance, both in her owl and her human form. The images taken on set suggest a massive town was built by the Netflix production, and we can’t wait to see their take on this iconic scene.
As for Cintra, it appears the show is filming an extensive flashback sequence as Bart Edwards (Ciri’s father Duny) and Gaia Mondadori (Ciri’s mother Pavetta), as well as Sonny Serkis (Ciri’s friend Martin), are all confirmed to return, and photos of another set from Arborfield Studios seem to depict the familiar walls of Cintra. What flashbacks could be shown? It appears that one of these scenes will involve a dance at the Cintran throne room as several dancers were on set during filming.
Does this mean Jodhi May’s Queen Calanthe will reprise her role as well? We certainly hope so, as she is a fan favorite.
March has been a busy month of Witcher news! With the filming of the second season wrapped, we can hope to see the season on Netflix in the second half of the year. The animated film Nightmare of the Wolf is expected to release before that, and the prequel show Blood Origin will soon enter production. If you wish to make the wait a bit easier, follow Redanian Intelligence on Twitter for all the latest news from the Continent.