Redanian Archives: Behind the scenes of The Witcher, Part III

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Redanian Archives is a series of posts that will cover the 29 weeks of filming for The Witcher‘s first season, featuring behind-the-scenes pictures and our analysis. In the previous entry, we covered the location filming for Cintra and The Edge of the World during the production’s third and fourth weeks. This time, we’ll get a glimpse inside the halls of Cintra at Origo Studios, some mage scenes from Yennefer‘s storyline, and the hills which appear to be the setting of the teaser’s major battle sequence.

Week 5: Aretuza and the Battle of Marnadal

In the production’s fifth week, the crew filmed a wide range of scenes across several sets and locations. The crew began with work inside the production headquarters at Origo Studios, where we had our first look at one of the show’s monster props – the striga’s claws.

Inside the set at Origo … this appears to be part of Cintra
A crew member wearing the striga’s glove
The striga’s hand as seen in the teaser, covered in blood

Week five also kicked off the filming for scenes set in Aretuza, the school for sorceresses. With mage actors Therica Wilson-Read (Sabrina), Mimi Ndiweni (Fringilla) and Royce Pierreson (Istredd) all gathering at Budapest in the preceding weekend, we can assume that Anya Chalotra (who plays leading sorceress Yennefer) and MyAnna Buring (Yennefer’s tutor and mentor Tissaia de Vries) were also on hand.

Though very little actually leaks from studio scenes, comparing these pictures with frames from The Witcher‘s first teaser provides a little more clarity. First up is a wall of skulls, previously believed to be part of the set involving the striga.

A wall of skulls shared by Lauren S. Hissrich, which seemed a possibility for the catacombs in the striga storyline.
The wall behind Istredd as he’s speaking to Yennefer has similar skulls

The skulls above, shared by showrunner Lauren S Hissrich on her Twitter account, appear to be part of Aretuza, as they feature in a scene between Istredd and a hunchbacked Yennefer. The next two photos may have been taken during the same shoot. It is possible that the location is the Tarnok Quarry, where the show would later film several scenes – but it could also be a set within Origo Studios. What we can say with certainty is that the set looks familiar.

Some sort of cavern location, or perhaps one designed within Origo Studios. The protective sheets over the camera would suggest the former
Lighting from the top of a tunnel inside the cavern. Could this be the location for a scene glimpsed in the trailer?
Tissaia redirecting a spell into the ceiling (perhaps a portal?), in what appears to be the same location

Little else has leaked from the filming of Aretuza, which is likely to feature throughout the first half of season one. The teaser did, however, give us a good look at The Witcher‘s Hogwarts.

The computer-generated exterior of Aretuza
Tissaia and Yennefer inside Aretuza. The hunchback was applied with prosthetics and used in many of Chalotra’s Aretuza scenes
A scene showing Tissaia teaching Sabrina at Aretuza may well have been filmed in week five

Other than interior scenes, filming took the cast and crew to two locations during the week. The first, we know very little about – a Hungarian forest caked in snow, at Zsivány-szikla. There were two snowy forests in the trailer, but we have reason to believe the scene in question is neither – which we’ll explain in upcoming archives.

Zsivány-szikla. Is this fake snow or real snow?

Next up is week five’s main location: the hills of Csákberény. The crew filmed there for a couple of days, and brought with them buckets of blood. We believe this location was the stage for the battle between Nilfgaard and Cintra, also seen in the teaser.

A stylish crew pic at Csákberény
Lighting on location
Buckets of fake blood

In the books, this fight is named the Battle of Marnadal, and it pits the Cintran army against the insurmountable legions of Nilfgaard. During it, the Nilfgaardians claim the life of King Eist Tuirseach (played by Bjorn Hylnur Haraldsson), the Skelligan husband of the Lioness, Queen Calanthe (the fearsome Jodhi May). The Queen manages to retreat with the remainder of her army, but is gravely wounded. With Calanthe lying wounded in bed in the trailer, it’s likely the events will play out similarly in the show.

A picture shared by Lauren on social media
‘Nilfgaard is coming. They’re coming for her
The battle scene filmed at Csákberény. Nilfgaardian armor? Check.
Calanthe, as played by Jodhi May

Week 6: A look inside the set of Cintra

Week six seems to have begun with a return to Csákberény to complete the Battle of Marnadal. Once the crew wrapped on location, they moved back into the studio to film more Cintra scenes.

The Witcher’s trailer park at Csakerberny
Filming with a crane at of Csakerberny

The best photos of the week came courtesy of a leaker from inside the Cintran hall at Origo Studios. These pictures were the first time the Witcher community got a peak behind the scenes at the show’s set design. Confirmed cast members filming that week were Freya Allan (who plays Cintran princess Ciri), Adam Levy (who plays her mentor, the druid Mousesack), and likely also Szandra Aztalos (who plays original character Anica and is listed on IMDb under the show’s fourth episode).

Night shoots at Origo Studios
Sunrise (or sunset?) at Origo
Two extras in costume at Origo Studios
A crew member chilling at Origo. The floor tiles match the Cintra set
The first leaked picture from the filming of a scene at the Cintran feast hall
The second leaked picture. The author has, naturally, censored his own face
The hall of Cintra, from more or less the same perspective. This is the knighting scene mentioned in our previous article, but likely isn’t the scene filmed during week six
Is this Lauren hinting she’s done a cameo? She later suggested she would not cameo

As well as the filming of Cintra, the crew returned to Mafilm Studios. Throughout production, Mafilm was used for pilot scenes set in Blaviken, but it may also have been used for other towns in the Northern Realms.

Outside the Mafilm set
A staircase you might recognise from a photo posted by Lauren S Hissrich
A giant blue screen at Mafilm Studios, as seen in a crewmember’s social media post. It may have been used for The Witcher at one point, but there seems to be some sort of military vehicle inside the frame here
Another crew picture which may or may not be related to The Witcher
Prop bodies used in the show’s filming. Or us, while we wait for official Witcher news

And that’ll be all for this chapter of Redanian Archives. In our next entry, production will return to Monostori Erod, where the cast and crew filmed the fall of Cintra. To keep track of Redanian Archives and any other Witcher news, make sure to follow our Twitter account. Cheers!

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