Netflix has suspended production on Season 2 of The Witcher, which is currently filming in the UK, for two weeks amid growing concern over the coronavirus outbreak. The series has become the first Netflix original in the UK to be impacted by COVID-19, with fellow Netflix originals such as The Crown continuing on with production.
"Cast and crew health is our primary concern. We are dealing with an unprecedented global pandemic that is beyond our control, and in many instances with mandates or restrictions imposed by governments (including travel restrictions in many countries)," an email sent to the production team Sunday night read, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "As such, we have made the decision, effective immediately, to pause production for 2 weeks during this difficult time, and we will support our production partners working on Netflix U.K. scripted series in doing the same. This will allow everyone the time to make informed decisions about how to move forward."
"The coronavirus has raised challenging issues for everyone working on set on productions for Netflix," it added. "We are very grateful for all the work everyone has done to keep cast and crew safe during this pandemic."
The Henry Cavill-starring fantasy series, an adaptation of the bestselling medieval book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, began production on its second season last month and is currently slated to release new episodes in 2021. During the production hiatus, it is believed that cast and crew will continue to be paid.
The pause in production comes after Netflix confirmed just last week that it would be halting production for at least two weeks on all of its scripted series and films that film in the United States and Canada. According to Entertainment Weekly, the streaming service made the decision "due to government restrictions and health/safety precautions."
The move impacts a number of series currently filming, including Stranger Things Season 4 and Grace and Frankie. Given the CDC's recent recommendation that gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled or postponed for at least eight more weeks, it is unclear if the production hiatus will be extended.
Netflix is just one of many streaming in the entertainment business to be impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak. Disney has also confirmed that it will be halting production on a number of its titles.0comments
In a statement obtained by The Verge, the company explained that "while there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our productions, after considering the current environment and the best interests of our cast and crew, we have made the decision to pause production on some of our live-action films for a short time."
Among the titles affected are the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan & Wendy, a new sequel to Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, The Last Duel, Guillermo Del Toro's Nightmare Alley, and the Home Alone reboot.