On Friday October 29, Netflix’s The Witcher was at the annual Lucca Comics & Games convention, introducing the main trailer for Season 2 and featuring a panel with some of the cast and crew. We recapped the first half of the event with showrunner Lauren Hissrich, costume designer Lucinda Wright and production designer Andrew Laws here. This is the second half with actors Kim Bodnia and Joey Batey.
You can (re)watch the whole event on twitch below:
Before we start, Jaskier star Joey Batey also did a rare solo interview at Lucca, talking about The Witcher‘s strong female characters, his own approach to playing Jaskier, and what’s in store for the bard in Season 2. Watch it!
Kim Bodnia: “I really wanted to go into the game and study Vesemir’s skills and background”
Danish veteran actor Kim Bodnia plays one of the most anticipated characters in The Witcher Season 2: Geralt’s father figure Vesemir. Bodnia explained that he originally found his way into the franchise through the videogames: “When the first game came out, my son wanted it, and it was special, very well -made! So when Lauren called me in and I told my family that I have to be Vesemir, their faces were like…”
Besides the fencing lessons, his own preparation included going back to the games, studying Vesemir’s skill and background. Most importantly, he and Henry Cavill had a few in-depth sitdowns to discuss their characters and the special bond they share: “So I spend a lot of time trying to work with Henry talking about feelings sense and feelings. I found out that Vesemir is kind of a father for him because Vesemir ‘created’ Geralt and of course I don’t want to dissapoint you guys, but to dissapoint my own ‘son’!”
Thematically, a lot of their talks centered upon trying to explore Geralt’s feelings: “It was so tough sometimes you know, because we want to be strong all the time, we want to fight We want to believe we’re badasses”. He jokingly added: “So sometimes I had to cry a whole day in front of him, just to make him fill a tear.”
This is a dark time, we have to find the light, the hope, something we can survive on
As for Vesemir, Bodnia shared that he was particularly interested in looking what’s inside the old witcher: “This is a dark time, we have to find the lights, the hope, something that we can survie on in these times”
The actor is immensily grateful to the extended witcher family and audiences who “created strong family feelings” during the lockdown: “It seems like I’m invited into a huge family that is all over the world. “I have never been away from my wife and four children for more than four months so it was very important for me and I feel lucky that I have this new family”
He was full of praise not only for Henry Cavill but also his Ciri star Freya Allan, who he got to shared a lot of with. Kim about Freya: “I can tell you she’s so lovely and funny! To see her developing her character from the first season from this young child to grow into this new person and all that she’s discovering inside herself… wow! that’s gonna be fun”
Oh man, you have to translate all of this? Damn
In a moment that was certainly among the highlights of the panel, Bodnia had the entire hall laughing when he adressed the Italian translators: “Oh man you have to translate all of this? Damn, I’m so sorry! I think I’ll stop here. It’s becase I’m an old actor froms stage, it’s like a monologue for me.”
Joey Batey: “Jaskier is on his gap year, trying to find out if he’s a good person”
We also got some very insightful answers from favorite Joey Batey who plays Geralt’s best friend, the bard Jaskier. In a certain way, Jaskier has always been an exception to the rule and Batey touched on that when asked about his character: “I think Jaskier is one of the few character who is not defined by destiny. Everyone else is being thrown together by forces beyond their comprehension. Jaskier is one of the few people who has agency, who has his own plan to work out.”
In Season 2, we’ll see Jaskier finally trying to find his own feet. As Batey said: “Sometimes you need sons to be prodigal in order to come back. So he’s on his gap year I think, and he’s experimenting with his own morality, trying to work out if he’s a good person.”
Jaskier’s superpower is empathy
Fans can look forward to lots of fresh angles when it comes to Jaskier’s performances: “It was really interesting to try and find moments of sadness and complexity. He is ultimately a poet and we wanted to remind ourselves of that. His superpower is empathy and sometimes that can be hard for anyone who has that superpower to not feel the pain of someone else.”
At the same time, we might also get to see a more mature version of Jaskier: “I think Jaskier has evolved, he’s a bit more ‘rock ‘n’ roll’. the new costume design gave a freedom to him. He feels a little bit more comfortable in his skin and is on a path to discover who he is”
Batey added that we’ll see that reflected in the music as well. When asked about whether Season 2 will have something equally tantalizing as “Toss a Coin for a Witcher” he said: “No idea, but you can assume he’s gonna keep singing. This is the difficult second album.”
Like the others, Batey also empasized how grateful and fortunate he was to be able to keep working during Covid: “I’m feeling incredibly lucky to be able to not only keep working, but working on this show and these people, when the world fell apart. I think we were the only television show shooting in the UK for quite some time but we didn’t take that lightly and I think that came from Lauren, from the top.”
Kim and I became like an old married couple, he’s the real diva of the show
He and Bodnia had rooms next to each other for much of the shoot and the two of them became quite close: “We became like an old married couple, Kim is a madman and so dedicated to his art but also as soon as the camera cuts, he’s just the first person to joke and laugh, one can hear him laughing from like a thousand miles away.”
The Witcher Season 2 will premiere on December 17 on Netflix! Keep a look out for more upcoming analysis as we head into the final phase of promotion.