The Witcher season 2 is almost here. The next instalment in Netflix's live-action adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s bestselling novels launches exclusively on the streaming giant tomorrow (Friday, December 17). And, after a two-year wait before we could reunite with Geralt, Ciri, Yennefer and company, it's been a long time coming.
Before its arrival, TechRadar had the pleasure of speaking to star Henry Cavill, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, and other prominent cast members ahead of The Witcher's second season. Before it's released, read our in--depth interview feature about The Witcher season 2, when the show's third season may arrive, how the Blood Origin prequel series will expand Netflix's Witcher-Verse, and if Cavil has been cast in Amazon Studios' reported Mass Effect TV adaptation.
If you're all caught up on our exclusive coverage, though, you'll want to read up on everything we know before Netflix's big-budget fantasy show returns to our screens. Below, we've compiled every piece of information that you need to know ahead of its release, including The Witcher season 2's launch date, cast, plot details, trailers, episode titles and more.
Don't forget to toss a coin to your Witcher. Once you have, let's dive into The Witcher season 2.
The Witcher season 2 release date
The Witcher season 2 release date: December 17, 2021
The Witcher Season 2 premieres December 17! pic.twitter.com/8GXtt6adT7July 9, 2021
The Witcher season 2 will be released on December 17, 2021.
For those who aren't aware, too, it'll comprise eight episodes, much like its predecessor did. If you want the lowdown on season 2's episode titles, as well as who has written and directed each entry, you can jump ahead to the relevant section below.
The Witcher season 2 trailer
The Witcher season 2 trailer: check out the final teaser
The final trailer for The Witcher season 2 landed online in late October, and gave us a better look at what the show's next instalment will be about.
The latest trailer contains some major teases about the course of show's second year. “None of us will have any peace until there are no monsters left in the world,” says Geralt, ushering in scenes of magic, violence and monsters – not to mention some epic vistas of the Continent and ominous portents about Ciri's power.
You can check it out above if you haven't seen it yet, and then read on to watch the first season 2 teaser that was released on July 9 as part of the Witcher Con celebration:
Seeing as much of the first season focused on Geralt's efforts to fulfil the Law of Surprise binding him to Ciri, the young, orphaned heir/Lion Cub of Cintra, it's no shock that the first Witcher season 2 trailer picks things up with them.
Now that Geralt has made contact with Ciri, he takes her under his wing and leads her to Kaer Morhen – his childhood home and a safehouse for his Witcher brethren, which is run by his mentor and fellow Witcher Vesemir.
There's also a brief sighting of the final member of The Witcher's central triumvirate, Yennefer of Vengerberg, in the aftermath of season 1's climactic Battle of Sodden Hill. She's been found by Fringilla, the Nilfgaardian mage who was pivotal in the downfall of Cintra, who simply tells her: "Welcome back..."
The Witcher season 2 episode titles
The Witcher season 2 episode titles: what are they?
Seven of the eight episode titles for season 2 were revealed as part of WitcherCon. And, since then, we've received word of who has written and directed each of those announced entries:
- A Grain of Truth (writer – Declan de Barra; director – Stephen Surjik)
- Kaer Morhen (writer – Beau DeMayo; director – Stephen Surjik)
- What is Lost (writer – Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and Clare Higgins; director – Sarah O'Gorman)
- Redanian Intelligence (writer – Sneha Koorse; director – Sarah O'Gorman)
- Turn Your Back (writer – Haily Hall; director – Edward Bazalgette)
- Dear Friend (writer – Matthew D'Ambrosio; director – Louise Hooper)
- Voleth Meir (writer – Mike Ostrowski; director - TBC)
- TBC (writer – Lauren Schmidt Hissrich; director – TBC)
The eighth and final episode's title is so secret that we'll only learn about when the whole season arrives.
But the ones that have been revealed offer up a few clues about The Witcher season 2. We've seen the first six episodes, so we know what they entail. But, to save you from having anything spoiled ahead of time, we won't dive too deep into what happens.
For now, then, this is what we can reveal: 'A Grain of Truth' takes its name from a short story in Andrzej Sapkowki’s book The Last Wish, which features Nivellen, the character played by Game of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju. And 'Kaer Morhen' is the name of a fortress where Witchers are trained, which is also where Geralt grew up.
Meanwhile, 'Redanian Intelligence' refers to Redania, a country on the Continent that possesses an exceptional spy network. And 'Voleth Meir' refers to a new character played by Ania Marson. Voleth Meir is reportedly elven for 'Deathless Mother', and it seems the character has an important role to play in Ciri's arc. Again, no spoilers here, so you'll have to watch season to find out more.
The Witcher season 2 cast
The Witcher season 2 cast: who is playing who?
Here's the full cast list for The Witcher season 2:
- Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia
- Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg
- Freya Allan as Ciri, the Lion Cub of Cintra
- Joey Batey as Jaskier
- Kim Bodnia as Vesemir
- Mimî M Khayisa as Fringilla Vigo
- Anna Shaffer as Triss
- Eamon Farren as Cahir
- MyAnna Buring as Tissaia
- Tom Canton as Filvandrel
- Lars Mikkelsen as Stregobor
- Terence Maynard as Artorius
- Therica Wilson Read as Sabrina
- Lilly Cooper as Murta
- Jeremy Crawford as Yarpen Zigrin
- Royce Pierreson as Istredd
- Kristofer Hivju as Nivellen
- Adjoa Andoh as Nenneke
- Liz Carr as Fenn
- Simon Callow as Codringher
- Graham McTavish as Dijkstra
- Kevin Doyle as Ba'Lian
- Chris Fulton as Rience
- Cassie Clare as Philippa Eilhart
- Paul Bullion as Lambert
- Yasen Atour as Coën
- Basil Eidenbenz as Eskel
- Joel Adrian as Hemrik
- Mecia Simson as Francesca
- Aisha Fabienne Ross as Lydia
- Agnes Bjorn as Vereena
- Carmel Laniado as Violet
- Rebecca Hanssen as Queen Meve
While Geralt was something of a lone (White) wolf in season 1, we’ll be meeting a few more Witchers in season 2.
Kim Bodnia (Killing Eve) will play Vesemir – who appears as the focus in animated Witcher prequel movie Nightmare of the Wolf. Paul Bullion, Yasen Atour and Basil Eidenbenz are also joining the cast as fellow Witchers Lambert, Coën and Eskel, respectively, while Redanian Intelligence has reported that Joel Adrian will play another Witcher named Hemrik.
It's interesting that the producers are seemingly throwing in extra Witchers for season 2, seeing as these monster-slaying professionals are typically considered to be a dying breed. While there are references to other Witcher schools like the Cat and Bear in the books, Geralt’s faction seems to be one of the few Witcher groups actively doing anything to fight the monster threat facing the Continent.
In terms of other newcomers, Kristofer Hivju will play Nivellen, a man cursed with the body of a monster. We’ll see him in the first episode, aka ‘A Grain of Truth’.
In March 2021, Netflix revealed seven more characters who had been added to the cast. They were Adjoa Andoh (Bridgerton) as Nenneke, a priestess of Melitele in the books; Liz Carr (Silent Witness) as Fenn; Simon Callow (Four Weddings and a Funeral) as Fenn's partner, Codringher; Graham McTavish (Outlander) as Redanian armed forces head Dijkstra; Chris Fulton (Clique) as the mage Rience; Cassie Clare (Grace) as Redanian royal advisor Philippa Eilhart; and Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey) as Ba'Lian, a new character.
Other castings include Mecia Simson (Brave New World) as Francesca, Aisha Fabienne Ross (The Danish Girl) as Lydia and Agnes Born (Just a Thought) as Vereena.
At least one character from The Witcher games is destined for The Witcher season 2, too.
According to Redanian Intelligence, the witty, powerful Queen Meve of Lyria and Rivia, introduced in the game Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, is to be played by Rebecca Hanssen (Enola Holmes). The videogame connections are also set to continue with actor Alastair Parker, who played Cleaver in The Witcher 3 game (also via Redanian Intelligence), who’ll appear in an as-yet unrevealed role.
The Witcher season 2 story
The Witcher season 2 story: what is the plot about?
Again, we've seen the first six episodes of The Witcher season 2, so we know what happens for the most part. However, we won't be spoiling a thing here: everything you read below, then, is what we'd previously speculated about the show's second season. So read that instead to get a better idea of what may happen.
For starters, here's Netflix's official logline on the show's return:
"Convinced Yennefer’s life was lost at the Battle of Sodden, Geralt of Rivia brings Princess Cirilla to the safest place he knows, his childhood home of Kaer Morhen. While the Continent’s kings, elves, humans and demons strive for supremacy outside its walls, he must protect the girl from something far more dangerous: the mysterious power she possesses inside."
It's a season about Geralt becoming a father figure to Ciri, according to showrunner Hissrich, so expect that relationship to drive season 2. Geralt – a man who rarely uses words when a grunt will do – might become more talkative in his new paternal role.
"For me, it was very important to bring Geralt as close to the books as the vision and plot would allow,” said Henry Cavill at WitcherCon (via Redanian Intelligence). “I wanted him to be more verbose and more intellectual and more representative of a man who has lived 70 years and has a philosophical lean. He can be mopey at times but he is also wise. He has been around. He is a nice guy despite having moments of unpleasantness, and capable of extraordinary violence, but his intentions are pure. I wanted to reflect that as much as possible.”
A big talking point of season 1 was how it told stories in multiple places and across a non-linear timeline – the now-released official Witcher map and Witcher timeline really help make sense of the show – resulting in a multi-tale anthology of sorts.
In an interview with Vulture discussing the odd structure of season 1, Hissrich said that while she believes "the audience is incredibly smart", she had "misunderstood what everyone was looking for in their entertainment". She said "I love to be challenged when I'm watching TV," but conceded that that wasn't the case for everyone.
However, season 1's climax brought all the separate threads together nicely, priming The Witcher season 2 for a simpler plot. Hissrich told us that Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer exist in the same timeline now, so their stories will be told simultaneously. Indeed, this season will mark the first time Freya Allan (Ciri) and Anya Chalotra (Yennefer) have actually acted together, which should make things easier to follow.
That doesn't mean we won't see any of the episodic Geralt monster-hunting adventures that we loved in season 1. Hissrich will be mining "different short stories" for The Witcher season 2 – such as the aforementioned 'A Grain of Truth' – which suggests that we'll see plenty of beasts in the show's second outing.
Some other changes are coming, too. The wrinkly Nilfgaardian armor, which some fans on the internet didn't like, will be upgraded in The Witcher season 2. Hissrich told Flickering Myth's Writer Experience podcast that, "the Nilfgaard armor will be totally different. You have that opportunity [in season 2] to go back and course correct if you want to."
The Witcher season 2: the TV series' future
The Witcher season 3 is confirmed – and more seasons may follow
The first season of The Witcher shrugged off the idea that it was just here to fill a Game of Thrones-shaped hole in our lives. It confidently told stories in its own way and presented a fantasy world that has already captured people's imaginations on their games consoles and via Sapkowski's novels.
And, while we are unlikely to see much spill over from the games in the Netflix show – they are not really canon according to Sapkowski, but rather a "free adaptation containing elements of [his] work" – we know fans will enjoy various subtle references to the games, as they did in season 1.
The Witcher could run on Netflix for a long time, too – a third season is already confirmed, and Hissrich claims to have thought out ideas for a massive seven seasons.
We're pretty certain there's enough source material left for that to be viable, too: as it stands, Cavill is game for sticking with Geralt's story for the whole of a seven-season run. “Absolutely,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “As long as we can keep telling great stories which honor [Andrzej] Sapkowski’s work.”
And it's easy to see why they think it could be a goer, because they've got the entirety of Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer's stories to play out. It takes them across the Continent to a rich variety of locations and introduces us to some of the best fantasy characters around. Ciri's development is a great basis for future tales in The Witcher universe that combine themes of family and love, and mystery and magic.
There's also prequel series The Witcher: Blood Origin in the offing, as well as another animated movie on the way and a more kid-friendly Witcher series in the works. Bring it all on, we say. We're in for the long haul, and so you should be.
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Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.