Potential spoilers for season two of The Witcher
When it debuted back in 2019, The Witcher was revealed to be the most popular show on Netflix. The show, based on the best-selling novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, promised to fill in the void left by Game of Thrones. But despite the star power of Henry Cavill, the show stumbled quite a bit in its first season. Now, after a difficult shoot due to the global pandemic, the show’s sophomore season has wrapped production. The question that now remains is will the show learn from the mistakes of the first season? Let’s break down what the season has to do in order to deliver a great follow-up.
One of the more confusing aspects of the first season was that it wasn’t told in a linear fashion. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, some of the best movies told are not in a non-linear fashion. The problem with The Witcher, however, was that it didn’t make it clear for the audience. The show had three primary stories and each one was told hundreds of years apart from each other. But the editing of the show made it seem like they were happening at the same time. Unless you were paying close attention, many fans were confused when some characters, who had died on screen before, suddenly came back a few episodes later in the fourth episode (halfway through the season), where the show became much more direct about the timelines.
Thankfully, this issue is being resolved for the second season of The Witcher. Showrunner Lauren Schmidt-Hissrich confirmed that the show’s various tales would all take place within the same timeline, that is to say not separated by an untold number of years. That said, the show will still have flashbacks and flashforwards, so time will tell if this remains a messy storytelling technique.
“I think it will be a lot easier for the audience follow and understand, especially a new audience coming in.”
Give Henry Cavill More To Do
While the show’s first season got mixed reviews, there was overall a lot of praise given to Henry Cavill’s portrayal of the titular Witcher, Geralt of Rivia. World-weary, this monster hunter for hire grunts and curses this way through The Continent, just trying to get by. There’s just one thing that’s off about this though.
In the Witcher books, which is the basis for the show (not the popular video game series), Geralt is actually something of a chatterbox. As the protagonist of a series of novels and short stories, having a more reserved and quiet character wouldn’t make for a page-turning series. But in the show The Witcher, he resorts to grunting quite a bit and keeping his dialogue minimal and to the point. I get that he’s incapable of human emotion, but that doesn’t mean he has to be stoic and quiet.
I hope that season two of the show allows Cavill to dive further into Geralt as a character by giving him much more conversations with the many new characters that will join him on screen. Considering some of those characters are fellow Witchers Lambert and Eskel, I hope Geralt will sit down over a drink and actually converse with his colleagues instead of being a mopey Witcher this time around.
The Wild Hunt, A Prominent Threat?
One of the problems of the first season of The Witcher was that it was based entirely on a series of short stories from the novel The Last Wish. As such, there was no clear character arc for Geralt, nor was there a primary antagonist. Sure, Cahir was chasing Ciri throughout the series, but by adapting standalone stories, there was no sense of urgency or danger except for threats lurking in the background or in the other storylines away from Geralt.
This is where some creative freedom is encouraged in order to bring the Netflix series’ main antagonist more into the fold. Mentioned only in passing during the first episode, the Dearg Ruadhr, otherwise known as the Wild Hunt, are the supernatural evil that pursues Ciri throughout the books and, chiefly, the games. The leader of the spectral hunt, Eredin Bréacc Glas, is such an imposing threat for Geralt and his friends that the show would be foolish not to include him in any way. The empire of Nilfgaard is one thing, with its neverending army and the ominous threat of the Emperor himself, but the Wild Hunt presents a supernatural danger to our heroes that extends beyond power and politics.
Thanks to leaked photos, it seems that the Wild Hunt might be showing up this season after all. Whether this is in a flashback, a cutaway scene or as part of the primary plot remains to be seen, but hopefully The Witcher season two is looking to build up Eredin and his band of riders as a credible danger for Ciri, Yennefer and Geralt to contend with, even if that means modifying events from the novels in some way shape or form.
More Sword Fights
If there’s one thing that season one of The Witcher got right, it’s the amazing sword fights. But there weren’t enough of them. In fact, I’d argue that the back-to-back fights he had in the first episode were the high point of the entire season.
I know it’s not exactly easy to work to train, choreograph and perform scenes like this, but the swordsmanship in the first episode is easily the best put on display on the small screen I’d argue. So season two should embrace that and double down on what they did right. The dance of blades, which were realized by the Night King himself, Vladimír Furdík, were way more visceral and entertaining than most of the other fights in the show (especially the CGI fights like the opening moments of the first episode). So while Geralt is a monster hunter, I hope the show can find a way to give him more personal and stylized swordfights to work with in season two.
So that’s our wish list for the second season of The Witcher. Do you think the show needs some tweaking or did Netflix nail it already in the first season? Let us know and be sure to check out our review of Godzilla vs. Kong and why you should be playing Subnautica right now.