In March 2020, Netflix was forced to halt production on the second season of Henry Cavill’s The Witcher due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Luckily, filming picked up again in August and recent production updates suggest things are going splendidly, with location shoots currently underway in Northern England.
However, that is not to say that the months-long production break didn’t come with its own complications and reshufflings. Plans can change, schedules may have to be reworked and sometimes even personnel rotations are necessary. We believe that this was also the case for The Witcher season two and now we think, we’ve found some solid evidence confirming our suspicions.
For some time, we’ve been operating on the theory that Louise Hooper, known for productions such as Holby City, Cold Feet, and Flesh and Blood has replaced Geeta Patel as a director on the second season of The Witcher. Hooper recently followed some key cast- and crew members. Now, she herself pretty much confirmed that she is working on The Witcher, sharing a photo of the production in the Lake District’s Rydal Cave (tagged: #netflix), where the second season is currently being filmed.
Now why do we think The Witcher exchanged one director with another? It began with just a suspicion, when reliable production database Production Weekly took down Patel’s name on a listing of the episodes. Since then, we’ve seen the same on two more independent sources including still photographer Jay Maidment’s website. All three of our sources list only Stephen Surjik, Ed Bazalgette and Sarah O’Gorman and two of them used to include Geeta Patel before the lockdown.
Patel was put in charge of directing episodes six and seven of the new season. If what we think is true, it’s likely that scheduling conflicts prevented her from taking up the reins on the set of The Witcher. Given the current pandemic situation, it’s also possible that the American director decided against committing to a months-long stay in the UK.
We are pretty certain that Louise Hooper is now working as a director on the second season of The Witcher. However, we’re not fully certain whether she replaces Geeta Patel or whether she is the season’s fifth director. Patel could still be affiliated with the project, but the clues point to the opposite.
Assuming this is correct, we can see two options. The first and most obvious being that Hooper just took over Patel’s episodes and is currently filming scenes for episode six or seven. It is also possible that the responsibilities have been reassigned and she is instead working on episode four, which was originally meant to be helmed by Sarah O’Gorman. This would be more in line with the order of scenes filmed so far (with episode three being worked on most recently). As a reminder, these are the original season two directors as credited in January 2020:
- Stephen Surjik (Daredevil, The Umbrella Academy) – Episode 1 and 2
- Sarah O’Gorman (Jamestown, Cursed) – Episode 3 and 4
- Ed Bazalgette (The Last Kingdom, Doctor Who) – Episode 5 and 8
- Geeta Patel (Meet the Patels, The Runaways) – Episode 6 and 7
While changes like these are certainly not uncommon even without the added uncertainty due to Covid-19, this is an interesting turn of events. Louise Hopper’s recent activity strongly supports what we’ve been thinking for months. Nonetheless, take this as what it is: An as yet unconfirmed report. As usual, we’ll update you on all further developments.