The second season of Netflix’s fantasy drama The Witcher is well on its way, according to showrunner Lauren Hissrich. “I am in London right now. [This] is where we’re shooting season two of The Witcher,” she said recently on the Writer Experience podcast. “So I’ve been here for about two and a half weeks on the ground. We’re in pre-production now, so we’re crazy busy, but it’s very exciting to be kicking off again.”
We are shooting [season two] for about 125 days, however that breaks down. So we go for about five and a half months, depending, give or take. Season one was much longer. It took much longer for us to do, but we feel for season two that we’ve got things a little more under control.
It makes sense that things would go a little more smoothly for season 2, assuming the production values are pretty comparable to what was happening in season 1. The Witcher, which follows professional monster hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) as he plies his trade around the Continent, is a complicated show to make, but getting going may be the hardest part. Once Hissrich and her team have a better idea of how to shoot, what locations they might want to use, and a shorthand for communicating with the crew, things should go quicker, which is great news for everyone wanting to watch season 2 sooner rather than later.
Season 2 is also an opportunity for Hissrich and company to tweak a few things that didn’t quite work in season 1. To start, the story is going to be told in a straightforward, chronological way. Roughly speaking, season 2 will adapt Blood of Elves, the third book in author Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher series. That novel has all the characters taking part in the same story, so there should be no more need to play with different timelines.
Another change coming: the armor worn by soldiers from Nilfgaard, a powerful foreign nation that nearly invaded the Continent before being beaten back by the sorceress Yennefer and her cohorts, is getting a makeover. “The Nilfgaard armor will be totally different,” Hissrich said. “You have that opportunity [with season two] to go back and course-correct if you want to.”
It’s true that some fans complained about the look of the Nilfgaardian armor early on. That might seem like a nit-pick, but to be fair, it does kind of look like the soldiers are wearing crinkly trash bags for protection:
Finally, Hissrich talked about the directors who will helm the next suite of episodes. “Directors come and go in television, obviously, if we’re shooting eight episodes,” she said. “We do something called block shooting, which means we shoot two episodes at a time. So we have four directors. The directors come in, they come out. They come in and we basically do Witcher boot camp, which is ‘let’s catch you up on everything you need to know about the lore and the stories we’ve been telling and what a witcher is and what these monsters are’.
We pour information on them and I work very closely with them in tone meetings and in production meetings to make sure that they understand the scripts and that they understand our intents and purposes and everything we’re trying to do. And then, I’ve got to let them do their job. I’m there every day, mostly as a resource, but then I let their creative vision take over and we can just continue bouncing back and forth.
So far as Witcher fansite Redanian Intelligence can figure it, the new director lineup includes Stephen Surjik (Lost in Space, The Umbrella Academy, See), Edward Bazalgette (The Last Kingdom, Doctor Who, Poldark), and Sarah O’Gorman (The Last Kingdom, Cursed, Jamestown). The identity of the fourth director remains unknown, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to get someone who worked on the first season so there’s some continuity.
Beyond that, cast members are already teasing their returns to set, and everything looks like it’s running smoothly. I enjoyed the first season of The Witcher but definitely thought there was room for improvement, so I’m glad to hear that Hissrich and company are looking to up their game. The show already has a fanbase. If it continues to improve, we could be in for something really special.