Redianian Intelligence returns for their monthly column on What’s on Netflix cataloging all the recent news and developments for season two of The Witcher and the two prequels that are in development. This month’s updates including filming updates, saying goodbye to an old friend, some new casting for the prequels, and much more. Let’s dive in.
In the February 2021 update, Redanian Intelligence will take you through all the recent news on The Witcher and its spin-offs.
February 2021 Topics:
- The Witcher is continuing to film season two in studio after the Christmas break
- A change of horses: Geralt paired with a new companion as the first Roach bids farewell to The Witcher
- More VFX studios are joining The Witcher to work on the special effects of season two
- The Witcher casts King Henselt and other characters
- Jodie Turner-Smith to star in The Witcher prequel Blood Origin
- Runtime revealed: The latest on the animated Witcher prequel Nightmare of the Wolf
The Witcher is continuing to film season two in studio after the Christmas break
Filming of the second season of The Witcher picked up again after the Christmas break. The cast and crew are currently holed up in their headquarters in Arborfield studios and busy completing scenes from various episodes. Directors Stephen Surjik (episodes one and two) and Louise Hooper (episodes six and seven) have been filming recently and some members of the cast have also indicated that they’re back at work.
Henry Cavill has recovered after his leg injury in December and shared on Instagram that he’s already back to his usual grueling schedule, starting at 04:30 AM to get a few hours of rehab done in advance of the work on set. Other actors who recently took to social media to announce they’re back at work include Henry’s Witcher colleague Paul Bullion who plays season two newcomer Lambert, as well as Anna Shaffer and Royce Pierreson, who fans will remember as Triss Merigold and Istredd from season one. View the full article with all the posts here.
With January gone, fans may wonder how much is still left to film. At Redanian Intelligence, we heard that the original plan was to wrap up filming by February 2021 but that was before the second Covid break. Considering the two week interruption in November, as well as some possible hiccups in the wake of Henry’s injury and a slightly delayed start after the Christmas break, our best current guess is that filming will be done and dusted in March 2021. Keep in mind that this is just an estimate. However, if we’re adding six to seven months of post-production this could mean The Witcher season two will air sometime this fall in September or October.
A change of horses: Geralt pairs with a new companion as the first Roach bids farewell to The Witcher
Roach, Geralt’s most loyal and self-sufficient companion won the hearts of thousands of fans when The Witcher aired in December 2019. Throughout the first season, he (for in the series Roach was a male) was portrayed masterfully by a Hungarian stallion named Zeusz. Now, his handler announced on Instagram that Zeusz’s Witcher journey has come to an end as they are heading back to Hungary.
What does this mean for the future? We know that Geralt will start season two with his old buddy Roach but as we’ve seen in November somewhere along the road he will acquire a new horse, one he will definitely name Roach, as he always does. What will happen to the first Roach, remains to be seen, but given that the witcher has been riding the same horse for 30 years, we’re hopeful if not quite convinced that he will be allowed to enjoy his retirement in peace.
More VFX studios are joining The Witcher to work on the special effects of season two
With the post-production period ahead, the focus will soon be on editing, complementing and perfecting the footage filmed in the past year. This is where the special effects, music, and additional dialogue recording come into play. The list of visual effect studios working on the second season of The Witcher continues to grow.
At Redanian Intelligence, we learned that the award-winning Rodeo FX (known for their work on productions such as Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Fantastic Beasts and Deadpool) and the Canadian Studio Mr. X (Vikings, Carnival Row, and Cursed) are the newest names in an already impressive lineup including George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic (The Mandalorian), The Third Floor (Rogue One), as well as Cinesite, One of Us, Platige Image and Clear Angle Studio who return, having already worked on season one of The Witcher. Although we cannot confirm it at the time of writing, it’s likely that the studio Nviz will also return. With all these prolific studios in the fray, we should be in for a visual spectacle.
The Witcher casts King Henselt and other characters
As filming of season two is nearing completion, there are still a few important new characters we have not connected to an actor yet. As usual, Netflix is keeping things quiet on the casting front, after announcing a few leads back in February 2020. However, that does not mean we’re not keeping our eyes and ears out for potential newcomers. Last November, we broke the news that Queen Meve of Lyria and Rivia will be played by young actress Rebecca Hanssen and now we found one of her colleagues.
Edward Rowe, also known as comedian Kernow King in Cornwall, is set to play King Henselt, the ruler of Kaedwen in season two. Henselt is well known to book and game fans alike, for his warmongering tendencies and extreme views on racial equality. To new fans he will likely come across as a rugged and intimidating figure, or as Geralt sometimes observed ‘a guy who looks more like a bandit than a king’.
Also confirmed for season two are actors Ed Birch (The Last Kingdom) and Julie Barclay (Broadchurch), although we don’t know their roles yet, although we strongly feel Barclay to be portraying Nenneke.
Jodie Turner-Smith to star in The Witcher prequel Blood Origins
In January 2021, Netflix announced that actress and model Jodie Turner-Smith (Nightflyers, The Last Ship) would lead the cast of the first live-action Witcher spinoff titled The Witcher: Blood Origin. In the six-part limited series that is set 1200 years before the main series, Turner-Smith will play Éile, who is 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”. The series is also promised to explore the creation of the very first witcher.
No other cast for the prequel is currently known, although several reliable sourced reported last yeat that Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Game of Thrones) was offered a role in the series. It appears that Momoa will be unable to participate in Blood Origin as filming for the series is set to begin in May 2021 and Momoa is scheduled to start filming his new film called Slumberland from February to June 2021.
Runtime revealed: The latest on the animated Witcher prequel Nightmare of The Wolf
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf 2D anime film was announced more than a year ago and has been the topic of rumours for far longer. In 2021 we will finally see it and now we even know the official runtime: 1 hour 21 minutes. Nightmare of the Wolf is being developed by Studio Mir (Legend of Korra) and will tell the story of young Vesemir, the Witcher who eventually became Geralt’s mentor and father figure.
Unfortunately, “2021” is the most precise release date for the anime at the moment, but it has been long rumoured to be dropped on Netflix before The Witcher season two, which is expected sometime in the second half of the year.
With the second season of The Witcher having no more than several weeks of filming, Blood Origin entering pre-production afterwards and Nightmare of the Wolf releasing later this year, we’re very intrigued to see what comes out of this Witcher Cinematic Universe in the future.