The Witcher is back on Netflix and it’s bigger than ever! The fantasy drama series, which aired its last season in 2019 has upped the stakes and the world-building is the most expansive as it’s ever been.
In season 2, “convinced Yennefer’s life was lost at the Battle of Sodden, Geralt of Rivia brings Princess Cirilla to the safest place he knows, his childhood home of Kaer Morhen. While the Continent’s kings, elves, humans and demons strive for supremacy outside its walls, he must protect the girl from something far more dangerous: the mysterious power she possesses inside.”
Shadow and Act recently spoke with cast members Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, Anya Chalotra, Joey Batey, Mimî M. Khayisa, Kim Bodnia and Kristofer Hivju, as well as showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich.
Season 1 was notable for having three separate timelines following the core three characters before they all came together at the end of the season. Schmidt Hissrich says it was important to condense down to one timeline for the sophomore season.
“It was really important because that’s what the story called for this season,” she said. “So I think that the timelines in season one really started their own purpose because we wanted to make sure that audiences knew who Geralt, Ciri and Yen were, that they all had enough time on screen, that you got to really understand where they were coming from and what their experiences had been so far, or what their traumas had been, or their adventures. So because those really inform who you are as a being. Now in season 2, they start to get to intersect.”
She added, “Geralt and Ciri are obviously together from the very beginning [of this season] and Yen intersects with them a little bit later in the season. But they all come loaded with such heavy pasts. And to me, it makes this season even more exciting. I just think also storytelling-wise, it’s much easier for everyone to follow. We had to spend… We didn’t spend so much time setting stuff up. We actually just got to be in scenes, occasionally having people talk just to get to know each other better as opposed to forwarding the next piece of plot, which was really fun. Our goal was to not have it changed that much, but all that meant is that we had to be really, really creative.”
What’s also different about this season as we get a ton of more dialogue from Geralt, providing more insight into who he is.
“Well, for me, it’s always been that fine line to tread between the source material, which I love and I’m very much a loyalist of, and also the vision of the showrunner because it is the showrunner’s show after all,” Cavill told S&A. “And so, I have to walk that fine line between the things that I love and the things that she requires and the plot lines that she wants to pursue. I campaigned very hard to bring that book Geralt to the show. I really wanted him to come across as the intellectual, as the wise man, as the man with a philosophical lean. And yes, still grumpy and petulant at times as well because that is the character, but to provide him or provide the audience with a more three-dimensional character, a more soulful character.”
Aside from that, this season also allows viewers to explore Geralt through his many different interpersonal relationships as well.
“We have the opportunity in season two to have him interact with people who he’s incredibly close to,” the actor added. ‘And so there’s more of an open door to explore who Geralt is and where he comes from. Now of course, there is still… I try and fit as much of that in, that the showrunner’s vision allows, because I can’t change plot lines, I can’t change storylines. I can’t even change character direction. But what I can do every morning in the makeup trailer, just adjust the dialogue somewhat to make it feel a bit more nuanced, a bit more in the way of Sapkowski’s writing. And there were plenty of discussions which happened in pre-production to try and just make Geralt feel, as I say, richer and more three-dimensional.”
The Witcher season 2 is now streaming on Netflix. Check out the additional cast interviews below: