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The Witcher season 2 release date estimate, episode recaps, and more

(Image credit: Netflix)

We went in skeptical, but season 1 of The Witcher on Netflix turned out to be one of our favorite shows of 2019, and Henry Cavill proved to be an excellent Geralt, nailing the softy-with-a-gruff-exterior act and swinging his swords around with convincing panache. If you enjoyed season 1 as much as we did, there's good news: The Witcher season 2 was confirmed before the first season released, and should be in production soon. 

The series is based on the Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski, but naturally took a bit of unofficial inspiration from the CD Projekt RPG series, which is what makes the show relevant to us. Here's what we know about season 2, a comprehensive breakdown of the first season's eight episodes, and more about The Witcher's production and where it may be headed.

What is the release date for The Witcher Season 2 on Netflix?

The last we heard, The Witcher season 2 was coming out sometime in 2021. According to Variety, The Witcher season 2 is entering production early this year.

That said, these plans were made before the COVID-19 outbreak. Netflix made the wise decision to suspend production on all of its shows as it decides how to move forward while staying health-conscious. We don't know when production will resume, but there's a high likelihood that release schedules will be pushed.

The latest on The Witcher season 2

Season 2 will have four more Witchers

Four familiar witchers joining the cast for season 2, two of whom we know the casting choices for. Geralt's own grizzled old father figure Vesemir will make an appearance. His long-time witchering peer Eskel will join in as well. Sarcastic jerk witcher Lambert will be played by Paul Bullion and foreign-transplant witcher Coën will be played by Yasen Atour.

The Witcher showrunner shares first Season 2 production photo

Production on The Witcher season 2 may still be on hold, but showrunner Lauren Hissrich took some time to share a production photo from Season 2. 

There's not much to glean from the photo, other than an amazing morning sun. If you squint really hard, I think you can spot Geralt possibly wearing warmer clothing than his usual studded armor. Is that a cloak?

The Witcher Season 2 has found its Vesemir

And it's this guy, Kim Bodnia. You might know him from a stint on Killing Eve, but he's had a steady acting career since the late '90s. He sure looks the part of Vesemir, but we'll see how he stacks up against expectations from the novel and video games.

Vesemir is an important character in the world of the Witcher. He's the oldest and wisest living witcher in the world on top being the man who raised Geralt of Rivia at Kaer Morhen from a young age. He made Geralt the witcher he is today (literally).

Game of Thrones actor signs on for season 2

Kristofer Hivju has been officially cast as Nivellin in The Witcher Season 2. Fans of the books may recognize that name from a fan favorite story in The Last Wish. Hivju, who played Tormund Giantsbane in Game of Thrones, is as close as it comes to perfect casting. Along with Hivju, Netflix confirmed six other cast members on Twitter. 

Season 2 will "dig deeper into Cahir and Fringilla"

That's according to Hissrich, who tweeted that the nominal bad guys will get some attention in the next season.

Henry Cavill is spending his quarantine painting miniatures

Everyone is feeling a little stir crazy during our 2020 quarantine, but it looks like Henry Cavill has his isolated hobbies in order. In a recent Instagram post, Cavill expressed support for NHS works while painting Warhammer miniatures. In case it wasn't already clear, the guy's an actual nerd.

The Witcher season 1 episode recaps

Andy Kelly has been recapping each episode from The Witcher's first season in case you need a refresher between viewings, or want to make sure you didn't miss anything:

  1. The End's Beginning
  2. Four Marks
  3. Betrayer Moon
  4. Of Banquets, Bastards, and Burials
  5. Bottled Appetites
  6. Rare Species
  7. Before a Fall
  8. Much More

A beginner's guide to The Witcher

Totally new to The Witcher, or just want a refresher before starting the show? Jody breaks down what you need to know in our beginner's guide to the series. If the show has gotten you interested in The Witcher books, we also have a guide for that.

Semi-related, Jody also wrote a very serious comparison between Netflix's The Witcher and the 2002 Polish TV show—which has some positive qualities of its own!

Henry Cavill breaks down what makes Geralt so cool

Henry says what we're all thinking in this Witcher featurette. Geralt is a stoic bastard with a genuinely good soul (though he'd never tell you that). He's the classic ronin/mysterious wanderer type that just wants to do his job and move on, though his moral compass often lands him in trouble. 

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Netflix released some official production stills of The Witcher, showcasing Geralt (Henry Cavill), Yennefer (Anya Cholatra), and Ciri (Freya Allan), and more scenes and characters from the first season.

The Witcher showrunner already has seven seasons mapped out

The Witcher series showrunner Lauren Hissrich is optimistic for the success of the show, and says she already has six more season mapped out if all goes well. "We don’t have a second season yet—God willing we will—but right now it’s just about, ‘How do you set up stories that really capture audiences for years at a time?’" Hissrich said (this was before the second season was confirmed). "The worst thing we could do is put all of our energies just into season one, and not be thinking about where these characters can grow to.” 

If the show does return for more than two seasons, there's a lot of material to pull from: six novels, two short story collections, and three video games with a wealth of excellent stories.

The Witcher on Netflix will not adapt the games, only the books

At least, that's all Hissrich is willing to commit to right now. Adapting the books is the extent of her current aspirations, according to a report by The Wrap.

"Extreme long vision is no, we will not start adapting the games," Hissrich replied. "I can only attack one season at a time, I'm so excited for this one, the rest kind of makes my mind explode right now. If someone says 'what happens in Season 7,' sure I have thoughts. Fingers crossed, we get there."

Hissrich also took to Twitter recently, patiently explaining to one user the show's choice to cast more diverse actors.  She cites a few reasons, among them the need to appeal to a global audience, the effect that the United States' relationship with racism has on media made here, and, most importantly, a desire to hold true to the spirit of the books more than the letter. "The Witcher is REALLY interesting when it comes to depicting racism because it’s about species, not skin color," Hissrich says. "What makes characters 'other' is the shape of their ears, height, etc. In the books, no one pays attention to skin color. In the series... no one does either."

A Witcher anime film is coming to Netflix

The Witcher show has been a great success for Netflix. So great, in fact, that another Witcher story is on the way to the service. The anime film, called The Witcher: The Nightmare of the Wolf, is in the works from Witcher showrunner Lauren Hissrich and Studio Mir (the animation studio behind The Legend of Korra and the new Voltron show).

Netflix says the film will "take us back to a new threat facing the Continent." We don't know much more beyond that, but considering it's already in development, Nightmare of the Wolf likely to come out before The Witcher's second season. The Witcher already seems like a great fit for the dramatic action of anime. I can already imagine Geralt's flashy sword moves exaggerated in animation.

Henry Cavill is a big fan of The Witcher

It turns out Cavill actually sought out The Witcher after finding out it was being produced.

"I played the games—they released a game called Witcher 3 about five years ago now. Played that game to death," he told Jimmy Kimmel. "Then I heard it was coming out—I met the showrunner, and that's when I learned there were books. Read the books and realized that I was missing out on a whole world of the stuff. Because I'd been into the fantasy genre since I was a kid—since before I could read, my dad was reading me fantasy books."

Following the release of season 1, Cavill spoke further about his love of PC gaming.

Here are the showrunner's descriptions of several Witcher characters

Yennefer, Ciri, Roach, and Triss join Geralt in season 1, along with Regis the vampire, Emhyr var Emreis, Jaskier, and others.

For a sense of how each was approached, here are Hissrich's descriptions of each character via a series of tweets from a while back. We've removed the dashes between words from Hissrich's original tweets below for ease of reading. 

  • Geralt is described as stoic, circumspect, balanced and fierce, and, in Hissrich's words: "soft and squishy in a tiny place in his heart that he'll never reveal until maybe the end and even then it will just be a hint."
  • Yennefer, meanwhile, is fiery, proud, shrewd and contradictory, plus: "seeking to fill a family-sized hole in her heart even though she resents it and swears she's just fine on her own but she is not and we love her for being both independent and vulnerable."
  • Ciri is described as resilient, relentless, brazen and growing, and, according to Hissrich: "she's going to change the world and what the hell is she supposed to do except be scared and be bold and learn and adapt and find a family who can walk by her side no matter what and maybe just maybe teach her the meaning of love."
  • Roach is apparently "ladylike; faithful; extrasensory; steady". Roach is a horse. 
  • Jakier is extravagant, caddish, loose-lipped. Plus: "Hides behind the exterior of an idiot when in actuality he is the keeper of Geralt’s realities (even if he exaggerates his own heroics) AND the truths of the world which means he’s far more important than we realize…"
  • Triss Merigold is "Spunky; Idealistic; Insecure; Conflicted; Young and naive and lacking the confidence of sorceresses which means she is ripe for manipulation but when she finally transcends the crap she has a chance to be loved as herself and not as 'the third-wheel with Yen'".
  • Cahir is "Conflicted; Charismatic; Haunted; Pure of heart".

That's not everyone—this is a big cast. Check out character descriptions for Regis, Vilgefortz, Ephyr, Milva, Leo Bonhart and Borch Three Jackdaws/Villentretenmerth deeper into Hissrich's Twitter thread, starting here. "This is a starting point, mostly because—how could characters ever be boiled down to five words (even with hyphens?)" Hissrich told fans on Twitter. "Also, the characters change and develop so much over the series that a summary can never be 100% accurate. Geralt starts off stoic. He doesn't end that way."

Yes, there's a tub, and Geralt is in it

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Witchers get dirty, after all.

Where was The Witcher season 1 filmed?

Eastern Europe, naturally.

"WE'LL BE SHOOTING IN EASTERN EUROPE. Yes!" tweeted Hissrich. "This show couldn't exist anyplace else. Period." Budapest is at least one of the locations—that's where filming started. 

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(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

An animated Witcher series could also be in the works

As noticed by Witcher news source Redanian Intelligence, a reliable leaker has shared the apparent existence of an animated Netflix Witcher show. "They were casting for an animated series set in the world of The Witcher and featuring some side characters a while back. The plan was to make this available on Netflix sometime between season 1 and 2. No idea whether or not this is still happening," reads the post on Recapped, a NSFW blog that originally revealed the casting of Henry Cavill as Geralt.

Netflix has been expanding more and more into animation in recent years, so this wouldn't be out of left field for the service. As Redanian Intelligence also points out, German actress Helena Klaus previously listed voice over work for the Witcher on her CV. The pieces are all there for this to be true, but take it all with a grain of salt.