Despite the many challenges of filming during the Coronavirus pandemic, production of The Witcher’s second season has finally entered the final leg of filming, with director Ed Bazalgette now on set. We’ve collected this month’s greatest stories below. Beware of major spoilers in the last two sections of this article.
Topics in this article:
- Henry Cavill completes a major fight sequence with Blaviken stunt choreographer Wolfgang Stegemann
- Joey Batey’s Jaskier finally joins the cast on set, gets teased by Filavandrel actor
- Our best look yet at The Witcher’s redesigned Nilfgaardian armor
- A new look at the massive town set in Arborfield Studios
- Season two’s final director, Ed Bazalgette, films with Mages and Elves
- Spoiler Report: The Witcher season 2 may revisit Cintra with two returning cast members
- Spoiler report: Netflix to make big changes to Eskel’s role in The Witcher
Henry Cavill completes a major fight sequence with Blaviken stunt choreographer Wolfgang Stegemann
Before the Netflix production went on its Christmas break in December, we reported that Mission Impossible’s stunt choreographer Wolfgang Stegemann (who was also in charge of season 1’s Blaviken fight scene) was reunited with Henry Cavill on set. Since then, the two have spent many weeks training and filming what will most likely be another amazing set piece in The Witcher’s second episode.
As we have previously reported, this fight will involve multiple witchers and will take place at the fortress of Kaer Morhen. Henry Cavill will be fighting alongside the likes of Vesemir (Kim Bodnia), Lambert (Paul Bullion), Eskel (Basil Eidenbenz), and several original witcher characters that will be introduced in the series.
Not long ago, it was reported that Henry Cavill was injured on set of The Witcher, and from our understanding, this happened during the filming of this sequence. Since then, Henry was able to recuperate and return to the set. Now, we are happy to report that this sequence has finally been completed, allowing the production to proceed into the final block of filming.
Joey Batey’s Jaskier finally joins the cast on set, gets teased by Filavandrel actor
Though Joey Batey was oddly missing for the past few months of filming, the actor was finally confirmed on set in February. The news came courtesy of Tom Canton who plays the Elven King Filavandrel.
More than any other cast member, Canton has taken his Elven role seriously, refusing to break character even on social media. In the past, Canton would tweet about his hatred for d’hoine (humans), but his newest tweet shows him flipping the middle finger at a certain bard’s trailer on set. It’s good to see that Jaskier is filming again, even if his role may be slightly smaller this time around. We’re interested to see if the Filavandrel-Jaskier rivalry will continue into season 2, or if Canton is still salty about “elf on a shelf”.
Damn bard #TheWitcher pic.twitter.com/EToTtorzU7
— Tom Canton (@Tom_Canton) February 23, 2021
Our best look yet at The Witcher’s redesigned Nilfgaardian armor
Perhaps the greatest controversy pertaining to The Witcher in the period before season 1 launched on Netflix was about the design of the Nilfgaardian armor. Though the original design certainly captured the terrifying, alien threat that is the Nilfgaardian Empire, many believed the costumes looked rather cheap or silly. Following that, comparisons were made that could never be unseen.
Needless to say, the fandom was collectively relieved when showrunner Lauren Hissrich confirmed the armor would be redesigned in season 2. We’ve already seen the new armor set, as worn by Eamon Farren’s Cahir and multiple extras, but now we have an even better look at it (including a closer look at the new helmets). In our humble opinion, this is certainly a great improvement.
A new look at the massive town set in Arborfield Studios
One of our first reports on The Witcher’s second season was about a massive set being constructed in Arborfield Studios. This set was to be a town that would represent multiple locations in the Continent over the coming years. With Covid restrictions and the extreme secrecy of the crew, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen or heard of this particular set. Thankfully, Redditor u/KajaSinis was able to snap a few pictures of this set earlier in February.
It seems that progress has been made, and the massive green screen seen in these photos may suggest that filming has already begun in the town set. Should season 2 follow the books, we’re likely to see Geralt travel to the Redanian city of Oxenfurt in the later episodes, and these scenes may be filming as we speak.
Season two’s final director, Ed Bazalgette, films with Mages and Elves
Originally, the filming schedule of season 2 was divided into four Blocks, each led by a different director. Stephen Surjik (Umbrella Academy) was in charge of the first two episodes, which include Kristofer Hivju’s guest role as Nivellen and the aforementioned fight at Kaer Morhen. Sara O’Gorman (Cursed) was in charge of episodes three and four, including the massive gathering filmed at Fountains Abbey. Louise Hooper (Flesh and Blood) has filmed scenes for episodes six and seven, some featuring Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer paired with Freya Allan’s Ciri. This leaves season 2’s final director, who will film episodes five and eight.
Ed Bazalgette is known for his work in The Last Kingdom, where he directed one of the show’s largest battle scenes. His addition to The Witcher’s second season suggests another explosive season finale, and new details from the set may confirm this. This is not unprecedented for the Netflix series, seeing as season 1’s final episode featured the Battle of Sodden, but there are no major battles in the novel Blood of Elves.
Some fans have speculated that season 2 will climax with what is generally considered the Saga’s most epic set piece on Thanedd Isle, but we don’t believe this is the case. What seems far more likely is that season 2 will conclude with original content. Some of this new material seems to involve elves and mages, as extras and stunt performers taking on such roles have been hard at work filming a massive sequence in the past few days.
For more details, including various animals on set, make sure to read the full Redanian Intelligence report.
SPOILER WARNING! If you wish to watch season 2 with no prior knowledge, do not read the last two sections of this article. Major spoilers will follow, and the last section will come as a surprise even to those who’ve read the novels on which the show is based.
Spoiler Report: The Witcher season 2 may revisit Cintra with two returning cast members
The central location in The Witcher season 1 was the Kingdom of Cintra, Ciri’s home. It was there that Geralt of Rivia first met the relentless Queen Calanthe, and it was there that his destiny was bound to Ciri’s. This happens in a massive feast, during which Ciri’s mother Pavetta is revealed to be pregnant with Duny’s baby, and Duny’s curse is healed. That was also the last time Ciri’s parents were seen in the show, as they died mysteriously off screen.
Now we can confirm that Bart Edwards (Duny) and Gaia Mondadori (Pavetta) have returned to the set and will be filming a scene with director Ed Bazalgette for either the fifth or eighth episode of season 2. With them returning, presumably for a flashback or dream sequence, it is rather likely that other Cintran characters such as Jodhi May’s Calanthe will also return. Either way, we’re curious to see what these scenes will cover, particularly regarding Duny’s character. Perhaps a reveal from Sapkowski’s final Witcher novel will happen earlier than expected?
Spoiler Report: Netflix to make big changes to Eskel’s role in The Witcher
One more time, we urge you not to proceed unless you are ready and willing to spoil a major surprise from The Witcher’s early season 2 episodes. This one is rather shocking and lacks the necessary context. For reference, imagine hearing about season 1’s eels without the relevant backstory.
This time, our spoiler report focuses on Eskel. Various details have led us to believe that the character’s role will be smaller than some fans first hoped, and this was confirmed when we reached out to an old source. Many months ago, this source spotted The Witcher’s cast and crew filming at the caves of Hodge Close Quarry. Our source reportedly saw Henry Cavill on location, and also a wolf. We also reported that Paul Bullion’s Lambert was on location, though that may have been a misunderstanding as we now have new details of the filming of this scene.
The scene shot at Hodge Close involved a body being fed to the wolves inside the cave. According to our source, this body belongs to Eskel. If Eskel will indeed be killed off in season 2, that is sure to disappoint the character’s fanbase, but it’s important to remember that he is a minor character in the novels and only appears in a couple of chapters.
And how will Eskel meet his demise? Well, we believe that Eskel will die during the major Kaer Morhen fight scene we mentioned earlier in this article. One early leak from season 2 confirmed that a witcher will be fighting a Leshy (known to gamers as Leshen), resulting in “major consequences”. Knowing what we know now, it seems quite likely that the fight taking place at Kaer Morhen will pit several witchers against this Leshy, and not all of them will make it out alive.
As for Eskel’s corpse being fed to the wolves… Well, we’re not quite sure what’s happening in this scene. Perhaps this is some sort of ritual held by witchers of the School of the Wolf? Your guess is as good as ours.
And that will be all for our monthly Witcher Recap of March 2021. With season 2 approaching the finish line at full speed, we’re sure to hear more about the second season in the coming weeks. This includes numerous unrevealed castings (Dijkstra, Nenneke, Rience, etc) which we hope to confirm soon. In the meantime, follow our Twitter page @RedanianIntel for the latest news on The Witcher and its spinoffs.