The second season of Netflix’s The Witcher had just begun filming when the Coronavirus pandemic started to hit the globe and its production was halted. Filming will resume soon in August, but until then showrunner Lauren Hissrich shared with The Wrap what has been going on lately and what the plans are.
“We were shooting in the U.K. and were about six weeks into our season when we shut down”, Lauren explains. “We were literally in the middle of a big sequence we had been preparing for months. But we have a very international crew and it wasn’t just about the health of our crew and our cast, but also getting them back home to their families. So that was at the forefront for us.”
As for getting back to work, Lauren shared that there have been a lot of meetings and discussions: “Right now, it’s a lot of production meetings, a lot of talking about how to keep people safe… A lot of it is just about flexibility, not just in the planning phases but when we get back on sets. So, the government may say it’s OK to do X or Y, but an actor may say they don’t feel comfortable doing that. And that’s always going to be our first concern.”
She also points out that story and scripts will have to change as well, most likely due to new safety guidelines and schedules: “It’s going to impact story. It will have to. But one of the best things about being a writer on set is that I’m there to make those changes as we need them.”
Despite the scripts being done, this pause has been an opportunity for the writers to take more time and polish the scripts: “Really, in terms of writing, we just been honing a lot over the last eight weeks. Really digging back into scripts, making some big shifts, especially in the emotional journeys of our characters and making sure that everything we’re writing feels really grounded and true.”
Lauren was also generous to tease some of the story bits in the upcoming season: “Probably my favorite additions for Season 2 are the new witchers. […] It was, for us really, about getting Geralt back to his roots and sort of learning where he came from and what his story is and what his sense of family is.”
She continued: “When I talk about ‘The Witcher,’ I always talk about how these three characters coming together — Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer — they come together as a family. It’s the most important part of the series for me and when you start to imagine someone’s family, you also need to understand their family of origin. For Geralt, it’s his brothers, it’s the brotherhood of the witchers. So I’m really excited to get back in and meet Vesemir, his father figure, for the first time and all of these men that he was raised with since he was seven years old.”
In the same interview, Lauren reaffirmed that the multiple timelines were gone and stayed back in Season 1. “What we’ll see in Season 2 is that all of our characters are existing on the same timeline. What that allows us to do storywise though is to play with time in slightly different ways. We get to do flashbacks, we get to do flash-forwards, we get to actually integrate time in a completely different way that we weren’t able to do in Season 1.”
Read Lauren’s full interview for The Wrap here.