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The Witcher season 2 release date, cast and plot

Contains mild spoilers for The Witcher season 1

You can't outrun destiny — and the destiny for Netflix's The Witcher is another season. 

Based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher novels and shorts that were turned into a video game series backed by CD Projekt RedThe Witcher was lined up for a second season prior to its official debut on December 20, 2019. The Lauren Schmidt Hissrich-created action-fantasy show takes place in a medieval world within a realm called the Continent, and follows the lives of three unique but linked-together characters: Henry Cavill's Geralt of Rivia, the silver-haired monster hunter known as a "witcher" who underwent grueling training and endured intense gene-altering to become what he is; Anya Chalotra's Yennefer of Vengerberg, a gifted sorceress with striking purple eyes and a special connection to Geralt; and Freya Allan's Ciri, a princess who has the gift of magic. Throughout the first season's eight episodes, viewers saw how the trio were molded by their individual experiences before meeting one another — and the Witcher season 1 finale concluded with Ciri asking Geralt, "Who is Yennefer?"

With The Witcher season 1 ending on that delicious, cliffhanger-y note, fans are understandably foaming at the mouth for any and all information about season 2. Though details are sparse for the time being, here's everything we know about the second season of The Witcher

What's the release date for The Witcher season 2?

The Witcher season 2 doesn't have a concrete release date as of January 2020. However, when the series' renewal was announced, it was reported that production on the new season will begin in London in early 2020 in preparation for a 2021 launch date. It wasn't specified when in 2021 The Witcher season 2 might premiere, but it's most plausible that fans won't be seeing more of the show until the middle of that year at the very earliest. 

That said, the production timeline for The Witcher season 1 shows a two-year-and-seven-months gap between when the project was confirmed in May 2017 to when it premiered on Netflix in December 2019. While certainly won't be that long of a wait for The Witcher season 2, if production is slated to begin around February or March 2020, fans could be looking at a summer 2021 debut date — unless Netflix allots the cast, crew, and creatives more resources and funding to speed things up.

The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich confirmed in January 2020 that the series is eyeing a 2021 return date, but there's nothing set in stone as far as a month and day goes. She stated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session, "We don't yet have a target launch date for S2, past 2021. We don't want to rush the product. That doesn't benefit anyone."

What's the plot of The Witcher season 2?

When Netflix confirmed that The Witcher would receive a second season on the streamer, creator-showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich noted that the show's team was keen to "continue telling the stories of Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri." Based on Hissrich's words, the upcoming bundle of episodes is set to center around the core triad of the series' inaugural season — and that makes perfect sense given that Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri are the central trio of Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher novels and short stories, upon which the Netflix show is based. 

Throughout its first eight episodes, The Witcher adapted tales from Sapkowski's The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, the two short story collections that precede the central Witcher saga. Ciri is first introduced in Sword of Destiny, which comes second in the chronology but was published ahead of The Last Wish and tells of important events like fall of the Kingdom of Cintra. Geralt is, unsurprisingly, the man who carries the frame story of Sword of Destiny, which is comprised of various shorts focused on flashbacks of Geralt's life. It stands to reason that season 2 of The Witcher will focus on the first few books of the main Witcher saga: 1994's Blood of Elves, 1995's Time of Contempt, and/or 1996's Baptism of Fire.

The truth of the matter is that no one involved with The Witcher has said anything explicit about the plot of the series' forthcoming second season. All we know is that the Witcher creative team was "very, very careful with choosing which stories" they told on season 1, and that what fans have already seen of the show is just the foundation for where thing will go next, since season 1 planted "all of the future seeds that we need to tell stories in later seasons." 

Netflix announces additions to The Witcher's season 2 cast

All the heavy hitters from season 1 are returning to the next season of The Witcher, but a Netflix press release obtained by Looper also gave us a lot of info on new cast members. A few rumors were confirmed, and some familiar faces from other shows will appear in The Witcher's second season.

Several other witchers have been cast to join up alongside Henry Cavill as Geralt. Yasen Atour (2018's Robin Hood, Young Wallander) will play Coen, the witcher who trained Ciri how to sword fight. Paul Bullion (Peaky Blinders) will play Lambert, one of the last witchers trained at Kaer Morhen. Finally, Thue Ersted Rasmussen (F9) will play Eskel, one of Geralt's closest friends and allies.

New witchers aren't the only new cast members that have been added, however! Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones) will play the cursed nobleman Nivellen, while Agnes Bjorn will play his lover, Vereena. Vilgefortz's secretary, Lydia, will be played by Aisha Fabienne Ross (The Danish Girl), and newcomer Mecia Simson will play the queen of the Dol Blathanna elves, Francesca Findabair.

The Witcher season 2 has its Vesemir - and it isn't Mark Hamill

One important character that didn't play a role in the first season of The Witcher was Vesemir, the oldest Witcher at Kaer Morhen and one of the few survivors of the attack that nearly wiped out the school. There was a brief, blurry glimpse of the old Witcher in the season finale, leading many to believe that Vesemir would play a larger role in the second season.

There were a lot of rumors about who would play this character — Mark Hamill's name was thrown around quite a bit, and the part was reportedly offered to both Mads Mikkelsen and Michael Keaton. However, Netflix announced a name that didn't appear on practically anyone's radar as the man stepping into Vesemir's boots: Kim Bodnia.

Bodnia is a Danish actor, probably best known for his role of Konstantin on Killing Eve. Outside of that popular show, Bodnia doesn't have many large roles that would be known in the US. Some people may be disappointed that we didn't get Luke Skywalker in another mentor role, but we'll give Bodnia the benefit of the doubt. Killing Eve is excellent, and The Witcher's casting has been pretty on point so far.

We know who is directing each episode of The Witcher season 2

One common complaint about the first season of The Witcher was that it was too short. It only clocked in at eight episodes, and its complex, time-hopping storyline left more than a few audience members confused. Judging from a recent Netflix press release announcing the directors for each of the second season's episodes, we're stuck with that truncated season again.

The press release announced four directors, each of whom will direct two episodes of season 2. So, unless Netflix is keeping a couple episodes secret, it seems we'll have eight episodes in season two. Stephen Surjik, who has directed episodes of other Netflix shows like Jessica Jones, Umbrella Academy, and Daredevil, will handle the first two episodes. Sarah O'Gorman, who is also directing a few episodes of Cursed, will direct episodes three and four.

Geeta Patel (Superstore, The Magicians) will direct episodes six and seven, and Ed Bazalgette (Doctor Who, The Last Kingdom) will direct the fifth episode and the finale. Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich is still overseeing The Witcher, saying in a press release that "in the hands of these accomplished directors, we're excited to see these new stories come to life."

The Witcher's showrunner teases season 2 and beyond

Speaking with CinemaBlend, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich teased that The Witcher season 2 will only expand on the characters and plots showcased on season 1: "This season, of course, carried a lot of weight because you're setting up the entire world. You need to set up all of the characters, you need to set up the politics, you need to start to understand what a witcher is and what they do and how that's changing in the dynamics of the world. The first season carries a lot of weight, but there's a lot of things that we did this season to set up events that we know we want to happen in season 2 and beyond."

In a separate conversation with GamesRadar, Hissrich doubled down on these comments, saying that "all of the relationships that we've been setting up in season 1 actually start to come into fruition in season 2." She further noted, "What's great about season 2, I can tell you, is that, in what we've written, the story becomes much more focused. There's a stronger drive in the story [...] Characters start meeting and interacting more. That goes well sometimes. It doesn't go well sometimes. But it's kind of like, all of those building blocks that we set up for the world, finally start to come together into something a little more concrete."

Hissrich has also said that she has seven seasons of the series mapped out, so there's much, much more Witcher goodness to come... if Netflix chooses to make it so.