Almost immediately after The Witcher season 2 arrived, the next stage of the Witcher release cycle started up: eagerly awaiting The Witcher season 3. As of April 2022, the new season has thankfully started filming.
Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich said the writers’ room finished scripting the third season in December 2021, and now with the cast filming the third season, new episodes could be here soon. While there’s no release date for either The Witcher season 3, the franchise so far has favored December releases.
The latest season ended on more than a few serious cliffhangers, with familial connections finally made between Geralt (Henry Cavill), Yen (Anya Charlota), 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, and certainly can’t get here fast enough.
Netflix’s third season joins a few spinoffs also in the works, including 2022’s The Witcher: Blood Origin, starring Everything Everywhere All at Once star Michelle Yeoh. While that show also has no release date (yet), it’ll no doubt inform the growing lore of The Witcher’s show universe.
And alongside Netflix’s newly released synopsis for the upcoming season, 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.
Elves abound, in both season 3 and Blood Origin
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 elven plotting is also key to the new Netflix spinoff coming in 2022, The Witcher: Blood Origin. Schmidt Hissrich says Istredd was “really helpful to put a voice to the things we needed our audience to understand” in season 2, and that his and Geralt’s conversation about monoliths — and how there’s “more to the Conjunction of the Spheres” than we once thought — will “all be laid into Blood Origin.”
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.