(Photo by Susie Allnutt/Netflix)
Ciri’s (Freya Allan) tutelage at Kaer Morhen did not quite go the way Geralt (Henry Cavill) had hoped, but the journey of The Witcher continues with an upcoming third season. And though Geralt, Ciri, and Yennfer (Anya Chalotra) are finally united in a common goal, nothing is ever easy for them. What does that mean as the series heads into its third year? The season will be loosely based on the second long-form Witcher novel, Time of Contempt, with some continuing threads from the first and, it seems, even a couple of ideas from the third, making it even more of a unique version of the story than Season 2’s take on Blood of Elves. So, let’s take a look at what we know about the third season so far and see what we can read from its bones.
(Photo by Susie Allnutt/Netflix)
In previous seasons, we’ve been able to use the books of Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski for some insight, but now things start to change, even if the broad strokes remains the same. As revealed in Blood of Elves and Season 2 of The Witcher, one of the big problems facing the main trio is the fact all the power players on the Continent know Ciri is alive and carries the elder blood. According to Netflix’s own description of the season to come, “Geralt takes Ciri of Cintra into hiding, determined to protect his newly-reunited family against those who threaten to destroy it.” That could allow the opportunity for Yennfer to train Ciri in the use of her powers and for their bond to be properly forged. Of course, it is always possible a more strained relationship between them is one of the points of divergence between the novels and the television series.
But Yennefer will take a cue from her novel counterpart by bringing Ciri and Geralt to Aretuza. Unfortunately, the situation there is described as a “battlefield of political corruption, dark magic, and treachery.” And if events there occur as they do in Time of Contempt, they may discover they were better off facing Nilfgaard and the Northern Kings from the heights of Kaer Morhen.
Then again, all the political shenanigans and cross-talk among the mages may also offer the opportunity for Ciri and Geralt to mend their trust issues with Yennefer. Sure, a lot would have to transpire to get them to that point, but a monumental change like that is worth of another 8-episode season, especially as circumstances will no doubt see them separated before too long.
(Photo by Susie Allnut/Netflix)
Naturally enough, Cavill, Chalotra, and Allan return as the mismatched Witcher family. The story can’t really function without the three of them. Joey Batey will also return as Jaskier – it will be interesting to see where they find him this time. Returning mages include MyAnna Buring as Tissaia, Anna Shaffer as Triss Merigold, Mahesh Jadu as Vilgefortz, Terence Maynard as Artorius Vigo, Lars Mikkelsen as Stregobor, Royce Pierreson as Istredd, Therica Wilson-Read as Sabrina, Cassie Clare as Philippa Eilhart, and Mimî M Khayisa as Fringilla.
Other returning faces include Tom Canton as elvish rebel Filavandre, Jeremy Crawford as Yarpin Zigrin, Eamon Farren as Black Knight Cahir, Wilson Mbomio as Dara, Mecia Simson as the now-wrathful Francesca, Graham McTavish as Dijkstra, Bart Edwards as Duny – now revealed to be Nilfgaard Emperor Emhyr — Ed Birch as Redania King Vizimir and Kaine Zajaz as Gage. Liz Carr and Simon Callow will also return as notable private investigators Fenn and Codringher. And though not mentioned in any communication from Netflix, we’d be surprised if Chris Fulton and Aisha Fabienne Ross do not return as fire-wielder Rience and fellow mage Lydia van Bredevoort. Their story is one of the Blood of Elves plots left unresolved at the end of Season 2. In fact, we imagine Geralt’s search for their employer will be one of the key elements from the second novel, Time of Contempt, to appear in the third season.
Meanwhile, the shifting alliances and ambitions of all of the returning characters will be tested with Ciri’s arrival to the Continental stage. Is Emhyr’s interest in finding her purely out of parental concern, a marriage to secure his hold on the land, or is her way with the monoliths on his mind? Will Cahir and Fringilla even get a chance to talk to her? We imagine escape from the White Flame’s dungeon is their primary concern. The entire Brotherhood will no doubt want to bend her to their way of thinking while King Vizimir is also looking to legitimatize a claim to Cintra via marrying her.
The success or failure of those plans will also tell us when we will see the second war between Nilfgaard and the North. Previously, we wondered if the two conflicts as depicted in the novels would be compressed into a single war. Now, we wonder if it will be part of an eventual climax to the series as the Wild Hunt rushes headlong to the Continent’s sphere or if it will happen as it does in Time of Contempt.
(Photo by Jon Kopaloff, Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Of course, no series like The Witcher carries on without a few new additions to their conflicts. As Netflix recently announced, Upload’s Robbie Amell will appear as Gallatin, a leader of Scoia’tael fighting on Nilfgaard’s behalf. Described as “unafraid to speak his truth,” his devotions will lead him into conflict with Francesca.
Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings’s Meng’er Zhang will debut as Milva, a character Witcher readers may recognize from the third novel, Baptism of Fire. A human raised by dryads, she is a fierce archer and a formidable opponent. It remains to be seen, though, if she will be friend or foe.
Fleabag’s Hugh Skinner joins the intrigue as King Vizimir’s younger brother, Prince Radovid. Said to be a playboy, he now finds himself a part of Redanian Intelligence. His charm and appearance make him an effective agent, but will he ever become aware of just how precarious his situation really is?
Christelle Elwin is also on board as Mistle, member of a gang of street-wise teenagers known as “The Rats.” They will, eventually, meet a particular person who will “change everything.” Their presence in the season suggests certain movements into the third novel could happen quite quickly.
As with Season 2, it is sometimes tough to predict if the characters are meant to be key additions to the story or, like Kristofer Hivju’s appearance in Season 2’s premiere episode, a memorable guest spot for the show’s occasional dalliances with Witcher short stories. Although, with everyone hunting for Ciri, we doubt there will be any detours into the remaining one-off adventures in Season 3.
(Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Lauren Schmidt Hissrich returns once again as showrunner and executive producer. On the EP side, she is joined by Tomek Baginski, Jason F. Brown, Sean Daniel, Mike Ostrowski, Steve Gaub, and Jarosław Sawko. One notable absence is supervising producer Declan De Barra, who is still readying the Witcher prequel limited series, The Witcher: Blood Origin, though he may eventually rejoin the production once the miniseries debuts on Netflix.
Writers for the season include Ostrowski, Tania Lotia, Haily Hall, Rae Benjamin, Clare Higgins, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Matthew D’Ambrosio, and Troy Dangerfield. Ostrowski, Hall and Higgins, and D’Ambrosio return from the previous season. Meanwhile, directors Stephen Surjik, Gandja Monteiro, Loni Peristere, and Bola Ogun will divide the eight-episode season among themselves. Surjik is the only returning director for Season 3.
At the moment, The Witcher’s third season is scheduled in the nebulous future. Considering the gap between Seasons 1 and 2, any wait seems interminable, but sometime in 2023 feels like a safe bet.