Netflix’s hotly-anticipated fantasy, The Witcher starring Henry Cavill, is set to launch on the streaming service in just over three weeks’ time. When the series releases, all eight one-hour episodes will be available at once, and it’s likely that the fans will binge through them in one weekend. Creating this eight-hour experience, however, took many months of filming, through day and nightshoots, through the rain and the snow, and across five countries.
In Redanian Archives, we’ve followed the production fro the very beginning, starting with the pilot’s fight in the town of Blaviken originally shot in November. And now, as we enter the last month of filming, Blaviken makes a return (this time for reshoots). Also in today’s report is a mysterious swamp and the emotional climax of the short stories, as featured in Something More.
Week 27: Back to Blaviken
Back in April, the NSFW site Recapped reported that actress Millie Brady was replaced in the role of Renfri, a pivotal character in the series’ first episode. Later that month, Redanian Intelligence found evidence that suggested Emma Appleton was cast in the role, and that other Blaviken characters were also recast. Instead of Rebecca Benson, the young actress Mia McKenna-Bruce was recast as Marilka. Instead of Shane Attwooll, Peaky Blinders‘ Packy Lee would be Renfri’s outlaw friend Nohorn. Other roles in Renfri’s group were replaced with professional stuntmen, who trained three full weeks for the big fight (filmed during the last week of The Witcher‘s production).
In Week 27, Henry Cavill joined the actors recast in these roles for reshoots of the pilot episode, beginning in the Blaviken town set at Mafilm Studios. The reshot scene followed Cavill’s Geralt (in a raincoat) as he entered the town on horseback, towing behind him the corpse of the kikimore, the show’s first monster. Presumably, the kikimore was carried on a donkey (as in the short story).
Reshoots continued in the Hungarian forests near Visegrad, where a scene involving Cavill and Appleton was filmed. This is a moment we’ve glimpsed in the show’s recent trailer.
Meanwhile, filming continued at the ruins of Egri Var (Sodden Hill) and the fields of Paty, but not as intensely as in the previous week. Other than the usual suspects, actors Mate Haumann (Field Marshall) and Jessie Camacho (role unknown) appear to have been at Egri Var and would also film for the show in the following weeks
Week 28: Vilgefortz annihilates, Ciri in a swamp and something more…
With filming of the Egri var sequence mostly completed and reshoots ongoing, The Witcher‘s crew took to a new location that would become the central hub of the production during the last three weeks of filming. Gyarmatpuszta Hunting Lodge‘s surrounding natural habitat would appear in several sequences from the show’s first, second, and eighth episodes (under director Marc Jobst). Other than the series’ cast and crew, the location was inhabited by the local wildlife.
Filming was held on and near the lake, as well as in the nearby forests. Two of the locations at Gyarmatpuzsta were discovered by our scout @GoTlikeLocations (including a campsite and a home which we’ll mention later in this report).
One scene shot at Gyarmatpuszta was set in a Nilfgaardian camp. With Mahesh Jadu on location as Vilgefortz alongside Mate Haumann (who plays the “Field Marshall”), it’s likely the scene was the one mentioned by our inside source earlier this year. The scene in question followed Vilgefortz as he “annihilated” a Nilfgaardian survivor from the battle filmed at Egri Var (Sodden). Seeing as they were on location at the same time, and seeing as “Field Marshall” is a Nilfgaardian title, it’s possible Haumann’s character was the annihilated Nilfgaardian.
Another sequence filmed in the area followed Freya Allan, who stars as Princess Ciri. The scene was shown very briefly in the trailer, and it appears to follow Ciri while she’s on the run. In the trailer, she is seen next to a white horse that she seems to have stolen (from Nilfgaardians or perhaps another faction). The scene was filmed near the lake, which was made to appear like a swamp.
Did Ciri escape the Nilfgaardian camp with one of their horses? That’s possible, but we’ll have to wait for December 20 to find out. Of course, other scenes were shot at Gyarmatpuszta that week. Jack Wolfe, who was cast in the role of Nadbor (the son of Yurga from the short story Something More) was also filming at Gyarmatpuszta, as was series star Henry Cavill.
Those who have read the short stories will no doubt remember the closing moment of Something More, which features an important reunion that is widely considered among the series’ most iconic moments. From what we’ve deduced, this scene appears to have been filmed that very same week in a small farm built on location and will feature in the season finale, titled “Much More”.
RELATED ARTICLE: Redanian Intelligence Exclusive: An Inside Look at Two Sets Used in The Witcher’s First Season
And now, the penultimate entry of Redanian Archives comes to a close. With the December 20 release date fast approaching, the coming weeks promise to provide more Witcher news than ever before. Join us this weekend for the final Archives chapter, where we’ll find Nilfgaardians, ghouls and the season’s most anticipated fight scene.