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SYFY WIRE The Witcher

'The Witcher': What to know before Season 2 of the fantasy epic rides back onto Netflix

Season 2 of The Witcher premieres on Netflix Friday, Dec. 17.

By Josh Weiss
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We hope you've been saving up those coins, people. It's just about time to toss some of them over to Season 2 of The Witcher, which (no pun intended) will finally make its Netflix debut almost two years after the first season rode onto the streaming scene.

Normally, there isn't such a large gap between the first and second seasons of a hit show like this, but as we all know, the world has been a little topsy turvy ever since March 2020 rolled around. With so much time having passed, you might find yourself in need of a breezy refresher on everything that's happened since Season 1 and everything you can look forward to in Season 2.

Beware, dear reader — here there be monsters!

When is it out?

All eight episodes of Season 2 of The Witcher will officially premiere on Netflix Friday, Dec. 17. It's shaping up to be a busy day for genre content, as Spider-Man: No Way Home is scheduled to hit theaters on the same date. So plan accordingly!

A second installment of the series was green-lit all the way back in November of 2019 just prior to the release of Season 1. Early renewals like that are extremely rare, but strongly indicate that a network or streamer has a lot of faith in a certain project (Amazon did something similar with The Wheel of Time). 

Production on Season 2 of The Witcher kicked off in spring of 2020, but was almost immediately put on pause until late summer of that year due to the the COVID-19 health crisis, which wreaked havoc on live-action titles the world over. Not long after production resumed, showrunner and executive producer Lauren Schmidt Hissrich signed an overall creative deal with Netflix.

“Lauren is a formidable talent with a strong creative vision and diverse skill-set that she brings to every project she touches,” Bela Bajaria, Netflix's Head of Global TV, said in a statement via Deadline. “Lauren’s work on The Witcher has firmly established her as both a preeminent creator and showrunner, and we’re excited to continue working with her on future projects.”

“I am so thrilled to have found my home at Netflix, and can’t wait to continue what’s been an incredibly fulfilling creative partnership,” added Schmidt Hissrich. “While my heart belongs to The Witcher franchise, I equally look forward to digging in on other exciting projects for their global audience in the years to come.”

Even once the cameras started to roll on Season 2, however, the show was plagued by a number of setbacks like positive coronavirus cases among the crew, and Henry Cavill (who plays the main monster hunter, Geralt of Rivia) injuring his leg during a stunt. Filming ultimately wrapped in April of this year.

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How to watch

Viewers are required to have a Netflix subscription and login to watch the second season (no shockers there). The streaming platform offers a number of different plans — ranging from Basic ($8.99 a month) to Standard ($13.99 a month) to Premium ($17.99 a month). Each tier offers an increase in video quality as well as the number of screens one is able to log into at a single time. If you're a T-Mobile customer, you might be eligible for either the Basic or Standard packages at no extra cost.

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The second time around

Unlike its predecessor, Season 2 of The Witcher will take a much more linear approach in its storytelling (one of the major complaints about the first batch of episodes was their penchant to jump around between a number of different timelines).

When it comes to story, the sophomore season picks up with Geralt and Princess "Ciri" Cirilla (Freya Allan) traveling to the former's childhood home of Kaer Morhen. Assuming — perhaps erroneously — that Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) perished at the Battle of Sodden, Geralt turns his attention to protecting Ciri "from something far more dangerous: the mysterious power she possesses inside," according to the official synopsis.

"This season, we're really starting to think about how does magic impact us as humans?" Schmidt Hissrich told SYFY WIRE earlier this year. "What decisions do we make for power? What do we sacrifice? More importantly, how does it hurt the people around us? This is the type of storytelling I'm really excited for because it becomes less about the mystical, magical world, and more about what happens when you start caring about other people."

In addition to established characters like Geralt, Ciri, Yennefer, and Vesmir (Kim Bodnia), the next eight episodes are set to introduce a litany of fresh faces. Newcomers to the ensemble cast include: Kristofer Hivju (Nivellen), Adjoa Andoh (Nenneke), Cassie Clare (Phillippa Eilhart), Liz Carr (Fenn), Simon Callow (Codringher), and Graham McTavish (Dijkstra).

Fans can get themselves all pumped up by listening to "Power and Purpose," the first track to be released from composer Joseph Trapanese's original score for the new season. Check it out below:

Witcher world widens

Netflix is turning The Witcher into an all-out franchise of varying content. Over the summer, the company released Nightmare of the Wolf, an anime-inspired prequel centered around a young Vesemir. During its virtual TUDUM fan event in September, Netflix confirmed a third season of the flagship series and a family-friendly project (the title and plot is TBD).

In addition, a limited prequel series — The Witcher: Blood Origin — is now in production under the leadership of showrunner and executive producer Declan de Barra. Starring Michelle Yeoh and Lenny Henry, Blood Origin will explore how the worlds of men, elves, and monsters came together via an event known as the Conjunction of the Spheres.