The Witcher season 2 release date, trailer, cast and everything we know so far

Anya Chalotra, Henry Cavill and Freya Allan, who return for The Witcher season 2
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Witcher season 2 is here, and fans already have reason to be up in arms. Yes, The Witcher season 2 changes a major character in ways that fans aren't pleased with at all.

It's been a long wait for fans, who've had to subsist on occasional teasers, trailers and other treats tossed their way — like the full-length Witcher season 2 trailer that dropped last month. But their patience will be amply rewarded, as indicated by positive Witcher season 2 reviews

The Witcher is based on the book and short stories by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, as well as the video game adaptations. Henry Cavill stars as Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, and the show also follows the sorceress Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) and princess-on-the-run Ciri (Freya Allan). 

At the end of the first season, Geralt and Ciri teamed up. In The Witcher season 2, Geralt will help Ciri train her mysterious powers. And while Yennefer seemed to be in dire straits, she's much too powerful to be down for long.

Here’s everything we know about The Witcher season 2 including its release date, cast, plot, and more.

The Witcher season 2 latest news (updated Dec. 20)

The Witcher season 2 release date on Netflix

The Witcher season 2 premiered on December 17, 2021, which was announced at the WitcherCon live stream on July 9. 

Netflix renewed the series for a second season in November 2019 — before the first season had even premiered. The eight-episode season began production in early 2020 in London for a planned debut in 2021. But all of that was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Witcher season 2, along with most film and TV productions, was put on hold. But filming resumed in August, following health and safety protocols.

The Witcher season 2 trailer and clips

Everything's going wild and hairy in the first Witcher season 2 trailer, which (appropriately) samples Kanye West's "Monster." But what happens when everybody knows you're a monster? We've got some teases of big fight scenes with Geralt, flaming humans, Ciri's continued training and even more Jaskier (who's made new friends).

This clip that debuted at TUDUM shows how Geralt's working overtime to protect Ciri, as there's a Bruxa in the house.

In another new clip, we met Nivellen (Kristofer Hivju), who is described as "an old friend of Geralt's with a BIG secret."

As part of WitcherCon on July 9, the first teaser trailer for Witcher season 2 dropped. The two-minute video begins with Ciri asking Geralt, "I'm your destiny?" It follows the pair as they arrive at Kaer Morhen, where Geralt begins training the princess. Danger nips at their heels, and he must do everything he can to protect her while she discovers her power and purpose.

If you squint in that trailer, and pause around 33 seconds in, you'll see the four new Witchers coming to the series: Coen (Yasen Atour), Eskel (Basil Eidenbenz), Lambert (Paul Bullion) and Vesemir (Kim Bodnia).

a The Witcher season 2 teaser trailer freeze-frame with Vesemir, Lambert, Coen and Eskel

(Image credit: Netflix)

Previously, Netflix's Geeked Week gave us a very brief teaser trailer for The Witcher season 2.

In this footage, if you slow it down, you'll see Ciri training in the woods, basking in the glow of a fire, riding a horse and holding a sword. Elder Speech notations, a dagger, a bloody carcass and a garment with a lion design also appear.

To mark the conclusion of The Witcher season 2 filming, the show released a behind-the-scenes teaser video hosted by showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. She outlined just how big season 2 will be — the crew of 1,200 people and 89 cast members spent 158 days shooting. 

Hissrich also revealed that season 2 adapts Blood of Elves, the first full-length Witcher book. Blood of Elves chronicles Geralt's training time with Ciri at Kaer Morhen.

When is the full-length Witcher season 2 trailer coming? With a December 17 release, something about September/October makes some sense to us.

The Witcher season 2 cast

Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra and Freya Allan are all confirmed to return as the three main characters Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri.

Also confirmed to reprise their roles are:

  • Joey Batey as traveling bard Jaskier
  • MyAnna Buring as sorceress Tissaia de Vries, mentor to Yennefer
  • Anna Shaffer as the court mage Triss Merigold
  • Eamon Farron as Nilfgaard army commander Cahir
  • Tom Canton as Filavandrel, king of the elves
  • Mimi Ndiweni as Fringilla Vigo, a sorceress who allies with the Nilfgaard
  • Lilly Cooper as Murta
  • Jeremy Crawford as Yarpin Zigrin
  • Mahesh Jadu as Vilgefortz
  • Terence Maynard as Artorius
  • Lars Mikkelson as Stregobor
  • Royce Pierreson as Istredd
  • Wilson Radjou-Pujaltes Dara
  • Therica Wilson Read as Sabrina

As for new cast members, Hissrich teased on Reddit that, "There’s a whole new set of fun characters coming in S2." That includes LGTBQ+ characters. "One of my favorite things about the books is that they are full of subversion," Hissrich said. "Yes, we’re gonna represent." 

Netflix revealed some of those new cast members on Twitter on Feb. 21: Yasen Atour as Coen Agnes; Bjorn as Vereena; Paul Bullion as Lambert; Kristofer Hivju as Nivellen; Thue Ersted Rasmussen as Eskel; Aisha Fabienne Ross as Lydia; Mecia Simson as Francesca.

Oh, and about Rasmussen's portrayal of Eskel? The Witcher season 2 changed him so much from the books and games that fans are already upset.

Fans will be especially excited to see Nivellen, a man cursed to turn into a beast who comes across Geralt in Sapkowski’s short story "A Grain of Truth." The character will be played by Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund Giantsbane in Game of Thrones.

Netflix also announced new cast member Kim Bodnia. This casting is great for fans of Killing Eve, but it's a bit of a downer for those who clamored for Star Wars legend Mark Hamill to play Vesemir. 

Recently, Netflix revealed seven more cast members for The Witcher season 2. Here's the list and character descriptions, if the role is taken from the books"

  • Adjoa Andoh (Bridgerton) as Nenneke, the priestess of Melitele, and the head of the Temple of Melitele.
  • Cassie Clare (Brave New World) as Philippa Eilhart, an advisor to Redania’s King Vizimir II and leader of the Lodge of Sorceresses.
  • Liz Carr (Devs) as Fenn, a partner in a law firm and detective agency in Dorian.
  • Simon Callow (Four Weddings and a Funeral) as Codringher, Fenn's partner.
  • Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey) as Ba’lian, a new character.
  • Chris Fulton (Bridgerton) as Rience, a mage who was instructed to find Ciri after she disappeared during the slaughter of Cintra.
  • Graham McTavish (Outlander) as Dijkstra, a master spy and head of special forces for the kingdom of Redania.

The fan site Redanian Intelligence reported that Alexander Squires and James Baxter have been cast as young Geralt and Vesemir, respectively. Tristan Ruggeri previously played a child Geralt in season 1, but Squires will be a slightly older version in season 2 flashbacks.

The Witcher season 2 photos

A pair of new photos released by Netflix show off Jaskier having a belter of a musical number, and Ciri training with Lambert.

Oh, and the hunt is on! Leaked photos from The Witcher season 2 set reveal that the show is filming the Wild Hunt.

The Wild Hunt in The Witcher Season 2

(Image credit: MEGA)

The Daily Mail got the images, which seem to depict the Red Riders, some of the most fearsome enemies in the entire Witcher lore. The Wild Hunt takes place in Andrzej Sapkowski's second Witcher book, Time of Contempt.

Wild Hunt photos on set of The Witcher Season 2

(Image credit: MEGA)

The Witcher season 2 Henry Cavill photos

While Netflix has yet to release a trailer, the streamer did unveil a couple of images of Geralt in some brand-new armor. The first one is more of a close-up of the back of Geralt's head:

Geralt from behind in a preview image of The Witcher Season 2

(Image credit: Jay Maidment)

The second one is, as they say, quite a thirst trap.

Geralt in new armor in a preview image of The Witcher Season 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

The show also posted images of Ciri, seemingly learning how to fight under Geralt's tutelage. "Looks like somebody has been spending time with a witcher," the caption reads on Instagram. On Twitter, the post reads: "She gave tearful goodbyes on a most violent night. Now this child of surprise is preparing to fight."

Netflix also shared two photos of Yennefer, assuring fans, "Fear not, she's out there somewhere." That may be, but her face is bloody and her hands are tied up." 

On Twitter, the show teased, "She used her full might, and the battlefield burned. Then she vanished from sight, But Yen will return."

Fear not, she's out there somewhere. The Witcher

A photo posted by @witchernetflix on Oct 7, 2020 at 5:00am PDT

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The Witcher season 2 plot

The Witcher season 2 will pick up where season 1 left: after Geralt and Ciri finally met.

Season 1 juggled a few different timelines. In the "past," Geralt and Yennefer crossed paths several times (and engaged in a torrid romance), all while Geralt knew Ciri was his "destiny" — even if they didn’t meet until the finale. 

That finale also featured the Battle of Sodden Hill, in which Yennefer unleashed a massive force of magical power against the invading Nilfgaardian army — and then disappeared. 

According to Netflix's official synopsis of season 2, "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."

Season 2 will also see Geralt help Ciri train in her mysterious powers. As for Yennefer, her status is unclear, but it’s safe to say she’ll reappear somehow, but she’ll be dealing with the aftermath of the battle.

"She took a big risk at the end with that firepower, and it doesn't work out so well for her," Hissrich told Business Insider.

As for the destined-to-meet duo, the showrunner teased, "You'll get to know where [Geralt] came from and why he is the person he is in season 1." Meanwhile, Ciri is "not looking backwards anymore or looking back at her family in Cintra anymore. She's trying to build a new family."

Hissrich has said that season 2 will draw from Sapkowski’s novel Blood of Elves, as well as unused parts of the stories in The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny.

In her Reddit AMA, the showrunner explained, “We’re approaching S2 in a similar way we did with S1: what are the stories Sapkowski was telling, and why? What building blocks do we need to set up future stories? Is there anything we missed from S1 that we want to include? And what will work on television? For instance — no one wants to see Triss have diarrhea for three episodes. So what are we trying to glean from that in the books, and how do we present that onscreen?”

One thing some viewers may feel relief over is that season 2’s storytelling will be more linear, with much less timeline-jumping, though Hissrich said, “We'll continue to use flashbacks when we need it, or other devices."

(For anyone who remains confused about when certain events happened, check out Netflix’s interactive Witcher map and timeline, which also contains a secret message in the Elder language that translates to, "When something ends, something begins.")

That map will expand and get more detailed as the show explores more of the mythology, history, culture, and politics. "We decided to save some tidbits of witcher lore until… you actually meet more witchers," Hissrich teased. 

Another area the show will delve into is Nilfgaard, the powerful empire that attempts to invade Cintra in season 1. 

"We felt like we needed to set up a 'bad guy' in S1 — but it’s our hope that we've added enough layers to Cahir and Fringilla that the audience thinks 'Wait, but THEY don’t seem insane. So what do they see in Nilfgaard? Maybe there's more there than meets the eye?'" Hissrich said. 

"Perhaps we didn’t go far enough in S1, to see more behind Nilfgaard's curtain — but it will definitely be explored more thoroughly in S2."

The Witcher season 2 spinoff movie

Before The Witcher season 2 premieres, fans may get a treat in the form of a Witcher anime movie. Netflix announced that an animated spinoff film is in the works from Hissrich and writer Beau DeMayo. Learn more about The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf.

The Witcher season 2 soundtrack

Count us among fans who are excited to listen to The Witcher season 2 soundtrack because season 1's soundtrack was so good. The track list runs 55 songs long (!) and includes the single "Toss a Coin."

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.