It’s been two long years for fans of The Witcher, eager for a second season, but that long wait is nearly over. Netflix dropped a new trailer for its hugely popular sci-fi/fantasy series, starring Henry Cavill as a solitary monster hunter with magical powers.
(Some spoilers for S1 below.)
As I’ve written previously, The Witcher is based on the popular books by Andrzej Sapkowski. The series was one of the streaming platform’s top ten shows of 2019, despite boasting a fairly complicated narrative structure: three separate timelines spanning 100 years. It played a little fast and loose with the source material, but that turned out to work quite well.
Cavill’s Geralt of Riva, the titular Witcher, has a destiny that is linked to Crown Princess Ciri (Freya Allan) and complicated by his feelings for a sorceress, Yennefer of Vengerberg (Ana Cholatra), who is one-quarter elf. The first season drew on two short story collections, The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, to follow the three main characters at different points in time, ultimately converging in a battle to defend Sodden Hill against Nilfgaardian invaders. In the season finale, Geralt and Ciri finally meet, while Yennefer has mysteriously disappeared after unleashing a stream of fire on the invaders.
The first trailer dropped last month during Netflix’s Tudum global fan event. We saw a lot of Geralt in action, slaying monsters while ruminating on the fact that “evil is evil,” whether said evil is lesser, greater, or just plain middling. We also caught glimpses of the Nilfgaardian invaders and of Geralt embracing Ciri, whom he swore to protect. And we saw Yennefer captured behind enemy lines, being told that the war has just begun.
A major theme for S2 seems to be the monsters that lurk within human beings, perhaps worse than the actual monsters that plague the Continent. Per the official premise:
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.
We get even more monster slaying in this new trailer—including a giant tree-like figure that looks a bit like one of Tolkien’s Ents—but it also depicts Ciri training to become a monster-hunter herself at Kaer Morhen. Meanwhile, Yennefer must contend with the Nilfgaardian Empire’s continued aggression and the intensifying war between North and South. And Jaskier the traveling bard (Joey Batey) finds himself imprisoned with only rodents for company. He makes the best of it, as Jaskier is wont to do. (“I made new friends, get over it.”) At one point, Geralt is warned that the world is “acting strange these days” and that the “end of days” could be nigh. Geralt is refreshingly unconcerned. “I’ve lived for three supposed end of days,” he replies. “It’s all horses**t.”
All eight episodes of The Witcher S2 drop on Netflix on December 17, 2021. The series has already been renewed for a third season. There are two animated spin-off films in the works, one of which is called The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, about the origins of Geralt’s mentor Vesemir. (Kaer Morden features prominently in that series.) There will also be a live-action prequel limited series, The Witcher: Blood Origins, starring Sophia Brown and Michelle Yeoh. It’s set 1,200 years before Geralt’s time, exploring the origin of the Witchers. There’s a kids’ TV series in the works, too.
Listing image by Netflix