'The Witcher' Season 3: Release Date, Cast and More Updates
Season 3 of The Witcher is finally drawing closer, and fans are beginning to seek out the details. The next installment of the Netflix original series is slated to premiere sometime in the summer of 2023. Scroll down for all the updates we've gotten on the production since Season 2 aired last year.
The Witcher Season 3 will be one of Netflix's biggest releases ever – not only is it one of the streamer's most popular shows, this will be the last season to feature Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia. Since Cavill announced that he is leaving the show to be replaced by Liam Hemsworth, interest in the next season has definitely increased. Beyond that, fans of the show are excited to see the next leg of Geralt's journey adapted to the screen.
Before Season 3 premieres, fans will be back on the Witcher's Continent one more time. Netflix has been working on spinoffs including animated films and the upcoming live-action limited series The Witcher: Blood Origin. That will premiere in December in The Witcher's usual timeframe, hopefully holding fans over until Geralt returns in the summer.
Netflix has not set a specific date for Season 3 yet, but those are often tentative anyway. The Witcher: Blood Origin premieres on Dec. 25, 2022. Here's a look at what we know about The Witcher Season 3 so far.
Netflix held one of its TUDUM virtual events on Sept. 24, revealing that The Witcher Season 3 will premiere in the summer of 2023. Cavill himself delivered this news to fans. The series was renewed for a third season in September of 2021 – well before Season 2 even premiered. Judging by social media posts from showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich and others working on the series, work got underway in early January of 2022. However, Hissrich told Digital Spy that some of the writing was already in progress back in November of 2021, so the pre-production phase may move quickly if the writing is taken care of. Filming for The Witcher Season 3 officially began on April 4, 2022, according to a report by Deadline.prevnext
All the main players in The Witcher Saga will be back for Season 3 – Freya Allan as Ciri, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg, Joey Batey as Jaskier and Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia one last time. We know that we'll also see the return of Kim Bodnia as the Witcher Vesemir, Anna Shaffer as the sorceress Triss Merigold and Royce Pierreson as Istredd.
Beyond that, we can safely assume that Bart Edwards will be back as Emhyr, as he was in the Season 2 finale. It also seems safe to assume that we'll see the return of Mimi Ndiweni as Fringilla, Media Simson as Francesa, Mahesh Jadu as Vilgefortz and MyAnna Buring as Tissaia.
Fans are hoping to see more of Cassie Clare as Philippa Eilhart this season, since Philippa is central to the story in the books and video games. She made a brief cameo in Season 2 but has not gotten as much screentime as she will need. There are likely more new characters coming this season as well, and some casting rumors are already making the rounds online.prevnext
Cavill shocked fans by announcing last month that he would be leaving The Witcher after Season 3. Netflix followed up by revealing that the titular role would be taken over by Liam Hemsworth. For days, many fans guessed that this was actually a joke devised for social media attention, but if so it is a long-term prank. At the time of this writing, it seems that Netflix plans to go forward with recasting Geralt in The Witcher Season 4. That means next summer's batch of episodes will be Cavill's last.prevnext
Behind the Scenes
We have a few glimpses behind the scenes on The Witcher thanks to Hissrich and other people on the show's crew. Hissrich made three posts in January showing herself and other writers and producers on the set. They strolled through the woods scouting locations and also worked in lounges and conference rooms to compile what they needed.
To stay up to date on these kinds of behind-the-scenes peeks, follow Hissrich on Instagram and Twitter. It's not a bad idea to follow some of the cast members as well. You can also count on fan sites and forums to find posts from crew members and producers whenever they become relevant. We'll keep this article updated with those as they come to light.prevnext
The Witcher: Blood Origin is a far-flung prequel, but it could impact the emotional weight of the main series in a number of ways. We already got the animated film Nightmare of the Wolf in August, which served as a perfect introduction to Vesemir. Next we'll have Blood Origin – a six-episode live-action limited series set 1,200 years before the events of Geralt's quest. It premieres on Dec. 25, 2022.
Meanwhile, we also have another animated feature film on the way from the same studio that made Nightmare of the Wolf. Finally, Netflix announced a "family-friendly animated Witcher series" in the fall so that younger viewers could get in on the action. These two animated projects do not have release dates yet. Witcher fans will need to be wary as the material begins to come at them from every side at once.prevnext
The Witcher is based on author Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher Saga books and stories, so we can predict what is coming in Season 3 to some extent. However, Season 2 deviated further from the books, so there's no guarantee that we will get the same story here. Take these potential spoilers with a grain of salt.
Season 2 essentially finished out the material in the first three Witcher books, which are short story collections, as well as the first novel Blood of Elves. Season 3 will consist mainly of material from the second novel Time of Contempt, which is about Yennefer, Ciri and Geralt traveling to Aretuza together where they witness a coup. They are separated in the chaos.
The shape and scope of that journey could change drastically in the adaptation, and it may focus on different aspects of the characters' feelings than the books did. For example, Hissrich told Digital Spy that Season 3 will deal with Ciri's newfound apocalyptic destiny quite a bit as she grapples with that new role. Meanwhile, Cavill told Netflix's Geek'd channel that Geralt and Yennefer's relationship will face a slow recovery as they travel together.
"It's a fairly extreme set of circumstances to come back from. It's a tough one to forgive, it's going to take some real work. The true development of Geralt this season is him being able to recognize that he can't do this himself," he said. In the same panel, Chalotra said that things will be just as difficult for Yennefer.
"It's habitual, isn't it: she's cowled, and she's lived the kind of life she's lived with all the rules she lives by, and that's Yen and she don't trust nobody. She might've learned to consider things more [...] and it's going to be really hard to just delve into a new way of being," she said.prevnext
Differences From the Books
Fans were very divided over Season 2 and how it differed from Sapkowski's books. Hissrich was surprisingly active online and willing to discuss those creative choices with fans. She continued that transparency in discussing Season 3 in an interview with The Wrap. She seemed to suggest that Season 3 will actually steer the course back towards the books a bit – not to appease critics necessarily, just because the adaptation allows it here.
"It's based on The Time of Contempt, and that actually to me is a very easily adaptable book," she said. "There's tons of action, there's tons of things that are just jaw-dropping when you get to them. So we're really letting that lead our storytelling. Season three, for instance, takes place on a very, very small timeline. Not a lot of time passes, because it doesn't need to."
"I have always said that I want to end our stories at the same place that Andrzej Sapkowski ended his," Hissrich continued. "I just don't feel the need for us to keep creating stories after his intentional end. The funny thing is, of course, since we have been working on the series, he's actually released two new books. We're trying to be a little flexible with it."
"I've always said that I will write the show as long as there is an interest in the show. Right now, that interest seems to be great. But some of that also is through some of the additional universe that we're expanding. So through the anime films, or through the spinoff that just finished production, those are ways for us to continue telling Sapkowski's stories without taking the attention away from the main storytelling of the mothership," she concluded.prevnext
How Much Longer?
Finally, some fans wonder about how much longer The Witcher franchise can keep up this pace – especially at Netflix where heartbreaking cancellations are common. Therefore, it's encouraging to see that The Witcher Season 2 got 142.4 million viewing hours in its first three days after release. That seems to bode well for the series.
There's also the question of the source material. The first two seasons essentially burned through four books, but since three of those were short story collections it makes sense that they needed to be condensed and reworked. From the sound of it, Season 3 will draw mostly on a single novel, Time of Contempt. If the show continues to adapt one novel for each season, we will be looking at an eight-season series by the end. Of course, things can always change in the process.
The Witcher Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now on Netflix along with The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. The Witcher: Blood Origins is coming on Christmas Day, while The Witcher Season 3 will follow in the summer of 2023. Check back here for updates as they become available.prev