Earlier this year, we reported that Netflix has scouted the beautiful ruins of Fountains Abbey as a possible location for The Witcher season two. Besides the Abbey, the crew had also scouted various locations in Northern England, including sites in the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. In the past few weeks, The Witcher crew has filmed various scenes in both regions with stars Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, and Anya Chalotra. Now, we’ve learned that filming will take to Fountains Abbey next week.
The filming location: Water Gardens overlooking a ruin
According to the National Trust website, the Studley Royal Water Gardens adjacent to Fountains Abbey will be shut down for filming on Wednesday, October 28. Moreover, the website states that there may be limited access to sections of the Abbey (meaning the ruins) and the gardens throughout the week due to “filming set up”.
This update on the Abbey’s official page arrives after members of the Witcher crew have visited the ruins multiple times, most recently last week. Since then, the crew has set up for filming in Plumpton Rocks near the town of Harrogate, which is a mere 20 minute drive from the abbey. A source has informed us that the crew will remain in the vicinity of Harrogate well into next week, which perfectly lines up with the aforementioned listing.
If that does not convince you, the next piece of evidence surely will: a casting call for thirty extras who will portray Elves.
Who will film in Fountains Abbey?
The below Facebook post is but one of many shared by extra casting agencies over the past two weeks. As customary for The Witcher’s elves, these extras are required to be quite tall, and the casting call is open to all ethnicities. They will be filming on October 28, the same date mentioned on the Fountains Abbey website.
So, as it seems, these extras will participate in The Witcher’s filming on Wednesday in the Water Gardens, but they will likely not film in the ruins themselves as only the gardens are shut down that day. From the wording on the Abbey’s website, it’s still not clear if the crew will film inside the Abbey on other days that week or just in the Water Gardens, although we’re quite certain that the Abbey ruins will be in the frame one way or another.
Previously, we’ve speculated that the ruins of Fountains Abbey could stand for the witcher fortress of Kaer Morhen, where Geralt and Ciri will stay for the earlier half of season two, but the presence of these elven extras refutes that theory. Given what we know, the strongest possibility is that the ruins will become Shaerrawedd, an abandoned elven palace featured in one of the novel Blood of Elves’ most moving scenes. Readers will remember that a scene involving a large number of people (and elves) takes place in the immediate vicinity of Shaerrawedd.
The next paragraph contains mild spoilers for the novels’ Shaerrawedd sequence, so proceed with caution if you have not read the books.
In Blood of Elves, one character involved in this sequence is the dwarven warrior Yarpen Zigrin, played in the show by Jeremy Crawford. Crawford’s return to season two has already been confirmed and the actor has teased his return to the set with several social media posts. Other actors expected on location near Fountains Abbey (if it is indeed Shaerrawedd) include stars Henry Cavill and Freya Allan (Geralt and Ciri) as well as Anna Schaffer (Triss). We’ll have to wait and see if these actors show up at Fountains Abbey next week.
Naturally, we can’t say with absolute certainty which scenes will be filmed in and around Fountains Abbey at this stage, but Shaerrawedd or not looks like a safe bet. We hope to learn more next week.
Fountains Abbey may just be our favorite location of season two so far. With some luck, local fans may spot Geralt, Ciri and more on location in the coming days. Stay tuned!