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The Witcher Season 3 Trailer: Breakdown, Small Details, And Big Reveals

The first two seasons of Netflix's "The Witcher" have done a nice job tackling the tricky combination of bringing Andrzej Sapkowski's books to live action while also staying true to the video games they inspired — which, let's be honest, is how the majority of the English-speaking world learned about this intriguing, gritty fantasy universe. "The Witcher" Season 3 will be Henry Cavill's last one as Geralt of Rivia, but before Liam Hemsworth becomes the new Witcher, the character still has to face a whole bunch of challenges. 

The new teaser trailer for the season showcases Cavill's swan song in a manner that makes it clear that Geralt is in for a battle of his long lifetime. The short peek into "The Witcher" Season 3 and its secrets might not seem to reveal all that much, but in reality, it contains all sorts of intriguing clues that may be easy to miss. Let's unpack some of the biggest shocks and surprises in the teaser. 

What can make a Witcher understand fear?

"Now, for the first time, I understand real fear." 

That's a heavy line coming from a Witcher, and especially the eternally stoic Geralt of Rivia. Though he's a magically-enhanced, superpowered monster hunter who's lost at least some of his humanity, Geralt is obviously not entirely emotionless — he just likes to play his cards very, very close to his chest. Even so, fear hasn't ever really been part of the package, because a Witcher who gets scared tends to be a dead Witcher. So, what is the thing that could frighten a guy who fights gigantic, overpowered abominations for a living? 

Though the trailer frames Geralt's fear as something that's related to a particularly mighty opponent, it also makes clear that Ciri (Freya Allan) and possibly Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) are in danger, as well. He might have his issues with the latter, but Geralt has a close connection to both, and the fear he admits understanding may very well be for their wellbeing instead of his own. Here's hoping it turns out to be unfounded.

The Wild Hunt begins

The apocalypse is never filled with rainbows and sunshine, and in the world of "The Witcher," the supposed harbingers of calamity take the form of mysterious riders from an alternate dimension. These riders are known as the "Wild Hunt," and audiences were treated to a glimpse of them at the end of Season 2, when Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri come face to face with the leader of the Wild Hunt in their own nightmarish realm. Although the trio of heroes have managed to escape from this plane of existence, the Wild Hunt craves the blood of Ciri, which is why they are chasing after her in the trailer for Season 3.

This is because Ciri has access to ancient and long forgotten magic, which the riders of the Wild Hunt believe will save their accursed dimension from obliteration. Powerful and deadly, the Wild Hunt will probably be a major focus for Season 3 of "The Witcher," specially considering that some of their history was expounded on in the prequel series "The Witcher: Blood Origin." Also known as the Wraiths of Morhogg, the Wild Hunt is led by the elf Eredin (Sam Hazeldine). All of the Wild Hunt members are elves, and they were originally created as a means to procure slave labor from other planes of existence, which has given rise to their status as heartless reavers. Hopefully Geralt is up to the task when it comes to defending Ciri and defeating these long-lived extra-planar raiders.

Gerald's got a new runestone upgrade

It looks like Geralt's out for blood in "The Witcher" Season 3, but at least he's taken the time to prepare his gear for this adventure. Early in the trailer, we get a nice action shot of the titular hero pulling out his steel sword. Eagle-eyed fans may notice it now features a line of runes running down the middle and a beautiful green-glowing stone fixed to the guard. While these weapon enhancements don't feature in "The Witcher" book series, avid fans of the video games will quickly recognize the upgrade system.

Since the first release, runestones have been fixtures of "The Witcher" video games. However, In "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," developers CD Projekt Red took it to the next level, introducing Lesser Runes, Runes, and Greater Runes. When equipped, runestones offer different boosts to Geralt's attacks, like a chance to burn or cause bleeding. They also change the appearance of the weapons, with colored runes running down the length of the blades. It looks like "The Witcher" Season 3 will introduce that upgrade system to Geralt's weapons, with runes etched into his sword and a glowing stone on the guard. With Henry Cavill being such a big fan of the games, we can guess who suggested bringing the upgrade system to live-action.

Geralt might be facing off against his fellow Witchers

As Geralt holds his glowing sword and prepares to face off with the shadowy humanoid that stands waiting in the hall in front of him, the fact that he's clearly taken pains to give himself a power upgrade might make the viewer think that the Witcher's facing a truly mighty opponent — especially as his voiceover about finally understanding fear just so happens to coincide with this moment. But who or what is he actually up against in the scene?

The figure is just blurry enough to keep things delightfully mysterious, but considering that they clearly wear dark clothes, it's easy to assume that they're either a member of the Wild Hunt or perhaps a Nilfgaardian soldier. However, there's another powerful force that favors black clothes and ends "The Witcher" Season 2 at odds with the protagonist: his own kind. After Vesemir (Kim Bodnia) discovered that Geralt's ward Ciri could be the key to restoring Witchers to their former glory, it might just be that Geralt's old mentor wants a word with him. If so, the fact that Geralt is drawing his sword is a pretty clear hint that the negotiations aren't going too well. Another possible identity for the shadowy figure is none other than the mage Vilgefortz, who has gained more power within the brotherhood and may also be setting his sights on Ciri.

Rience is back

After a season of fire and one-note villainy, Rience (Chris Fulton) is back with a vengeance. At the end of Season 2, Rience is on the verge of discovering who really hired him to pursue Ciri. Unperturbed by Lydia's (Aisha Fabienne Ross) gruesome makeover, the mage is ready to take his fire magic to the next level. He returns in the teaser in a familiar halo of fire, but that doesn't mean his appearance will just be more of the same. The new season could bring clarity to some of the biggest unanswered questions, particularly the mystery of who hired him.

The obvious identity of Rience's employer may be Emhyr (Bart Edwards) or even Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen), but the books reveal him to be someone else entirely. Though currently appearing as an ally in Netflix's "The Witcher," Rience's master in the books is none other than Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu). The mage who helped defend Sodden Hill against Nilfgaard, Vilgefortz has ulterior motives that are only now starting to come to the surface.

Tissaia is becoming suspicious of her lover, noting the secrets he's been keeping from her. This is most likely an overture to the evil he will inflict in Season 3. In "Time of Contempt" — the book that inspired Season 3 — Vilgefortz is a main antagonist and the person who enlisted Rience to track down Ciri in the first place. Since Lydia also happens to be Vilgefortz's assistant, Rience's return can only be a herald signaling future betrayal.

What's the deal with Yennefer's mask?

In one of the trailer's more blink-or-you'll-miss-it moments, Yennefer can be seen looking for Geralt in a dark, torch-lit room. After she calls out for the Witcher, a woman's voice responds to Yennefer, causing her to turn around and reveal that she's wearing a mask. While the mysterious situation is arguably more intriguing than Yennefer's clothing, eagle-eyed fans will remember the mask from a previous episode.

The Season 1 episode "Bottled Appetites" sees Yennefer set out to restore her fertility, but the most memorable scene involves her using magic to conjure up a risqué party in a mansion. When Geralt and Jaskier find her later on, she's sitting amid a sea of naked bodies, watching the erotic events from behind a lace mask. The mask in the Season 3 trailer appears to be the very same one she wore in that episode.

It remains to be seen what motivates Yennefer to sport a mask and go running around dark rooms in Season 3. However, the mask is synonymous with one of Season 1's most memorable episodes, and it teases another night of unpredictability in the next installment.

Enter Philippa

"The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt" can be described in one word: massive. The open-world game boasts close to 200 hours of gameplay while you play as Geralt, trying to find a way to save his surrogate daughter from the titular Wild Hunt. With such an expansive landscape, there are many characters in play, so it's no surprise that Netflix's "The Witcher" is only just getting around to heavily featuring some iconic characters. The new teaser is a window to one character only briefly featured in the series so far, Philippa Eilhart (Cassie Clare). A contemporary of Yennefer's, Philippa appears in Season 2, mostly to assist spymaster Dijkstra (Graham McTavish). But if the source material is any indication, there's much more in store for the next appearance of this sorceress. 

In the teaser, Jaskier (Joey Batey) appears on the wrong end of a sharp-looking ring that resembles a talon. Philippa's affinity for transforming into an owl makes her the likely perpetrator, indicating she will be a player in Season 3. Like most sorceresses, she is not all that she appears to be. Though sometimes affiliated with Dijkstra, she always has her agenda and uses her powers as a political animal to get what she wants. Jaskier has a close connection to Ciri, meaning he may be an obstacle for vicious Philippa to get her hands on the young powerhouse. The mage's lust for power is only one of her dastardly personality traits.

Ciri's on her own

"The Witcher" Season 2 saw Ciri hang out in Kaer Morhen, where she learned how to become a noble warrior like the witchers of the School of the Wolf. The training entailed her being forced to avoid swinging pendulums and overcome all sorts of hurdles in an effort to become resilient and strong. However, that's kids' stuff compared to being at the center of a Continent-wide hunt that brings out the most formidable killers around.

The upcoming season of "The Witcher" is going to be eventful for Ciri, and that's putting it mildly. Every mage, monarch, and monster of the Continent is out to capture her, and she'll only be able to hide for so long before she has to face these demons. One of the storylines will also see her become separated from her guardians, which is evident in the latest trailer. The Continent is a nasty world at the best of times, let alone when the Wild Hunt is taking place — chances are she'll encounter trouble at every corner. That said, the perilous ordeals will allow Ciri to get some proper combat experience, but will she be able to learn as she goes?

Toward the end of the trailer, we see Yennefer, Geralt, and Ciri wandering around n the dark, completely separated from each other. The threat of danger looms large and it's clear that something's about to go down. It's merely a hint of what's to come, but Ciri being on her own indicates that she's going to have to put that training to good use sooner rather than later. Geralt and Yennefer will undoubtedly lend a hand, but Ciri will need to come into her own if she's going to survive.

Hey, is that Nibbles the cat?

In the video game "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," players meet an unusual cat who sits on a table cleaning itself, stopping occasionally to stare at Geralt. Cats are unique in the universe of "The Witcher," with the ability to soak up magic in a way no one else can — except a Witcher. Cats hate Witchers and hiss at them when they see them, which is what makes this cat such an anomaly. Nicknamed Nibbles, his appearance in the Season 3 trailer comes as a welcome surprise, given his origin.

"The truth is Nibbles was born as a filmmaking trick due to a technical necessity that came up," CD Projekt Red cinematic artist Kajetan Kapuściński told Kotaku. During a crucial meeting in the video game, the game designers decided they wanted something to distract gamers for a short time. The decision to add a cat was a practical and strategic decision, but sharp-eyed fans immediately noticed, and soon theories started that the cat was a shapeshifter.

Alas, Nibbles is just a cat, but he's continued to show up in random game scenes. "We never expected the few appearances it makes in 'Wild Hunt' to be noticed," Kapuściński said. "We've put that cat through a lot of life-threatening situations and it's been there as a brave observer of Geralt's story unfolding before players." Now that he's officially part of the Netflix "The Witcher" series, we hope he becomes just as endearing as his video game counterpart.