2021 is shaping up to be a great year for fans of Netflix’s The Witcher. After months of production delays due to Covid-19, we will finally get to see the return of Henry Cavill as Geralt, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer, Freya Allan as Ciri and all the other fan favorites, when season two hits Netflix in summer of fall (or so we hope). Sometime before that, the animated prequel film Nightmare of the Wolf, focusing on the early years of Geralt’s mentor Vesemir is expected to air. All going well, Netflix’s second witcher prequel The Witcher: Blood Origin, which has just revealed its first lead will start filming in May. So expect some filming news later this year.
Until then, there is still some way to go. With January come and gone and not much recent news, you may be wondering what the team of The Witcher is up to and how far they are in the production of season two. The honest though unsatisfying answer is: It is hard to tell. Since picking up filming again after the Christmas break, the team has been holed up in Arborfield Studios, where little ever makes it past the sheltering walls. Nonetheless, we’ll try our best to give an overview of the state of filming along with some updates from the cast and crew.
The state of production: Gearing up for the final weeks of filming?
As you may recall, filming of the second season of The Witcher started in February 2020 but was forced to halt in March after newcomer Kristofer Hivju (Nivellen) tested positive for coronavirus. With episode one completed, the production went on a months-long break, resuming in August, the month it was originally scheduled to wrap filming. From there, a relatively long period of uninterrupted filming followed, albeit under changed conditions with heightened health and security measures in place.
The month of October has been particularly eventful as the team of The Witcher toured Northern England to film in stunning locations such as the Lake District and Fountains Abbey. In November, Netflix shut down production a second time, after staff members contracted the virus. Luckily, the second break did not last as long as the first one and work on season two resumed after two weeks. Following a leg-injury of Henry Cavill and the Christmas break, we’re now almost through the month of January and it’s safe to say the road to season two has been a bumpy one. How much still remains to be filmed though? Here’s a guess.
After the first Covid-break, we heard that the plan was to wrap filming of season two in February 2021. This was likely a very early plan and we all know how quickly schedules can change, especially in times like these. Taking February as a basis, there are a few factors to consider: First, it’s reasonable to assume that the break in November has pushed back the schedule for approximately two weeks. Second, there might have been some complications in the wake of Henry Cavill’s injury, although we don’t expect a major delay as the work continued, even without the Geralt-star. Third, following the Christmas break, filming was expected to resume on January 7 as per the original plan. As far as we’re aware, it did not until January 18.
Taking all these into account, our current best guess is that there are still about two months of filming left, making a wrap in March 2021 likely. With six to seven months of post-production ahead, a release date in September/October 2021 (at the earliest), may be possible.
News roundup: The cast continues shooting season 2 in studio
While we know a thing or two about the plot, answering what exactly remains to filmed is difficult, especially since the second season has not been shot in a chronological order. For example, we’ve been hearing that director Stephen Surjik who is in charge of the first and second episode was busy filming as late as last week. Louise Hooper who replaced Geeta Patel as director for episodes six and seven is also still at work and we still expect Ed Bazalgette to film some of his scenes for the finale. Thus, it is likely, they’re currently occupied completing sequences from different episodes. We don’t know if there’s another location shoot planned but we wouldn’t count on it given the current situation in the UK.
That being said, several actors and crew members have recently taken to social media, announcing their return to the set or showing they’re still working on season two, starting with Henry Cavill himself who is starting his days at 04:30 AM to get a few hours of rehab before work. Knowing Henry, rehab probably involves one instead of two pendulums and fewer practice runs against the windmill but as his witcher colleagues would say you have to keep trying or you catch fear!
Speaking of witchers, Lambert actor Paul Bullion is also back at work and he seems to have found an altogether different way to avoid catching fear. You guessed it: classic Lambert style…
Bullion recently exchanged follows with Triss actress Anna Shaffer, giving us a much-appreciated hint at what’s being filmed in Arborfield. As it happens, Shaffer is also still there and it very much looks like Triss will be going to Kaer Morhen like in the books, despite speculations that this part of her role may be replaced with Yennefer.
Royce Pierreson who plays Istredd will also have an interesting arc in season two. We know he’ll be meeting Geralt at some point, which should make for some tense conversations given their shared infatuation of Yennefer. Pierreson is also back to the Continent, although we don’t know what he’s currently filming.
Finally, showrunner Lauren Hissrich posted a picture of herself wrapped up in winter clothes, aptly likening the state of the current year to the weather. Maybe Paul Bullion has some advice on how to cope with the freezing temperatures…
And as a final final point, if you want to have a good laugh and relive that old classic elves vs dwarves fantasy trope, take a look at this convo between Tom Canton (Filavandrel) and Jeremy Crawford (Yarpen Zigrin) on twitter: Arguably, the Witcher version of Legolas vs Gimli and definitely the two actors most obsessed with their characters.
While we’re waiting for more news, here’s a reminder that there’s still a lot to look forward to even during the now looming post-production period. For instance, we have yet to uncover some of the actors playing important characters confirmed for season two. Among them are such roles as the Redanian spymaster Sigismund Dijkstra, the villainous mage Rience, Jaskier’s erstwhile love the Countess De Stael or the scoundrel detectives Codringher and Fenn. We’re also hopeful that more material is coming our way soonish, including of course the first teaser or trailer for season two. Until then, stay tuned with Redanian Intelligence as we cover the last months of filming!