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The Witcher season 2: release date, trailer, cast, set photos and what we know

The Witcher season 2
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Witcher season 2 will finally release in the last three months of 2021 – and we now have two (admittedly super brief) trailers to pick apart. We're closing in on two years since we were introduced to Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), and Netflix's brilliant fantasy drama that brings the work of Andrzej Sapkowski tlife.

But release date aside, what else do we know about The Witcher season 2 so far? Quite a lot, it turns out, including detailed cast information and rumored plot details. The story of these coming episodes will see Geralt and Ciri traveling together, and unlike the convoluted time structure of season 1, you can anticipate this season being a lot easier to follow as the tale will apparently told in a more linear fashion.

As mentioned, we finally have a first teaser trailer for season 2, and while it doesn't give much away, it does at least give us a tiny glimpse of where things are going in these new episodes. This guide will break down everything we know about The Witcher season 2 on Netflix so far, divided into sections on the story, cast, release date and more. Here's what you need to know about Geralt's return...

The Witcher season 2 release date: confirmed for 2021

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The Witcher season 2 will have a release date in 2021, Netflix has confirmed – it's coming in the final quarter of this year at an unspecified time. But it is coming. "We anticipate paid membership growth will re-accelerate in the second half of 2021 as we ramp into a very strong back half slate with the return of big hits like Sex Education, The Witcher, La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist), and You," Netflix said in a recent letter to investors. 

Netflix later clarified a specific Q4 2021 release date window for The Witcher season 2 – so, between October and the end of December. That's when you'll finally get to see it.

Right now, the key date for your diary is July 9, 2021. That's the day Netflix is teaming up with CD Projekt Red (developer of the hit Witcher videogame series) for WitcherCon

This virtual event is set to be the ultimate destination for fans of the Continent, with the official site promising “deep dives” into the making of the show (featuring “exclusive behind-the-scenes footage”),  alongside “interactive panels” and “breaking news from the Netflix series”. We’re hoping this means we’ll have official confirmation of The Witcher season 2 release date in July.

The Witcher season 2 trailer: now there are two!

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Netflix has released two ultra brief first look at The Witcher season 2, so you can technically count these as your first official trailers for the return of the series. 

Although the first teaser runs at a brisk 12 seconds, it crams a lot of frames of interest into its fast-edited run-time. The focus is very much on Ciri (aka the Lion Cub of Cintra, played by Freya Allan), who went on the run after her home was conquered by the Nilfgaardian Empire in season 1. This new The Witcher season 2 trailer strongly hints that the new run of episodes will pick up immediately after season 1 ended, when Ciri finally made contact with Geralt of Rivia.

The Witcher news site Redanian Intelligence has assembled a detailed frame-by-frame analysis of the trailer, which speculates that we might be seeing the key location of Kaer Morhen, the start of Ciri’s training as a swordswoman, and some elegant new armor for Nilfgaardians. 

The second, spotlighting Henry Cavill's Geralt of Rivia, can be found below. It's similarly brief, but gives fans a lot to chew on.

We'd expect to see a more substantial The Witcher season 2 trailer at the WitcherCon event on July 9.

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The Witcher season 2 first photos

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In October 2020, Netflix released first look photos of Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri in season 2 of The Witcher during shooting. 

Clearly, Ciri is holding some sort of weapon in these promotional stills, which does indicate this season will focus on how she is trained up as something of an honorary Witcher at Kaer Morhen.

In December 2020, Netflix released yet more photos of the show, which you can see below. 

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Right at the end of 2020, Netflix released the first page of the script for The Witcher season 2, episode 1. It doesn't give a lot away, but it's the best we're going to get until a trailer finally rolls out.

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Witcher season 2 cast: new and returning cast members, including Vesemir

Henry Cavill (Geralt), Anya Chalotra (Yennefer) and Freya Allan (Ciri) are all set to return for The Witcher season 2. The full cast for the show has been revealed by Netflix, too, including key new characters.

Three new witchers are apparently joining the cast: Lambert, played by Paul Bullion, and Coën, played by Yasen Atour (Netflix only announced that both had joined the cast, while Redanian Intelligence reported they're witchers). This has created the expectation that The Witcher season 2 will take us to Kaer Morhen, where witchers are trained. And, indeed, fans of the book and games will already be familiar with Lambert and Eskel, both of whom belong to the Wolf Witcher school just like Geralt and Vesemir.

In September, reports circulated that the show had recast the upcoming role of Eskel, who will be played by Swiss actor Basil Eidenbenz. He has joined the show after casting changes had to be made because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It's interesting that the producers are seemingly throwing in extra witchers for season 2, simply because these monster-slaying professionals are typically considered to be a dying breed (at least, in the books and video games). You won't find too many, but there are still references to other Witcher schools like the Cat and Bear.

The School of the Wolf, which is the Witcher faction Geralt belongs to, seems to be one of the few Witcher schools actively doing anything against the monster threat facing the continent.

In May 2020, Redanian Intelligence rumored the third new witcher coming in The Witcher season 2 will be Hemrik, played by Joel Adrian.

In terms of more official announcements for the cast, we know that Killing Eve's Kim Bodnia plays witcher trainer, Vesemir, and Kristofer Hivju – best known as Game of Thrones' Tormund Giantsbane – will play Nivellen. Other castings include Mecia Simson as Francesca, Aisha Fabienne Ross as Lydia and Agnes Bjorn as Vereena. Deadline reports that Carmel Laniado has joined the cast as a young character called Violet for at least three episodes. 

Returning characters from season one include – thank the heavens – Jaskier (Joey Batey) and Triss (Anna Shaffer). Eamon Farren will be back as Cahir, too. Other familiar faces from season one will include Tissaia (MyAnna Buring), Filavandrel (Tom Canton), Stregobor (Lars Mikkelson), Artorius (Terence Maynard), Sabrina (Therica Wilson Read), Murta (Lilly Cooper), Yarpen Zigrin (Jeremy Crawford) and Istredd (Royce Pierreson).

Thue Ersted Rasmussen was set to play fellow witcher, Eskel, but a coronavirus-related rescheduling clash meant he had to be recast. Actor Basil Eidenbenz will play Eskel instead.

Characters from The Witcher games are 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). Then there's Alastair Parker, who played Cleaver in The Witcher 3 video game (also via Redanian Intelligence), who appears in an unknown role.

In March 2021, Netflix revealed seven more characters who had been added to the cast. They were: Adjoa Andoh as Nenneke, a priestess of Melitele in the books, Liz Carr as Fenn, Simon Callow as Fenn's partner Codringher, Graham McTavish as Redanian armed forces head Dijkstra, Chris Fulton as the mage Rience, Cassie Clare as Redanian royal advisor Philippa Eilhart and Downton Abbey's Kevin Doyle as Ba'Lian, a new character.

The Witcher season 2 will have entirely different directors to season one, and Netflix has confirmed who they are:

  • Ed Bazalgette (The Last Kingdom, Doctor Who)
  • Sarah O'Gorman (Jamestown, Cursed)
  • Geeta Patel (Santa Clarita Diet, Meet the Patels)
  • Stephen Surjik (Daredevil, The Umbrella Academy)

When it comes to the writing team, Hissrich explained on Twitter her hiring process in terms of diversity and knowledge of the world of the Witcher. Responding to whether the best writers tend to be the most knowledgeable, she wrote "Yes. And equally importantly, no." Instead, Hissrich looks for a spectrum of life, writing, and genre experience who "love the world, but aren't afraid to question it. Who are fans, but are willing to step back and open their minds, in order to bring their beloved world to our real (big) one."

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The Witcher season 2 prequel announced: what is The Witcher: Blood Origin?

In July 2020, Netflix announced The Witcher: Blood Origin, a six-part live-action prequel series about the first witcher. The synopsis is as follows: "1200 years before Geralt of Rivia, the worlds of monsters, men and elves merged into one, and the first Witcher came to be."

Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and series writer Declan de Barra are behind this new show, which will have a whole new cast. 

The Witcher season 2 story: what we know, and what happens in the books

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(Image credit: Netflix)

Now that we have the official synopsis for The Witcher season 2, it's confirmed that, as expected, Ciri will take center stage. With Geralt thinking that Yennefer died at the Battle of Sodden at the end of the first season, the White Wolf takes his young magical charge to his childhood haunt of Kaer Morhen. Expect some astonishing, sweeping vistas of Geralt's home, if it's anything like the games.

It's not a surprise that Cirilla is the main focus in this next season. In the books, Ciri's story makes up the central plot of 'the saga'. The saga covers five books, starting with Blood of Elves, and centers on Ciri, her importance as a magical royal with Elven heritage, her relationship with Geralt, her ongoing efforts to survive, and how all this shapes events on The Continent.

The setup for this has already begun, as the very start of Blood of Elves is covered in season 1 by the siege, the downfall of Cintra, and Ciri's subsequent escape. Elsewhere, expect to see more of life under Nilfgaardian rule in The Witcher season 2, as tensions between humans and non-humans rise. 

A big talking point of The Witcher season 1 was how it told stories in multiple places and across a non-linear timeline (though 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 she didn't give the audience too much credit – "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 has confirmed that Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer exist in the same timeline now, so their stories will be told simultaneously.

"That’s where we ended season 1. That’s absolutely where we will pick up in season two. The stories will be told in a much more linear fashion. They won’t all be one story. It’s not like all three are together and happy all the time. But, I do want to employ some different ways to look at time series-wide."

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, and suggests the chance of flashback scenes.

witcher season 2 story

(Image credit: Katalin Vermes/Netflix)

Hissrich teased that this'll be an interesting season for Geralt, one in which is "internal conflict" will come to a head (via TV Guide). On the one hand, Hissrich explained, the Butcher of Blaviken has a "desire to not get involved" but "it's all protecting the sort of internal desire to be a hero [...] it's all going to explode in season 2". 

Cavill told Vanity Fair that he's refining his portrayal of Geralt for next season. "I’m on all the Reddit forums. I’m reading all the reviews. I’m literally trying to get everyone’s information. Some of it is not useful, and other criticisms are incredibly useful. I take it all in, and I look forward to bringing it even closer and closer to Sapkowski’s writing."

"So for me, it’s about seeing that, understanding it, and working out how I can do my job better within the framework provided, appease and make those people feel comfortable that I do actually understand this character – and love this character just as much as they do."

It also looks like the initial bonding between Ciri and Geralt, something largely skipped over in the books, will be explored more in season 2. "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," Hissrich told TV Guide, "that's part of the fun."

In terms of story specifics, Redanian Intelligence claims that another short story from The Last Wish will appear. This short story, A Grain of Truth, features Geralt meeting the cursed man, Nivellen (who we now know is played by Hivju), who has been turned into a beast.

The witcher season 2

(Image credit: Katalin Vermes)

Asked by Pure Fandom for a teaser on season 2, Hissrich had this to say: "Without spoilers, I will say that there’s a crop of new monsters, a new cost to magic, and new and unexpected pairings of our favorite characters."

Expect to see more from magical villainess Fringilla, too. When asked by Vulture, Hissrich confirmed that "you will absolutely get more Fringillla [...] we're digging deeper into her past and how she ended up at Nilfgaard, who she is as a person, and how she and Yennefer ended up on such different paths." In other words, expect more metal mind-control earworms. Ugh.

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Other changes are coming next year, too. The wrinkly Nilfgaardian armor, which some fans on the internet didn't like, will be changed 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."

More sneak peeks from the set suggest what we're going to see in the fallout of the Battle of Sodden. Courtesy of Redanian Intelligence, set photos from Fountains Abbey in northern England imply that there will be a meeting between the forces of Nilfgaard and the elves, including King Foltest, Stregobor, and Vilgefortz. Other photos show filming taking place in the nearby Studley Royal Water Garden showing off a Nilfgaardian armor variant and a suspiciously-pregnant Francesca Findabair.

The ruins themselves, according to RI, could well be the ruined elven palace of Shaerrawedd, a spot that Geralt and Ciri stumble upon in the novel, Blood of Elves. Further set photos show a seemingly-imprisoned Cahir, as well as Tissaia, and Yennefer.

The Witcher season 2 will be accompanied by a Witcher animated movie

In addition to The Witcher season 2, an anime-style Witcher movie has been announced for Netflix called The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. No release date has been set for that one yet, but we expect it before season 2 arrives. A now-pulled runtime for the film suggested it'll be one hour and 21 minutes long. 

It'll be written by Beau DeMayo (who scripted episode 3 of The Witcher season one), and it focuses on Vesemir, Geralt's mentor. He'll be familiar to anyone who knows the games and the books. It'll be animated by Studio Mir, which was behind the acclaimed Legend of Korra series. The story will take us "back to a new threat facing the Continent." 

Now we know Kim Bodnia is playing Vesemir in The Witcher season 2, our prediction is he'll voice him here too. An official synopsis was added to Netflix for Nightmare of the Wolf, which was later pulled. "Long before mentoring Geralt, Vesemir begins his own journey as a witcher after the mysterious Delgan claims him through the Law of Surprise." 

The Witcher season 3 looks likely, too

The Witcher season 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Witcher could run on Netflix for a long time. Hissrich claims to have thought out ideas for a massive seven seasons. And we're pretty certain there's enough source material left for that to be viable. 

We'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 plenty of books and external material for the creators to draw on, so it stands to reason we can expect to see more of them adapted into animated shorts or multiple seasons.

Bring it on. We're in for the long haul.

The Witcher feels like it's here to stay on Netflix

The first season of The Witcher shrugged off the idea that it was just here to replace Game of Thrones. It confidently told stories in its own way and presented a fantasy world that has already captures people's imaginations. And, while we are unlikely to see much spillover from the games - 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 series, as they did in season 1. 

If it'll help pass the time until The Witcher season 2 release date, you can listen to the official version of 'Toss a Coin to your Witcher' on Spotify.