It has been just over a year since The Witcher launched its second season of magic and monsters on Netflix. There is still a long wait ahead of us before the third season is released, but Netflix have cooked up a prequel show titled The Witcher: Blood Origin for us Witcher fans in the meantime.
The prequel show has seen mixed reviews from critics leaving many fans concerned, but the good news is that the Blood Origin press tour included many interviews with The Witcher showrunner Lauren Hissrich. And though most of these interviews were about Blood Origin, there were a few cases where Lauren caved and revealed some brand new Season 3 plot details.
Season 3 will be closer to the books and give Henry Cavill “the most heroic sendoff”
“Henry has given so much to the show and so we want to honor that appropriately,” showrunner Lauren Hissrich said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“What is so interesting is that Season 3, to me, is the closest thing that we’ve done as a one-to-one adaptation of the books,” she says. “Obviously, we can’t do every page, but Time of Contempt gave us so many big action events, plot points, defining character moments, huge reveals of a big bad. There’s so much to do that we were able to stick really, really closely with the books.”
“Geralt’s big turn is about giving up neutrality and doing anything that he has to do to get to Ciri. And to me, it’s the most heroic sendoff that we could have, even though it wasn’t written to be that. Geralt has a new mission in mind when we come back to him in Season 4. He’s a slightly different Geralt than we expected. Now, by the way, that’s an understatement.”
EW also asked Hissrich if there is an option that Cavill will return to the Witcher in a new role, in front of or behind the scenes, to which she answered the following: “We haven’t even thought about that at this point. We have plans to keep this going in various permutations. I love the mothership, I’m going to stick to it, but obviously, we have Blood Origin coming out. I hope that this doesn’t end for a while. So I think the possibilities are endless, and we’ll see what happens.”
More major Season 3 plot details revealed, including the title of 301: “Shaerrawedd”
Hissrich discussed more with EW in the second part of their interview, and shared with them the first script page of the Season 3 premiere episode, which we now know is titled “Shaerrawedd”. Readers of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novel Blood of Elves (the first full-length novel in the Witcher Saga following two collections of short stories) will remember Shaerrawedd as an ancient elven ruin visited by Geralt and Ciri during their travels.
The scene in Blood of Elves includes a particularly touching moment in which Geralt first imparts his philosophy about neutrality to Ciri, by telling the story of the elves of Shaerrawedd. As Lauren confirms in the interview, the same thing will happen in Season 3 when Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri visit Shaerrawedd.
“One of the very first things the writers do when we set out to write a season is we write one-sentence character arcs so that we can boil it down to, this is Ciri’s journey this season, this is Yennefer’s, this is Geralt’s,” Hissrich explained.
“Geralt’s was him relinquishing his neutrality by the end of the season.” And according to Hissrich, Shaerrawedd will be the beginning of that arc. “This is when we get Geralt’s main thoughts on neutrality and why he wants to be neutral. It’s a theme you will continue seeing throughout the season, right up to some of my favorite quotes between him and Dijkstra about his neutrality offending so many people.”
Regarding Shaerrawedd, fans of the books were concerned when in the show skipped this meaningful moment. Hissrich explained to EW that the writers toyed with the idea of adding Shaerrawedd to Season 2, but “the context never felt right” as they were not tackling the final third of Blood of Elves in Season 2. This part of the story was delayed to the third season, and the writers “couldn’t let go” of Shaerrawedd for the third season.
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“This set is one of the biggest we ever built,” Hissrich tells EW. “It was an interior-exterior set. Every shot is visual effects. Obviously there’s a fight happening, but more than that, it is this big, open space. There are blue screens everywhere, so we are just now putting the final touches on it. Episode 1’s been done for ages, but it’s taken that long to get this setting right. I think it’s really important for the story.”
You can see a few images of the Shaerrawedd set from our earlier leak, linked above.
Besides the interesting Shaerrawedd moments, the Season 3 premiere will also deal with the consequences of the shocking events of Season 2. The Witcher family of Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri have been through a lot, including Yennefer planning to sacrifice Ciri to the witch Voleth Meir, Ciri being possessed by that witch and murdering numerous of Geralt’s witcher brothers, Geralt’s father figure Vesemir then trying to murder Ciri, and Geralt holding the edge of his blade against Yennefer’s throat. Needless to say, our main trio is not in the best shape at the beginning of the season, and the season premiere will delve into that as they begin to mend their relationship.
“What we leaned into is, how do we start this path to forgiveness? Because it’s not gonna come fast,” Hissrich said, and what will help is “Yennefer’s dedication to helping Ciri control her magic.” This is not the only Ciri-Yennefer detail the showrunner shared in this interview. “We’re gonna hear Geralt tell the story to Ciri,” Hissrich confirmed. “But we’re also gonna hear Yennefer tell the story to Ciri. We’re gonna start to understand that everybody has a different version of historical events. It’s a great way to start to explain Ciri’s bloodline and all of the things that are gonna happen to her that come to the surface in The Time of Contempt.”
The Witcher Season 3 will release on Netflix on Summer 2023. Meanwhile, the prequel Blood Origin is set for release this coming Friday.