Redanian Intelligence has returned after a brief hiatus due to COVID-19 to bring you all of the latest Netflix information regarding The Witcher series. Below, we’ve got the latest on season 2 production, first look at a brand new spin-off series and anything else that The Witcher fans should know.
The success of The Witcher's Henry Cavill-led fantasy movie was evident even before Netflix launched it. Following in the footsteps of the beloved Polish saga as well as a popular trilogy of video games, The Witcher was destined to become Netflix’s next big thing – and indeed it has. The show’s success has prompted Netflix to go all-in on the franchise: with a second season already in development and two standalone spinoffs in the works (and possibly more on the way), The Witcher has a very bright future on Netflix. Despite the effects of COVID-19, this has been a busy month for Netflix’s sword-and-sorcery franchise, and we’ll gather July’s biggest stories below.
Early this year, Netflix announced an animated film starring Geralt of Rivia’s adoptive father and mentor Vesemir (titled Nightmare of the Wolf), much to the excitement of the fanbase. Netflix now reveals that the company has more plans for the franchise. This includes a live-action spinoff.
Prequel to The Witcher: Blood Origin, which takes place 1200 years prior to Geralt of Rivia's ride into Blaviken. Blood Origin will tell the story of how men and monsters arrived on the Continent. It is set before, during, and after the Conjunction. The series is expected to tell the story of how the first witcher was created.
The six-part limited series will be written and overseen by two of The Witcher’s writers, including Lauren Hissrich (The Witcher showrunner) and Declan de Barra (writer of episode four of season one, as well as episode one of season two, which will adapt the short story A Grain of Truth). Series author Andrzej Sapkowski is also involved as a consultant, though it’s likely his role is limited.
De Barra will serve as the showrunner and is quick to tweet his delight. “As a lifelong fan of fantasy, I am beyond excited to tell the story The Witcher: Blood Origin. Since I was a child, a question has been in my head: How did the Elven world look before the advent of humans? I’ve always been fascinated by the rise and fall of civilizations, how science, discovery, and culture flourish right before that fall.”
After season 2 wraps production, Blood Origin will begin filming in the United Kingdom.
Despite the many spinoffs in development, Netflix’s main focus remains on The Witcher season two. The series was just beginning when the pandemic coronavirus struck, causing the production to stop approximately four weeks in the five-month period. The long wait has finally come to an end. The Witcher season 2 will resume filming in August.
Although it may seem far off, this date is rapidly approaching. The Witcher Headquarters in Arborfield Studios have already started to get into gear. From casting directors to location scouts, to stuntmen to art designers, hundreds are hard at work every day to create the sets and actors needed for production to continue steadily under COVID-19 guidelines.
How will the pandemic affect season two’s filming? It will first require lots of planning and logistics. The immediate result is an extension in the filming time. Instead of the five month shoot, eight months were required for filming. This will delay the official release date of the show which was expected to be in the summer of 2021. In the meantime, we’ll be covering the filming to satisfy your thirst for Witcher content.
In the past week, our sources have confirmed that two of The Witcher’s stars have returned to Arborfield Studios for training in time for filming this August. Henry Cavill from Geralt of Rivia was seen walking towards the studio with his dog Kal. Freya Allan, a young actress (Princess Ciri), posted an Instagram message revealing that she has also started training. Their storylines are converged and the stars will likely share much of their screen time in season 2.
Lauren Hissrich, the showrunner of Season 2, spoke out about Geralt-Ciri's relationship in a TV Guide interview. “What’s really fun about Season 2 is that in the books, [after] Geralt and Ciri meet at that moment in Sodden… when we come back in the next book, we’ve actually skipped a lot of time. Well, we found in writing the show that we didn’t actually want to skip over those first months of them getting to know each other. That’s part of the fun, is to take these characters, as you say, who understand that they’re each other’s destiny — not really embracing it, but accepting that this is what they need to do to continue walking through The Continent. Let's see what it would look like. What would it be like for two strangers to come together and feel like that’s what they’ve been driving for the entire season? They finally got together and then they’re like, ‘Oh, I don’t know you at all. You are a stranger.’ And you know, Geralt, of course, has no experience with parenting, with children, with having a sort of continuous relationship in his life.”
Hissrich also spoke about the eagerly awaited witcher training Ciri will receive in Kaer Morhen, along with Geralt and other witchers. “We’re really trying to savor it. I think one of the things that, of course, happens when you are adapting material is that you have these eight episodes, they’re an hour long each, [and] we had much more of Ciri’s story in Season 1 that we ended up having to trim down. And it’s one of the things that when I look at the season, I see she’s not as present, Ciri’s not as present as I would have liked her to be. So in Season 2, we’re really digging in with her character and we’re going to understand her a lot more. And yes, that growth that you’re describing, where she starts training, where she actually becomes the character that we know from the books and later from the video games, we will see her become that person. But she doesn’t change on a dime. What we don’t want to do is forget where she came from.”
Though we have not been able to confirm it, it’s very likely that costars Anya Chalotra (the powerful sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg) and Joey Batey (the silly bard Jaskier) are also preparing for the upcoming shoot. Many of the cast members who appeared in season 1 will return, as well as several new actors (led by Francesca, an Elven sorceress played by Mecia SIMSON).
Besides the cast and on-set crew, The Witcher’s post-production team is also making preparations. Redanian Intelligence recently discovered the existence of a new VFX Studio: Industrial Lights & Magic (also known as ILM).
ILM is a 16-time winner of awards studio that George Lucas founded in 1975. Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Pirates of the Caribbean and Jurassic Park are just a few of their credits.
Besides ILM, another studio affiliated with Star Wars is joining the team: The Third Floor, who’s previously worked on Star Wars: Rogue One, Mowgli and Spiderman: Far From Home. These studios will be joining at least four other VFX studios who’ve worked on The Witcher’s first season, including Platige Image, Cinesite, One of Us and Clear Angle Studios.
After creating the memorable original languages in HBO’s Game of Thrones (Dothraki and High Valyrian), David J. Peterson has become the go-to language expert for fantasy shows and an important get for The Witcher. New documents shared by Peterson and revealed by Redanian Intelligence provide a look behind the curtain into the development of the Continent’s Elder Language.
The documents include the entire universe alphabet for Elder Speech as well as recurring phrases. Besides that, the mention of Scoia’tael (a guerilla Elven rebel faction) and a mysterious “deathless mother” character tease upcoming stories for season two. Redanian Intelligence has a detailed article on the Elder Speech.
That will be all for August’s monthly update but fret not, we expect to uncover more exciting reveals in the weeks to come. With season 2 filming to resume in a matter of weeks, Redanian Intelligence and What’s on Netflix will keep you updated on set leaks, casting news and much much more.