Entertainment

Everything We Know About 'The Witcher' Season 2

Toss a coin to your favorite Netflix monster hunter.

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

Whether you were a gamer, a book reader, or simply a lover of convoluted high fantasy television, chances are you, along with apparently 76 million other people (according to Netflix’s mighty suspicious new ratings report), deeply enjoyed the first season of The Witcher, the streaming service’s first big-budget fantasy series. Based on the Polish book series by Andrzej Sapkowski, which inspired three video games of increasing quality, Netflix’s¬†The Witcher¬†starred Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, a travelling monster hunter who spends his days just trying to make a living in a scary, bizarre world. Relatable. Eight episodes of something like this is simply not enough to slake our thirst for burly armed creature beheadings and intricate magical politics, so for those of you searching the four winds for any hint of more, we’ve got you covered.

Has The Witcher been renewed for Season 2?

Yes! The show was actually renewed before the first season even aired¬†in December 2019. Considering it’s one of Netflix’s most-watched shows¬†ever, it seemed like a no-brainer. Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich will return to helm the second season, which also rules because it’s not every day we get to see high-budget fantasy TV directed by women!

When is Season 2 coming?

Netflix started filming Season 2 in London early in 2020, with a planned release sometime in 2021. However, like pretty much every other show and movie out there, production has been delayed because of the coronavirus-one new member of the cast, Kristofer Hivju, actually tested positive. The Witcher had to shut down production back in March 2020, but, luckily, the show’s official Twitter account announced (in character as a certain fan favourite bard) that they’d officially start back up again on August 17, 2020.

To pass the time in quarantine, all the extremely bored members of the cast and crew had been tagging each other in the “Great Witcher Bake Off,” forcing their costars to bake bread or cake and post it online. It all started with the show’s casting director Sophie Holland, who posted a brag on her Twitter of her delicious-looking bread and tagged new cast member Paul Bullion, who kicked it up a notch with some cinnamon rolls in response and a video of the process that is honestly sick. There’s a sword involved.¬†Next, Paul Bullion, who plays the King of the Elves, tapped himself in with an incredible beef Wellington, Jeremy Crawford responded with a dwarven apple pie and an axe (he plays dwarf warrior Yarpen Zigrin), Adele Oni (Zerrikanian warrior T√©a) made chili-chocolate bites with a sword, and it kept going from there. Joey Batey, who plays the bard Jaskier, made a YouTube channel and uploaded an extremely chaotic video wherein he “tries” to bake a cake. You did your best.¬†Henry Cavill, on the other hand, has been busy making “isolation meals” and painting Warhammer figurines¬†and building a custom PC gamer rig like a nerd while waiting out his quarantine.

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

Who will be in it?

We can expect everyone alive at the end of Season 1 to be back-this includes Henry Cavill; Anya Chalotra, who plays the sorceress Yennefer; and Freya Allan, who plays Ciri. Oh, and Geralt’s bard buddy Jaskier (Joey Batey), of “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” fame, will return as well, hopefully with more bangers to share with the world.

Aside from the core cast, a bunch of secondary humans and sorcerers will return as well, including Lars Mikkelsen as the scheming warlock Stregobor and MyAnna Buring as head sorceress Tissaia. Also returning are Tom Canton as the elf Filavandrel, Lilly Cooper as Murta, Jeremy Crawford as dragon hunter Yarpen Zigrin, Eamon Farren as the terrifying black knight Cahir, Mahesh Jadu as Vilgefortz, Terence Maynard as Artorius, Mimi Ndiweni as Fringilla Vigo, Royce Pierreson as Istredd, Wilson Radjou-Pujalte as Dara, Anna Shaffer as the sorceress Triss Merigold, and Therica Wilson Read as Sabrina.

But that’s not all: The new members of the cast have been announced, and you may recognize one very, very familiar face. Kristofer Hivju, who played the wildling Tormund Giantsbane in Game of Thrones, is arriving on the Continent, and will be playing a character named Nivellen, whose story in the books is modelled after the fairytale of Beauty and the Beast. Killing Eve fans will be thrilled to see Kim Bodnia appear in the new season as Vesemir, a fellow witcher and mentor to Geralt. We’ll also be seeing¬†Yasen Atour¬†as Coen, Agnes Bjorn as Vereena, Paul Bullion (Billy Kitchen on Peaky Blinders) as Lambert, Thue Ersted Rasmussen as Eskel, Aisha Fabienne Ross¬†as Lydia, and newcomer¬†Mecia Simson as Francesca.

Bridgerton‘s Adjoa Andoh has also been cast as the priestess Nenneke, a sort of motherly figure towards Geralt and Jaskier;¬†Cassie Clare as Phillippa Eilhart, a sorceress who can transform into an owl; Liz Carr (The OA, Devs) as a gender-flipped Jacob Fenn, a mysterious legal expert, and Simon Callow as Fenn’s accomplice Codringher; Graham McTavish (The Hobbit, Outlander) as Dijkstra, a spy and head of Redanian Intelligence; Kevin Doyle as Ba’lian; and Chris Fulton as Rience, a mage tasked with hunting down Ciri.

Will the timelines be all jumbled up again?

Probably not. The first season of the show was based on the first two books in the Witcher series, The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, which are actually not in the main series, but collections of short stories that show the characters’ backstories. Elements from these books were taken to adapt the show, but now that [SPOILER ALERT] Geralt and Ciri have finally found each other, it’s likely that the show may start hewing closer to the main series.

Showrunner Hissrich even confirmed to The Wrap that Season 2 will be a lot more linear: “What we’ll see in Season 2 is that all of our characters are existing on the same timeline. What that allows us to do storywise though is to play with time in slightly different ways. We get to do flashbacks, we get to do flash-forwards, we get to actually integrate time in a completely different way that we weren’t able to do in Season 1.”

Which book(s) will Season 2 be based on?

Netflix hasn’t announced as much, but with all the characters having converged by the end of the first season, it’s likely that Season 2 will draw from the next book, which is Blood of Elves-officially the first book in The Witcher Saga. You can almost think of Season 1 as a kind of prequel series, while in Season 2 we’ll finally get the ball rolling on what is up with Ciri and her powerful screams.

How many times will Geralt say “Hmm”?

A lot of times.

Is there anything else Witcher-related out there so that I don’t go nuts waiting for Season 2?

There will be! Netflix also announced that it has commissioned a Witcher anime film¬†from Schmidt Hissrich and show writer Beau DeMayo, with animation from Studio Mir, the Korean studio that worked on The Legend of Korra and Voltron: Legendary Defender. We don’t know what it will be about, though, or whether the show’s main cast will voice any of the characters, but if any fantasy series is suited to the anime treatment, it’s The Witcher.

Netflix has also announced a Witcher prequel miniseries, The Witcher: Blood Origin, which will depict the beginnings of the very first Witcher, during the catastrophic Conjunction of the Spheres which brought elves, magic, and monsters into the world of humans.

There’s also been a steady stream of Witcher content popping up on Netflix’s YouTube channel for the past few months, from Joey Batey reading passages from the Witcher books to Henry Cavill talking about all of his swords. It’s like they know all we want is more Witcher.

Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.

Entertainment

Why the Shocking Twist in 'Bodies Bodies Bodies' Is So Killer

The A24 horror-comedy has a lot to say about how logged on we are today.

A24
A24
A24

This story contains spoilers about the ending of¬†Bodies, Bodies, Bodies.Even if you’ve tried to game the TikTok algorithm to feed you videos from #fashiontok, #foodtok, or whatever else you might be interested in, when you open the app, you tend to be inundated with a whole lot of discourse. In many ways, it’s incredible how attuned young people are in knowing who they are and how comfortable they are having frank conversations. But in other ways, sometimes it can feel like quick-hit platforms have a tendency to deduce real issues or strip things of their meanings-whether that’s teens self-diagnosing themselves with mental illness, or people labelling musicians as “female or male manipulator artists” without ever listening to their music.

A24’s latest horror comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies (out now in theatres) about a group of 20-somethings partying during a hurricane that turns into a hunt for a killer is like a movie downloaded from the current millennial-Gen-Z cusp moment of the internet we’re in. When the trailer for the movie directed by Halina Reijn and written by Sarah DeLappe, based on a story from “Cat Person” author Kristen Roupenian, dropped earlier this year, it made that very clear. In just over a minute and a half, we hear the cast of cool girl breakouts yelling, “You’re always gaslighting me,” “you fucking trigger me,” “you’re so toxic,” and “you’re silencing me.” Even the movie’s tagline is, “This is not a safe space.”

Bodies Bodies Bodies is very much logged onto millennial/Gen Z social media-isms throughout, from lines hilariously pieced together by the Twitter zeitgeist to scenes featuring TikTok dances. The movie operates on a delectable kind of slasher-movie paranoia, making the audience just as unsure as the slumber party gone wrong with who is killing them off left and right. But given how much of a playful satire it is of contemporary youth culture, it ends up being a twist that feels all but inevitable, and couldn’t be more razor-blade sharp.

A24
A24
A24

Once the torrential downpour stops and the sun comes up, it seems as if Maria Bakalova‘s Bee is about to be our Bodies Bodies Bodies final girl, now that she’s realized how much her relationship with Sophia (Amandla Stenberg) is based on lies. As a test to see how easily Sophie can lie-and therefore deny killing all of her friends from midnight until dawn-Bee asks her if she cheated on her with Myha’la Herrold’s Jordan. It’s a fact that Bee already knows to be true, considering she came across a pair of panties in Sophie’s car that matched a bra she noticed in Jordan’s bag. When Sophie denies it, Bee tries to take her phone (which Jordan admitted would have texts about their recent hook-up on it), and the two start fighting outside in the remnants of the storm. Bee eventually pulls a phone out of the mud, and it looks like the WiFi and cell phone service that was gone all night is finally back. Thinking she’ll pull up the evidence she needs-and confirmation to get the hell out of there-she’s surprised when Sophie says, “That’s not my phone,” and even more surprised to see what’s on it.

It turns out that it belongs to David, Pete Davidson’s coked-out rich kid character whose parents’ house they’re partying at and was the first one to die in the movie. They know it’s David’s phone because it opens to a TikTok, soundtracked by the lockdown classic TikTok song “Bored In The House” by Curtis Roach and Tyga, that shows him waving around his dad’s decorative but very real sword (!) to try to open a champagne bottle (!), idiotically waving it towards himself, only to slice right into his own neck. As it turns out, nobody killed David-not an intruder, not Jordan, not Sophie, not Alice’s (Rachel Sennott) older boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace) she knew nothing about (except for the fact that he was a Libra moon), and not their friend Max (Conner O’Malley) who left early the night before. David accidentally killed himself, and hysteria is what killed everybody else. You could say that it’s almost predictable that it turns out to be a clout-chasing TikTok that led to the movie’s murderous spiral of events. Although, that would undercut what Reijn and DeLappe are trying to say with the darkly funny movie with an especially dark, funny twist. Like TikTok or Twitter, the movie is a constant feed of discourse, buzzwords, and blanket statements that snarkily laugh at and with its ensemble. There are many moments in particular that drive this home-like Alice trying to be sympathetic in talking about mental health, only to make the conversation about her, and David ridiculing his girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders) for getting all of her thoughts from Twitter after she says he “gaslights” her. On top of that, David picks up the sword and tries to go viral to begin with because his masculinity felt threatened by Greg, who did the trick in the first place.

While it would be downright terrifying if a party with people who are supposedly your best friends turned into a slasher flick, in Bodies Bodies Bodies, the horror isn’t a vengeful or heartless killer. Everybody may become a psychopath of sorts when they feel physically threatened or legitimately toxic name-calling and backstabbing ensues, but Bodies Bodies Bodies and its devilish twist is about the humour and horror in the devoid way we can use social media today more than anything else. Like Sophie and Bee’s terrified realization at the end, it makes you want to log off for awhile‚Ķ right after you post a 100K-worthy tweet about it.

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Sadie Bell is the entertainment associate editor at Thrillist. She’s on Twitter and Instagram.

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