Twenty-seven years ago, Andrzej Sapkowski published the novel Time of Contempt, the second novel in the Witcher Saga which followed the beloved short stories. Most fans agree that it was in this novel that the series spread its wings and took flight, now among the likes of A Song of Ice and Fire and Lord of the Rings. Most fans will also agree that this is largely due to one particular sequence, taking place over two chapters of the novel, that completely unravels the Continent and its many characters.
This sequence takes place on Thanedd Isle, home of the Aretuza School of Sorceresses which has been a central location in The Witcher‘s first two seasons. Showrunner Lauren Hissrich and her team have been laying the groundwork for this event since the very beginning, with early castings of key mage characters.
In the past month, the cast and crew have been hard at work filming this iconic sequence on set at Longcross Studios, and though they have been very cautious and tight-lipped, our sources have come through once again, as we have acquired a full breakdown of the characters involved and the actors who will portray them.
Some of them are entirely new, while some were already known to be among the cast, but their roles weren’t confirmed until today.
Philip Philmar as Gerhart of Aelle
Gerhart of Aelle, also known as Hen Gedymdeith, was the oldest living mage on the Continent, having lived through four centuries. His experience earned him a role in the exclusive Chapter of Wizards, and he was one of the leading members of the Thanedd Coup in the novels.
How big his role will be in the show remains to be seen. Philip Philmar is an experienced actor, having appeared in small but memorable roles in films including Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Les Miserables as well as television shows such as Game of Thrones and The Crown.
Rochelle Rose as Margarita Laux-Antille
In the books, Margarita Laux-Antille, better known as Rita, replaced Tissaia as Rectoress of Aretuza. She is always cheerful and confident, and she’s willing to do absolutely anything for her students. Rita was a very close friend of Tissaia’s, despite their different temperaments.
Rita is one of the founding members of the Lodge of Sorceresses. Rochelle Rose has previously appeared in Death in Paradise and Boxing Day. Aside from these productions, she has had an extensive stage career that includes Cinderella, Aladdin, The Winter’s Tale, Jack & The Beanstalk, and many more.
Safiyya Ingar as Keira Metz
Keira Metz is a supporting character who appears in the novels and was later featured in CD Projekt RED’s video games, where she gained additional popularity. Keira is a sorceress who is prepared to get down and dirty and fight for the cause she believes in. She would later join the Lodge of Sorceresses.
Safiyya Ingar‘s filmography includes roles in Summer of Rockets, Doctors, and Faith as well as some voice acting work for video games, of which they are a fan.
Ryan Hayes as Artaud Terranova
Artaud Terranova is one of the mages that took an active role during the Thanedd coup, having conspired with Vilgefortz. Terranova also happens to be a member of the exclusive Chapter of Wizards in the books, so he is a respected figure among the mages of Thanedd Island. Ryan Hayes has previously appeared in Carnival Row and Emerald City and can soon be seen in the upcoming Netflix series Bodies.
Michalina Olszanska as Marti Sodergren
Marti Sodergren first appeared in the novels at a banquet in Thanedd, where she exchanged a hilarious interaction with fellow sorceress Sabrina. Though she began her Witcher career as not much more than comic relief, she would eventually end up as one of the most valuable healers in the Northern Realms, treating wounded soldiers on the frontlines of the battle with Nilfgaard.
Michalina Olszanska is a Polish-born actress, hailing from The Witcher‘s motherland. She has previously appeared in the films Carga, and I, Olga, as well as the Polish Netflix series 1983.
Eric Nolan as Dorregaray
Dorregaray is a particularly odd mage who likes to defend endangered species such as dragons and other monsters, and as such he is not very fond of witchers.
Readers of the books will remember that he first appeared in the short story involving a golden dragon, but his role was removed from the episode in the first season.
Eric Nolan has appeared in the show Krypton, and has been an extra on shows such as Game of Thrones and Vikings.
Poppy Almond as Bianca d’Este
Bianca d’Este is a minor character who appears in the novels, belonging to the neutral mages that opposed the infighting during the Thanedd Coup.
The fact that Netflix has cast Poppy Almond (Blurred Lines) in this role suggests the show will explore the tragic fate of those who attempted, and failed, to prevent the escalation and ensuing battle.
Harvey Quinn as Radcliffe of Oxenfurt
Radcliffe was one of the mages supporting Philippa Eilhart during the Thanedd Coup, helping Philippa capture the traitor mages before the battle broke loose.
Harvey Quinn has been on set for most of the Thanedd filming, so it’s likely he will have a similar role in the show. Quinn has previously appeared in shows such as Drifters and Recaptured.
In addition to these most notable new mage cast members, Netflix has has cast stunt performers as several additional mages that appear in the novels.
The mages that will be portrayed by stunt performers include Detmold (well known to fans of The Witcher games), his brother Drithelm, Fercart, Rejean, Carduin, and Marquard. It’s safe to say we can expect to see them in some exciting fighting scenes.
Returning Cast Members Now Confirmed for the Thanedd Coup
Naturally, the aforementioned cast members will be joined by The Witcher‘s ensemble cast of returning characters, most of whom will be present for the events at Thanedd. Thanks to our sources, we were able to confirm the presence of most of the show’s key cast members for the filing of these scenes.
Naturally, our main trio Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra), and Ciri of Cintra (Freya Allan) have all been on set, despite Cavill’s recent tussle with COVID.
Though the show is very much about them and the family that they create, the events on Thanedd transpire around them, making them mere pawns in other players’ games. The two key players in this game are Philippa Eilhart (Cassie Clare), and Vilgefortz of Roggeveen (Mahesh Jadu).
Vilgefortz has been a recurring character in the show, yet the series has been very careful about revealing his true nature. There is only one scene that alludes to Vilgefortz’s darker motives in the finale of the first season, when he executes a fellow mage who was wounded during the Battle of Sodden.
By the end of season three, we expect the show to have not only revealed Vilgefortz’s “dark side” and a force to be reckoned with, but also establish him as the main villain going forward. Vilgefortz will be joined by his apprentice Lydia van Bredervoort (Aisha Fabienne-Ross), who was introduced with an air of mystery in season two.
One character we’re less certain of, who is related to Vilgefortz, is the mage Rience (Sam Woolf). Not only has this character been recast for season three, but we have reason to be concerned about his fate due to some paparazzi pictures from filming covered in our earlier spoiler report. We hope Rience will survive the aforementioned scene to die in another, colder day, in which case he may appear in Thanedd as well.
Unlike Vilgefortz, Philippa has had very little screen time so far, only really appearing in one brief scene (excluding some more scenes where she is in owl form). Philippa is probably one of the most ambitious mages in the series, and as we will soon see, she is also a great strategist who will give Vilgefortz a run for his money.
In that sense, her partnership with Redanian spymaster Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) is sure to play in her favor. Together, they basically have the entire kingdom of Redania at their disposal. As you would expect, Dijkstra is also confirmed for the Thanedd sequence and he will indeed have a few very special moments with Geralt of Rivia.
Perhaps the most important character we have yet to mention is Tissaia de Vries (MyAnna Buring), the Vesemir to Yennefer’s Geralt. Tissaia has been with us from the beginning, and her relationship with Yennefer has consistently been a highlight of the show.
As readers of the novels will know, Tissaia plays a major role in the events on Thanedd, representing the neutral mages who refused to side with either Vilgefortz or Philippa. By the end of the episode, Tissaia is sure to steal the show as she always does, and perhaps for the last time. Coincidentally, Buring has recently shared a story on her Instagram page to celebrate her wrap of filming for season three.
Of course, let’s not forget the other recurring mages and sorceress characters who have also been filming lately and will surely turn up for the banquet and ensuing massacre. Triss Merigold (Anna Shaffer) was last seen struggling with conflicting loyalties to Tissaia and Ciri, and that will surely come to ahead in season three and specifically in this sequence.
Another key character who has been filming lately is Istredd (Royce Pierresen), Yennefer’s ex who was last seen captured by the elves. Though we haven’t confirmed his presence on set, it seems unlikely that he will miss out on this sequence. Sabrina Glevissig (Therica Wilson-Read) has been a constant partner to Yennefer, Triss, and Tissaia, and we expect her to continue to side with them in the coming events.
One character who will certainly not side with them, however, is Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen), who has also participated in the filming of this sequence. In the books, Stregobor only appears in one short story, but the show has kept him as a recurring character.
Whether or not he will survive the events on Thanedd and which side he will take in the conflict remains to be seen. Lastly, Fringilla’s uncle and fellow mage Artorius Vigo (Terence Maynard) has been another recurring mage in the show, and he too will be part of the Thanedd sequence.
Another central character we have now confirmed to show up in Thanedd is the elven sorceress, Francesca Findabair (Mecia Simson). Also confirmed for this sequence is Filavandrel (Tom Canton), Francesca’s close confidant and one-time king of the elves.
We expect to see Francesca’s brother Gage (Kaine Zajaz), as well as the young elf Dara (Wilson Mbomio), appear in Thanedd as well, but that is not confirmed. It’s also possible that the newly introduced Gallatin (Robbie Amell) will participate.
Aiding the main elven characters will be several dozens of Scoia’tael stuntpeople, which means Francesca will crash the fancy mage party with the full elven might and fury.
As in the books, the elves are set to double down on their deal with Nilfgaard, so Francesca will be showing up at Thanedd with an army of Scoia’tael. Speaking of Nilfgaard, we can also confirm that the not-a-Nilfgaardian knight Cahir Mawr Dyffryn aep Ceallach (Eamon Farren) was present for filming, as was to be expected.
Cahir will be joined by the powerful Nilfgaardian sorceress Fringilla Vigo (Mimi M. Khayisa), who was actually not present for these scenes in the books. We’re excited to see what these three will be up to in Thanedd, as their characters are in very different places plot-wise compared to the novels.
Nilfgaard too will come with a considerable military force, so expect a bloodbath.
Now that all of the roles are confirmed, we’re even more excited to see the show’s adaption of the Thanedd banquet and coup. As we have already reported, these events will take place in the third block of the season, so sometime during the fifth and sixth episodes (we’re hoping for both). These episodes have been directed by Banshee, Warrior, and American Horror Story alum Loni Peristere, in conjunction with stunt co-ordinator Wolfgang Stegemann. It really does sound like we’re in for a treat, and it can’t come soon enough.
Season 3 of The Witcher is in production until mid-September 2022 for a 2023 release. The live-action prequel The Witcher: Blood Origin is in post-production after two weeks of reshoots and is currently eyed for a Christmas 2022 release. Stay tuned to Redanian Intelligence and do pop into our Discord server to join in on The Witcher conversation.