As The Witcher is gearing up for the final weeks of filming, there’s still much to look forward to in the coming months, from juicy revelations, to more promotional material and eventually the greatly anticipated first teaser. Until then we’ll focus on new developments as they keep coming in. The last few days have seen quite a few casting news and today we can share another one concerning Nilfgaard.
In Season 1, the Vicovarian knight Cahir (Eamon Farren) and the Aretuza graduate Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni) were the main representatives of Nilfgaard, leading the search for Ciri (Freya Allan) and the assault on Sodden Hill. Gone almost unnoticed, it was mentioned that there is a larger Nilfgaardian force of 50.000 soldiers advancing on Sodden from Cintra under the command of ‘the generals‘.
Cahir’s vanguard that we saw fighting Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) and the rest of the mages in the season finale was merely meant to pave the way north for this main force that is yet to arrive at the keep. Interestingly we found out that Season 2 will introduce at least two Nilfgaardian generals, perhaps the very same that are leading the main force.
Actress Jo Mariott, will play General Hake in one or two episodes directed by Louise Hooper (episodes 6 and 7). Having appeared in many historical documentaries, she is no stranger to the sword and dagger genre: Over the years she has played characters such as Joan of Arc in Joan of Arc, Queen Boudica in After the Hunt – Mysteries Beneath Our Feet and Queen Elisabeth I. in The Private Lives of the Tudors.
Most interestingly perhaps, she is a notably capable horse rider, jouster and experienced in combat with period weaponry. We certainly hope she’ll be able to put these skills to use in The Witcher.
The second Nilfgaardian officer to be introduced in Season 2 is one General Gerhen. At the moment of writing, we can’t say with a hundred percent certainty who will play him, but we strongly suspect Darius James (Intergalactic), who had been on set at Arborfield Studios in recent weeks.
From what we can say, he crossed paths with at least Jo Mariott, Mimi Ndiweni, Eamon Farren and Tom Canton (Filavandrel). Take this with a grain of salt until confirmed though, as James could also be playing another role.
The Nilfgaardian Empire was introduced as the big bad of season one, invading the Kingdom of Cintra and robbing young princess Ciri of her home, her family, and all she ever held dear. Some fans felt that that portrayal was a bit one-sided and way back in the beginning of 2020 showrunner Lauren Hissrich promised to further explore Nilfgaard in season two. This is what she had to say in a reddit ama:
Interesting about Nilfgaard. Yes, we felt like we needed to set up a “bad guy” in S1 — but it’s our hope that we’ve added enough layers to Cahir and Fringilla that the audience thinks “Wait, but THEY don’t seem insane. So what do they see in Nilfgaard? Maybe there’s more there than meets the eye?” Perhaps we didn’t go far enough in S1, to see more behind Nilfgaard’s curtain — but it will definitely be explored more thoroughly in S2.
We’ve already seen glimmers of this behind-the-curtain look at Nilfgaard in the filming leaks from Fountains Abbey, where a meeting between the Black Ones and newcomer Francesca Findabair (Mecia Simson) took place. In a recent article, we also reported on a major action scene shot in a Nilfgaardian stronghold.
We’re very intrigued how these new characters and events will figure into the main plot and what the team has in store for Nilfgaard in season two. Will we learn what really drives them to invade the Continent with fire and steel? Will we get to see what lies behind the apparent fanaticism of characters like Fringilla and Cahir? Will the show perhaps even reveal the identity of the enigmatic White Flame? Tell us what you’re hopes are for Nilfgaard in the comments below or on twitter.
2 comments on “The Witcher casts a pair of Nilfgaardian generals”
Netflix and the showrunners of The Witcher make diversity in the casting a big deal. However, if I am not mistaken, they hire mostly British actors, and as far as diversity is concerned, so far, actors of an East Asian heritage have been absent. In HBO’s Game of Thrones there were many non-British (or non-Irish) European actors on board, leading me to think that GoT was more inclusive from that point of view. It is perhaps even a bit disappointing that there is no Polish actor on the show, certainly not in a recurring role. I tend to think that in terms of language and acting skills there should certainly be Polish actors who could do the job. Their potential lack of international prominence would likely not be a reason for not hiring them, as many of the castings of British actors announced for this season include names that are largely unknown. Perhaps we are already noticing the impact of Brexit impeding the mobility of actors, apart from Covid, which is a factor on that count, too. I actually hope that this is the reason and not the notion that non-British actors or non native English speakers are not worth considering.
Actually, I like to think that British actors get hired for medieval sword and sorcery style fantasy shows because the British still have a monarchy and many old-fashioned traditions. At least that is what I thought when I saw one of the parades for the Queen a couple of years ago where they have lots of soldiers hopping around in 17th century or so uniforms and riding on horseback to tunes played on bagpipes. I assume that such a mindset helps a lot getting into the roles. On reflection, however, in LOTR there were many American and Australian actors, so chances are my impression is not completely correct. Anyway, I do agree there should be more Polish actors on the show. And bagpipe music.