Netflix has released The Witcher‘s first season to the world, and though it has mixed reviews from critics it’s had a warm reception from the fans. In a new interview with Collider, showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich discussed the process of creating the show and lessons learned ahead of season two.
“It’s a delicate dance because you have to be able to have a conceit of where you’re going,” Hissrich answered when asked about her alleged seven-season plan. “Your stories need an end point. They need a direction to aim towards. But you also have to leave room to let things organically grow and develop. There are characters, for instance, that we meet in Season 1, and we got them on the screen and they were electric, so we started writing their stories and thought, “Oh, my god, there’s so much more here.” So, you need to leave room for that to grow and develop, as well. The seven seasons thing is hilarious. I’m sure, at some point, that I said I could write seven seasons, but I’m also sure that I said I could write 20 seasons. I will continue writing this series, as long as it makes sense to write this series. That means taking, organically, from the books and allowing story to flow, but then also allowing the story to end when it needs to end.”
Though she was fairly ambiguous about the show’s long-term plans, she did discuss season two plans in the article. For one, it seems that sorceress Triss Merrigold (Anna Shaffer) will have a bigger role. She addressed that when asked about their non-linear approach to pulling story from the novels.
“So, I knew that I wanted to start with the short stories,” Hissrich said. “Mostly because they really feel like a great foundation to the Continent. The monsters that he meets, the creatures that he has to kill, and the moral dilemmas that he’s up against, are the foundation of the Continent. That is what the Continent is, and that was really important for me to portray. But I also wanted to have the freedom to bring up other moments and other characters, and introduce them in a new and fresh way, to make sure that we are setting the dominoes up correctly. There’s a character, Triss, that we meet much earlier in the series than we do in the books. It’s because I actually know what’s happening with her in Season 2, so I need to make sure that those building blocks are in place, so that story can happen. And for us, that meant moving a piece of the story up earlier. So, to me, it was about starting with the foundation of The Last Wish, but then having the flexibility of going in and out of moments from the different novels.
When asked about the stage of production of season two, this is what Hissrich said: “We’re not shooting yet, but we have a pretty good idea of where we’re going with all of the stories.” We’ve learned when the series was renewed that all scripts had been written already, so this comes as no surprise. That said, script revisions are a common affair. The scripts of the first season were revised up to nine times.
The showrunner also discussed the biggest lessons she’d learned from the creation of the first season. “With any job, there is the experience of writing it, and then we shoot it. Sometimes when you’re shooting something, you’ll be like, ‘Oh, wow, I am way too clever when I write. I’m trying to do little jokes, and I just need to let the words be themselves and stop trying to be so clever.’ Then, you get into post-production and you’re like, ‘Wow, okay, not only am I trying to be too clever, but I’m also trying to be way too long-winded.’ You learn by doing and you learn from the rhythm of your own show.”
“That’s the important thing,” Hissrich explained. “Every show has its own rhythm. Every show has its own internal ecosystem, of what works and what doesn’t work. We took a lot of lessons out of Season 1. For me, personally, I took a lot of creative lessons. This was my first time doing this job, as a showrunner, and it was daunting. This is a really big show to cut my teeth on. But what I brought into it was a certain amount of, ‘Okay, I’m here, let’s get this done.’ So, I personally feel like I’ve learned a lot and, creatively, I feel like I have a better understanding of what worked and what didn’t work, from the script. We also have a better idea of what’s working on set. Scheduling is a lot easier. We’re returning to similar locations, and we have some sets already built and costumes designed. It feels more like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers, as opposed to a new pair of shoes. There’s something about returning to the family that we’re all really excited to do.”
The Witcher season two enters production on February 17, 2020. While we wait, Redanian Intelligence will uncover new casting details and more. Take a look at our first season two report below for a look at where the story is headed.