Almost immediately after The Witcher season 2 arrived, the next stage of the Witcher release cycle started up: eagerly awaiting The Witcher season 3. Most importantly, we finally know when season 3 will be released. Part one of the season is set for release on June 29, while part two is set for July 27.
Season 2 ended on more than a few serious cliffhangers, with familial connections finally made between Geralt (Henry Cavill), Yen (Anya Chalotra), and Ciri (Freya Allan), and the three of them working together to get Ciri’s powers under control. Given the number of people who seek to control or kill her — including, but not limited to, the elves, Nilfgaard’s White Flame, and the council of mages — season 3 leaves them with a lot of ground to cover.
Since the second season, Netflix has released a few spinoffs for the Witcher series, including last year’s The Witcher: Blood Origin, starring Everything Everywhere All at Once star Michelle Yeoh. Netflix also previously released the animated movie Nightmare of the Wolf.
Hanging over season 3 of The Witcher will also be some larger metatextual facts, such as the fact that Henry Cavill will leave the series after this season — and be replaced by Liam Hemsworth. Perhaps one of the biggest questions that season 3 will have to answer is why this switch is happening (at least in the universe of the show) and why Geralt will soon look very different than he once did.
And alongside Netflix’s newly released synopsis for the upcoming season, creator Lauren Schmidt-Hissrich has already confirmed a number of elements that will be part of season 3. The season will be largely based on her favorite book of the Witcher saga, The Time of Contempt. Here’s everything else we know about what The Witcher season 3 will bring:
Geralt and Yen will be… co-parenting?
According to the brief plot summary released by Netflix at the beginning of April, the new season will see Geralt taking Ciri into hiding, determined to protect her against the “monarchs, mages, and beasts of the Continent” who are competing to capture her.
After kidnapping and returning Ciri, Yennefer did her best to aid the fight and redeem herself in Geralt’s eyes. Geralt doesn’t go as far as to forgive her for nearly killing herself to save Ciri from Voleth Meir, but he does acknowledge that Yen seems to be the only one who can help raise Ciri. And so in season 3, she’ll bring them to the protected fortress of Aretuza, where “she hopes to discover more about the girl’s untapped powers.”
“It’s a fairly extreme set of circumstances to come back from,” Cavill told Netflix’s Geeked channel after the premiere, “it’s a tough one to forgive, it’s going to take some real work.” But it’s something the pair will certainly have to work on in season 3; as Geralt himself notes, Ciri might be the missing element from his and Yen’s relationship. “The true development of Geralt this season,” Cavill said, “is him being able to recognize that he can’t do this himself.”
Yen will almost certainly have new things to learn as well, since life with Ciri and Geralt is a far cry from her usual machinations. “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,” Chalotra told Netflix of her character’s next steps. “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.”
Of course, that awakening will be complicated by the trouble chasing after Ciri. Per Netflix’s plot summary:
[The trio] discover they’ve landed in a battlefield of political corruption, dark magic, and treachery. They must fight back, put everything on the line — or risk losing each other forever.
No doubt everyone’s favorite bard Jaskier (Joey Batey) will be involved at some point, although we can’t say how exactly yet. But as Batey notes of his character, “I think we have to assume he’s going to be fairly constantly in trouble — no matter what, no matter who he’s hanging out with.
More Elves and warfare in season 3
Although season 2 is based on the Blood of Elves book from Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher books, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich notes that the season’s concentration on elves was actually a departure from the template of the book.
“I know that in season 3 we’re introducing the Scoia’tael, the army of elves that’s fighting on behalf of Nilfgaard. And they don’t come off so great; it’s a pretty harsh, dark storyline,” Schmidt Hissrich told Polygon in December. “So I want to make sure that we understood and humanized their part of the battle … even if they lose their way along the way.”
Speaking of the Scoia’tael, a Netflix Geeked tweet gave us a preview of one of the army’s leader, Gallatin. Gallatin leads “an army of guerrilla Scoia’tael fighting on behalf of Nilfgaard.” This character is a creation just for the show and will be played by Robbie Amell (Upload).
The Wild Hunt are coming
While not introduced in the book series until The Time of Contempt, the Wild Hunt start to take shape in season 2, riding towards Ciri and claiming she belongs to them.
Schmidt Hissrich acknowledges they’ve been laying the groundwork for the Wraiths of Mörhogg to finally appear, building them from mere “ghosts in the sky” that only some believe in to spectral villains.
“When they [The Wild Hunt] tease that Ciri belongs to them, what we’re hopefully going to lead viewers to believe is there’s a lot more history of Ciri herself,” Schmidt Hissrich says. “Her lineage, her bloodline, things we know now that Calanthe has hid from her, perhaps some connections to Lara Dorren that we have teased this season as well. So all of that is going to come out in the wash next season.”
The big reveal about Nilfgaard’s White Flame
In the final moments of season 2 we saw that Ehmyr, the White Flame of Nilfgaard, better known to viewers as Duny, is Ciri’s long-lost (and presumed dead) father. It’s a reveal that Schmidt Hissrich says the writers room was split on, but ultimately the decision to divulge his dual identities was “more logistical than anything else.”
“I don’t think [Nilfgaard thinks] of themselves as evil; they think they’re doing the right thing,” Schmidt Hissrich told Netflix Geeked in December. “We really wanted to start to understand the Nilfgaardian empire and there’s no way to understand it without digging into Ehmyr a little more.”
Plus, as Batey put it on Netflix’s Geeked channel: “That gets revealed in the books right at the end. And there’s no way we could’ve kept that secret for longer than two seasons.”
Introducing the character’s full backstory now means important players get a chance to respond to it, unlike in the books. That may leave new narrative opportunities for Ehmyr’s motives, and revelations about what he’s been up to in between leaving Cintra and ruling Nilfgaard. “Pavetta died, Duny did not,” Schmidt Hissrich notes, “and Duny had to start to form a new plan, with a new partner.” More on that in season 3.
Season 3 will bring plenty of new characters
Netflix has also announced a few new characters and cast members, who we don’t know much about yet. First there’s Milva (Meng’er Zhang), who is described as a “fierce and talented huntress; those that cross her, do so at their own peril.” Milva is a character from the books who plays an important role in Time for Contempt, but Netflix is keeping the specifics hidden from the show’s fans for now.
The series will also introduce Radovid (Hugh Skinner) this season, who is a “royal playboy and the younger brother of King Vizimir.” This marks a slight change from the books, where Radovid is the King of Redania’s son, rather than his brother. Finally, the series has also found its Mistle (Christelle Elwin), who is a member of a gang called The Rats. The Rats are a band of teenagers who steal from the rich for their own personal gain ... mostly.
Will Henry Cavill be back after season 3?
Nope. Apparently, season 3 will be the last season that Henry Cavill will appear as Geralt. Replacing him will be Liam Hemsworth. It’s not exactly clear when the swap will happen — if it will be in the middle of season 3 or simply happen at the beginning of season 4 — but we do know that it’s time to say goodbye to the Geralt everyone loves.
How will The Witcher season 3 be divided?
The Witcher season 3 will be divided into two parts, as Netflix’s biggest shows so often are. Part 1 will be five episodes, and part 2 will have episodes 6-8, and they’ll come out about a month apart from each other.
When will The Witcher season 3 come out?
The first part will premiere on Netflix on June 29, while part 2 is set for release on July 27.