Redanian Archives XIV: Behind the Scenes of The Witcher

No comments

Netflix is set to launch The Witcher‘s first season in a month’s time, and we’re very close to seeing Henry Cavill‘s debut as Geralt on the small screen. Meanwhile, our behind-the-scenes series continues, this time with a Nilfgaardian siege camp, a familiar forest and a return to the ruins of Egri var.

Week 26: Battles, Wraps and Reshoots

In The Witcher‘s 26th week of production, filming resumed for the much anticipated magical battle sequence believed to be the show’s take on the Battle of Sodden Hill. We’ve covered it at length in our last Archives entry, so we’ll touch on it briefly this time (with the week’s pictures).

The battle sequence was described by Executive Producer Tomek Baginski on location in Poland. He said that, despite the prevalence of practical effects in the show, this scene was quite different. “The scale of the event that must happen, the level of destruction and magic and spells, is so spectacular that it must be done using computer effects.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Redanian Archives XIII: Behind the scenes of The Witcher’s climactic battle sequence

A trailer outside Egri Var

During Week 26, King Foltest actor Shaun Dooley arrived at Budapest for one single day of filming and posted the above picture. Soon after, Dooley exchanged Instagram follows with Mahesh Jadu, who plays the mage Vilgefortz. The two likely shared scenes during the battle sequence. Also on location were many extras and stuntmen, including a stuntwoman who doubled for Judit Fekete (the books’ Sodden sorceress Vanielle of Brugge). Behind the camera was director Marc Jobst, who was brought in to help complete the filming of the last two episodes as well as reshoots for the first two.

Sunset at Egri Var
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is zlxMYR3.jpg
Lighting rigs at Egri Var
Shooting on the walls
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is egri13.png
A chestnut-haired Anna Shaffer (Triss) in the same dress from the filming at Poland

Other than Vilgefortz, Vanielle, and Foltest, The Witcher‘s ensemble of sorceresses was also present for filming. This includes star Anya Chalotra (Yennefer), Anna Shaffer (Triss), Mimi Ndiweni (Fringilla, the Nilfgaardian sorceress), Rhianna Mcgreevey (Coral), Jim Caesar (role unknown) and Therica Wilson-Read. The latter, who plays the notable sorceress Sabrina Glevissig, shared a heartfelt post towards the end of the week after filming her final scene of the season.

“Being part of this show has been a dream come true,” said Wilson-Read on her Instagram page. “One that sometimes does not feel real at all. I’ve got to walk onto sets that are something even my imagination couldn’t dream up, wear costumes that have reduced me to tears, shared laughs and tears with incredible actors and always been surrounded by a team of such dedicated, loving and supportive people. Thank you to everyone from beginning to end who made this dream a reality. Every day on this job has blown my mind and I am grateful for every single moment.”

From left to right: Jim Caesar, Mahesh Jadu, Therica Wilson-Read, Anna Shaffer, Lauren Hissrich, Anya Chalotra, MyAnna Buring, Jack Bandeira, Rhianna McGreevy

At the very same time, filming was completed in a second of the week’s locations. Previously thought to be a quarry nearby Egri Var and part of the same sequence, we have learned that that was in fact not the case. This quarry is the Gant Red Rock Bauxite mine. We don’t know what exactly was filmed here, only that it involved red sand and a smoke machine.

The above wrap post from Roy Pierreson, who plays the mage Istredd, was shared during the filming at the mine and Egri. Due to the ground, we believe Pierreson was filming in the latter location rather than the former, but it’s quite possible that he will be part of the Battle of Sodden as well.

Next up is a pine forest near the town of Pilliszentivan. We don’t have many crew pictures, but the spot does look familiar from the show’s promotional stills. When first reported, we believed the scenes filmed there belonged to the reshoots of the pilot episode (due to the crew involved), and that still seems very likely.

A shot from the trailer which looks like the pine forest of Pilliszentivan
A similar-looking forest, but this shot was filmed in the Canary Islands in March as part of the original pilot (before reshoots)

Speaking of reshoots, most of the Pilot scenes May were reshot at the Blaviken town set in Mafilm Studios, and preparations were already on the way in Week 26. Filming took to Mafilm (and Blaviken) the following week and up until the final day of filming.

Prep outside Mafilm Studios

At the production headquarters of Origo Studios, reporters from around the globe were invited to interview the core cast members (Henry Cavill, Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra). Their visit led to the accidental leak of some of the show’s concept art. If you’re a dedicated reader of the Archives, you should recognize the Fall of Cintra, Ogrodzieniec castle, the Tarnok quarry, Thanedd’s Tor Lara tower and more.

A better look at the mysterious set.

The above picture was taken at Origo studios that same week. We’re not quite sure if the set belongs to The Witcher or another project, but it’s possible and even likely we’ll see it in the show. As for which scenes could be staged there? Your guess is as good as ours.

The final location of the week was a field near the town Paty, where Netflix raised the Nilfgaardian Siege Camp (firing trebuchet included). This was the first time we got to see the show’s take on Nilfgaard (albeit, from afar) and the credit belongs to our eagle-eyed spy @GoTlikeLocations, who was able to take pictures of the camp and a yet unrevealed location which we internally call “the Rocks”.

The Rocks

Filming in Paty was divided into two nearby locations. The first was “the Rocks”, where the crew built a huge lighting rig, brought the aforementioned rocks and also a whole lot of mattresses. Nilfgaardians were seen on location during nightshoots.

The rocks, a green screen and the lighting rig
Next we’ll take a closer look at the rocks
Crew carrying mattresses across the location
Mattress duty
Here we can see the mattresses laid out on the ground. Were Nilfgaardians flung down on the mattresses? Or were they used for something else
Nilfgaardian horses preparing for a nightshoot
Sunset at the Rocks
Smoke, check. Ominous lighting, check.
Nilfgaardian soldiers gather next to the Rocks (top left)
The surrounding forest
The trailer park

The Nilfgaardian Siege Camp

The second location at Paty is the Nilfgaardian Siege Camp, seen in The Witcher‘s trailer. Back in May, we published exclusive photos and videos from the filming of this sequence, including the massing Nilfgaardian army and the firing of the trebuchet. We’ve gathered the best pictures (and a video) below.

Here we can see the trebuchet and the Nilfgaardian camp
Now the crew are preparing for a shoot
Our first ever screenshot of Nilfgaardians in THAT armor, but the wrinkles weren’t visible from afar. Worry not, we’ll cover the wrinkles on the next RA!
Mages and Nilfgaardians at the camp
Mimi Ndiweni’s Fringilla Vigo poses for the shot beside the trebchet
Night falls and filming begins
This is the scene where the trebuchet is lighted by mages and fired!
The trebuchet after firing
This same scene, as seen in the trailer
Mimi Ndiweni’s Nilfgaardian sorceress Fringilla Vigo

That’ll be all for this entry of Redanian Archives. With less than a month of filming left to cover, it’s likely this series will come to an end very soon. Thankfully, the show’s release is just around the corner (December 20). Next time, we’ll report on the reshoots done for the show’s pilot episode. Stay tuned!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.