By Quinci LeGardye published
Netflix's fantasy epic The Witcher has finally returned with a bang. Two years after the initial season dropped, introducing audiences to the streaming giant's attempt at a Game-of-Thrones-esque universe–complete with multiple spin-offs–season 2 of Geralt of Rivia's (Henry Cavill) adventures as a dad has topped the Netflix Top 10 with a gorgeous meditation on found family and existential pain (plus plenty of brutal fight scenes).
For those of you who haven't checked out the best fantasy show since GoT's earlier seasons, The Witcher follows three main characters across a medieval land of monsters called The Continent, based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's works. In season 2, immortal-ish warrior Geralt (the titular Witcher) claims his fated Child of Surprise Ciri (Freya Allan) and vows to protect her against a new crop of uber-deadly monsters. Meanwhile, the mage Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) has survived the Battle of Sodden from last season, but she's still wrapped up in the wars and politics of both the kingdom of Nilfgaard and the Brotherhood of Sorcerers.
After eight episodes of war and monsters, season 2 ends on the biggest cliffhanger of the series so far, one that will probably upset the balance between our three main characters. Luckily, season 3 is already in the works, and will hopefully return with a less than two-year wait. Here's everything we know about The Witcher's upcoming third season.
Has 'The Witcher' been renewed for a third season?
The Witcher was actually renewed for a third season months before the second even aired, to the delight of fans. Netflix announced that season 3 was a go during their Tudum fan event last September. The streamer also revealed that the Witcher Cinematic Universe would continue to grow through a second anime film (separate from this summer's Nightmare of the Wolf) and a kids and family series.
Creator Lauren Schmidt Hissrich said during the livestream event, "We're so excited to continue to grow this universe and cannot wait for you to join us on this ride," per Entertainment Weekly.
Speaking to TechRadar in December, Schmidt Hissrich revealed that the third season was still in its very early stages—and may not begin filming for some time. "We’re almost done with the scripting phase, and it’s amazing. I’m really thrilled with how the season is shaping up because it’s based on my favorite book in the saga, which is The Time of Contempt....I feel like seasons 1 and 2 have been laying the playing field for everything huge that’s about to happen...The creative process is now really just starting. We have the scripts, and now we’ll bring directors on, the actors back in, and really start delving in deeper and reflecting back and making sure that it’s the perfect season."
When could 'The Witcher' season 3 come out?
Netflix usually tends to wait a few months after a season's release to announce a renewal, leaving fans waiting some time for the new season to drop. As the crew for The Witcher season 3 got a three-month head start, the season 2 premiere was coupled with the good news that season 3 is almost completely written.
Hissrich told TechRadar that the writer's room for season 3 would be done by the holidays. Though she didn't give a date for when filming will start, productions have pretty much returned to pre-pandemic speed, so they might begin soon.
"Actually, this is our last week [December 3] in the writers’ room," Hissrich said. "We’re almost done with the scripting phase, and it’s amazing. I’m really thrilled with how the season is shaping up because it’s based on my favorite book in the saga, which is The Time of Contempt.
"I feel like seasons 1 and 2 have been laying the playing field for everything huge that’s about to happen," she added. "But the creative process is now really just starting. We have the scripts, and now we’ll bring directors on, the actors back in, and really start delving in deeper and reflecting back and making sure that it’s the perfect season."
I waved goodbye to the S3 writers room today, as I head off to do press on S2. I cried. Twice. They are that talented and smart. That kind and respectful. That special. The work experience I’ve dreamed of. Everyone should be so lucky. ♥️November 24, 2021
What could 'The Witcher' season 3 be about?
A quick summary of where the characters stand at the end of season 2: Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri are together and safe (for now) at Kaer Morhen after Ciri sent Voleth through the monolith to the demon world. They're also reeling from the Wraiths of Mörhogg (a.k.a. the Wild Hunt, in simplest terms the WCU's horsemen of the apocalypse) inviting Ciri to join them and bring the end of the world. Luckily, Yennefer has her magic back, and she and Geralt plan to train Ciri to become the savior of the world instead of its destroyer.
Outside of the main trio, seemingly everyone else on The Continent is after Ciri. The Brotherhood plan to kill her, and anyone who protects her, to stop any chance of the apocalypse. The leaders of one of the nations, Redania, wants to have Ciri in order to stake a claim to Cintra and become the most powerful kingdom. The elves think Ciri will be their savior, thanks to her Elder bloodline. Meanwhile, while main aggressor nation Nilfgaard wants Ciri for her power, its mysterious leader has a more personal goal. Turns out Emperor Emhyr, a.k.a. the White Flame, is actually Ciri's dad, who was presumed dead. All roads point to Ciri.
As with season 2, season 3 of The Witcher will adapt the main events of one of the books, with some new plotlines and character upgrades added by the show. (Season 1 was adapted from several short stories.) Hissrich confirmed that the third season will be based on The Time of Contempt, the second full book in Sapkowski's saga. In that book, Yennefer, Ciri, and Geralt (reunited in the season 2 finale) journey to the Brotherhood's headquarters of Aretuza. In Contempt, a coup takes place, forcing the main trio to separate again.
As for the changes that might come up, Hissrich already revealed a future plot point to Polygon, while noting a big change that season 2 made from its source material, Blood of Elves.
"Viewers will notice we concentrate a lot on the elven storyline in season two, which is not as prominent in [the main novel being adapted], Blood of Elves. And yet, I know that in season three, we’re introducing the Scoia’tael, this army of elves that's fighting on behalf of Nilfgaard. And they don't come off so great. It's a pretty sort of harsh, dark storyline.
"So I want to make sure that we understood and humanised their part of the battle. Where are they coming from? What are they fighting for? Even if they lose their way along the way. what is sort of their backdrop? So we're constantly looking at the Witcher as a whole."
Cavill, meanwhile, told IGN: "To be true to the books, I think there's a chance to explore the Nenneke relationship a little further. Of course, I would love to work with the Witchers some more, but it all depends on how much the story allows. I'm a huge fan of the books and staying loyal to them, and it's about making sure that story happens without too much in the way of diversions or side things going on to muddy the waters."
Speaking to the same outlet, Anya Chalotra, a.k.a. Yennefer, said: "It's habitual, isn't it? She's how old, and she's lived the kind of life she's lived, and, you know, the rules that she lives by, and that's the end, and she doesn't trust anybody, and it's going to be hard to just delve into a new way of being. She might have learned to consider things more, but in the moment, in such a violent world, you have to watch out for yourself as well."
What about the prequel 'The Witcher: Blood Origin'?
The season 2 finale ended with a surprise post-credit teaser for the upcoming spin-off miniseries The Witcher: Blood Origin. The six-episode spin-off will take place 1,200 years before the main series and tell the origin story of the first Witcher and the Conjunction of the Spheres, the event that filled The Continent with the monsters we see in The Witcher. Blood Origin will star Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians), Mirren Mack (Sex Education), and Jacob Collins-Levy (The White Princess) and is set to premiere in 2022.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Declan De Barra, Blood Origin's showrunner, explained that the miniseries will show what the world was like for elves (led by Michelle Yeoh) before they were betrayed by humans.
"The writers room assembled to develop the story for The Witcher season 2 and they hit a plot hole. "We were trying to understand what the world was like for elves right before the Conjunction of the Spheres," De Barra told the outlet. "It's very vague in the books as to what happened. I got out a whiteboard and sketched out this plan of what I thought: what elves wanted in this world and what the society was like pre-colonization. That kind of stuck."
I GOT DISTRACTED BY CHATTING WITH FANS! What I came on here to do was unveil...❤️⚔️🧝♀️Every story has a beginning. Witness the untold history of the Continent with The Witcher: #BloodOrigin, a new prequel series set in an elven world long before the events of #TheWitcher. pic.twitter.com/KKX7oZJ4HiDecember 20, 2021
Quinci LeGardye is a LA-based culture writer who covers TV, movies and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.