Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Season 2 of “The Witcher” has been delayed. Here are three things to watch and read from the world of the series, and beyond it, while we wait.
Though “The Witcher” was renewed for a second season almost immediately after its release, a date for the new season has yet to be confirmed. Filming was halted in March due to COVID-19 restrictions and the ensuing lockdowns that many countries were placed under. It will probably be some time before we see a second season of the show, so we’ve compiled a list of things to keep you entertained until then, both from the world of “The Witcher” and beyond it.
Watch “Making the Witcher” on Netflix
Netflix recently released “Making The Witcher“, a 30-minute behind-the-scenes look into “The Witcher“ series. Though short, it gives a view into multiple aspects of filming. It’s perfect for fans of the show to see how the special effects, stunts, and production design came together, and to gain insight into the writing and acting that brought the story to life.
One of the most refreshing aspects of the film was just how much the show’s creator, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, and other writers from the show were featured. It’s rare that we get to hear from the people who wrote the episodes we loved so much.
In their interviews, the writers spoke about the stories they found most difficult to tell (it may not be what you expect) and the challenges faced in adapting a narrative both from a series of novels and a beloved game. Interviews with the show’s production and costume design teams revealed the extensive work that went into building the world of “The Witcher”. Everything from the architecture to the fabric used was carefully considered to reflect different aspects of the Continent, the show’s setting.
The only downside to watching “Making The Witcher” is that it may tempt you to re-watch the original show (if you haven’t already). If you do in fact go down that path, you may be interested in accompanying your viewing with another Netflix offering: “Inside the Episodes: The Witcher”. The series is made up of short episodes, generally around the 5-minutes mark, that provide a behind-the-scenes look into each individual episode of “The Witcher”. Until the next season drops, we may as well exhaust what we have on season 1!
Watch Netflix’s “Marco Polo”
While “The Witcher” is often compared to “Game of Thrones”, it also shares elements with “Marco Polo”, a Netflix series released back in 2015. A work of historical fiction rather than fantasy, the show explores the experiences of real-life figure Marco Polo in the court of Kublai Kahn, right at the very height of the Mongolian empire in the 13th century.
At the time it was released, it was Netflix’s most expensive show. The attention to detail in the series reflects that. The series was often shot on location and features the same level of commitment to world-building we often associate with the fantasy genre. As such, the series is every bit as immersive as “The Witcher”. If you’re looking for something that will suck you in and keep you distracted from the world’s chaos for a bit, this is the show for you.
Like “The Witcher”, “Marco Polo” is often at its strongest when it isn’t focusing on the titular character. Marco Polo is surrounded by an array of interesting characters, each with their own stories. A personal favorite is Hundred Eyes, a blind martial arts expert played by Tom Wu.
The character was popular enough to launch his own spin-off moment with a 30-minute short feature on Netflix, “Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes”. His fight sequences and the moments where we’re given a look into his back story make for some of the best parts of the series. Like “The Witcher”, there are also some truly badass female characters in the show who are every bit as complicated and intriguing as their male counterparts.
For those who love the drama and intrigue of “The Witcher”, “Marco Polo” will definitely have you hooked. Think betrayals, tenuous love affairs, and hidden identities, all in the midst of a Mongolian war. It may not have a singing bard (you can’t have everything), but it’s something fun to watch until Jaskier and the gang return.
Read The Books
Before it was a Netflix series or even a video-game, “The Witcher” began as a beloved book series in Poland, written by Andrzej Sapkowski. In “The Making of the Witcher” the show’s creator explained that The Witcher’s Polish roots were even incorporated into the Netflix adaptation through the series’ production design and who they hired on set. Executive producer, Tomasz Bagiński, a Polish filmmaker and long time fan of the books was featured in the Netflix film as being instrumental in helping to keep the narrative true to the books and their fans.
Andrzej Sapkowski originally began writing his short stories about Geralt of Rivia on the side of his job as a traveling salesman, never imagining that they would turn into an entire series of novels, let alone a popular game and TV series. In a rare interview with Audible, he discussed how he’s used the fantasy subgenre of “retelling” in his novels whereby classic fables or fairy-tales are taken and twisted into new, often darker stories.
Many have commented on the Slavic roots of Sapkowski’s writing and how that region’s long history with fairy-tales and fantastical monsters has shaped The Witcher. This approach grounds The Witcher in stories that feel old, ancient even, while still re-inventing enough to surprise readers.
There are 8 books in total and if you’re as stumped as I was about where to start, here’s a guide to the reading order of The Witcher series:
- The Last Wish
- Sword of Destiny
- Season of Storms (though only published later, it’s often recommended that this book be read third if you want a more chronological read-through of the series).
- Blood of Elves
- Time of Contempt
- Baptism of Fire
- The Tower of the Swallow
- The Lady of the Lake
The first book, The Last Wish, begins with a story familiar to those who have watched the show (no spoilers) but since the series plays quite a bit with the timeline of the narrative, you’re sure to find stories in the books that we haven’t yet seen in Netflix’s adaptation. Whether you’re missing the world of “The Witcher” or just curious about what may come next, the books are definitely worth picking up. Until you do, please enjoy the dulcet tones of Henry Cavill reading an excerpt from one of the books:
“The Witcher” started filming again on August 17th and the second series is slated for release sometime in 2021, though I’m betting on it being late in the year. Just in case you weren’t already frothing for more from the show, a spin-off series has already been announced by Netflix. “The Witcher: Blood Origin” will act as a prequel to the series and will follow the very first witcher. Clearly the world of “The Witcher” is ever-expanding. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see more.
What are you looking forward to seeing “The Witcher” explore more in season 2? Let us know in the comments below.