The Witcher season 3 has officially started filming, so it's one step closer to arriving on our screens. We still don't have an official release date, but now that production is underway we have a better idea of when the series might return to Netflix. There's an official plot summary for the new season now, too, which you can read below.
As well as those details, we've also got the lowdown on returning cast members and characters, some quotes from showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, and our best estimate as to when we might get a trailer. Plus, we've got a round-up of plot details that might crop up from the source material (but we've avoided book spoilers, don't worry). So, for all that and more, keep reading to find out everything we know so far about The Witcher season 3 in our ultimate guide to the hit video game adaptation.
The Witcher season 3 release date could be 2023
The Witcher season 3 release date hasn’t yet been announced, but The Witcher and The Witcher season 2 landed on Netflix in December 2019 and December 2021 respectively. A pattern has been set and, with prequel Blood Origin confirmed for a 2022 release window, it’s fairly likely that Geralt’s next live-action adventure will come in 2023.
For reference, the second season’s production – which was halted by COVID shutdowns and an injury to lead Henry Cavill – began in February 2020 and ran until April 2021. The first season was far less spotty in its schedule, lasting from October 2018 to May 2019, before launching seven months later in December 2019.
The Witcher season 3 cast: who’s likely to return
The Witcher season 3 cast will, obviously, feature the return of Geralt (Henry Cavill), Ciri (Freya Allan), and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra).
After the finale, we can expect the likes of Vesemir (Kim Bodnia), Lambert (Paul Bullion), and Coen (Yasen Atour) to show up in season 3.
Other series regulars Jaskier (Joey Batey), Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni), Cahir (Eamon Farren) will likely have a part to play – as will Francesca (Mecia Simson), Filavandrel (Tom Canton), Triss (Anna Shaffer), Tissaia (MyAnna Buring), Dara (Wilson Mbomio), Istredd (Royce Pierreson), Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu), and Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen).
There are also a handful of characters introduced in the second season that are in line for a comeback. They include Dijkstra (Graham McTavish), Phillipa (Cassie Clare), Rience (Chris Fulton), and Lydia (Aisha Fabienne Ross). Plus, let’s not forget the re-emergence of Duny, now known as Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr (Bart Edwards).
Hissrich also told GamesRadar+ that Codringher (Simon Callow) and Fenn (Lizz Carr) would return for the third season.
The Witcher season 3 story: what’s next and which books will be adapted?
Netflix has released an official plot summary for The Witcher season 3, which reads: "As monarchs, mages, and beasts of the Continent compete to capture her, Geralt takes Ciri of Cintra into hiding, determined to protect his newly reunited family against those who threaten to destroy it. Entrusted with Ciri's magical training, Yennefer leads them to the protected fortress of Aretuza, where she hopes to discover more about the girl's untapped powers; instead, they 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."
The Witcher season 3 story will pick up where the second season left off: the net is closing in on Ciri, with Nilfgaard, Redania, and the Northern kings all wanting to capture – or, worse, kill – the Lion Cub of Cintra. Francesca and the remaining elves also have Ciri in her sights, who is now under the protection of Geralt and Yennefer. Those warring parties and factions will almost certainly be the driving force of the upcoming season.
Betrayal could be the name of the game in The Witcher season 3, too. Aretuza and its mages are seemingly divided on who they should serve, while Jaskier is in the pocket of Dijkstra and Redania. That spells trouble for Yennefer and Geralt respectively.
The Wild Hunt also showed up during the season 2 finale as Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer were briefly teleported to another realm. They might be set up as the show’s endgame villains, though may yet have a minor presence in the upcoming season.
Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has revealed on Twitter (opens in new tab) that the upcoming season will adapt Andrzej Sapkowski's 'Time of Contempt.' The first season adapted aspects of The Last Wish, while the second season focused on A Grain of Truth and the majority of A Blood of Elves. We’re not going into heavy book spoilers here, especially as the show is keen to divert from certain aspects of the source material. In short, however, expect one of Geralt's most brutal fight scenes, an odyssey for Ciri, and the introduction of the criminal group The Rats. If you want to pick up where the story left off, be sure to check out the reading order in our guide to The Witcher books.
But will season 3 have multiple timelines? "Our seasons as a whole are really guided by the stories that we want to tell," Hissrich told TheWrap (opens in new tab). "So structure is a great example. In season 2, there wasn't a reason to do non-linear storylines. So we took a very linear approach, which allowed us to play with some different aspects of visions or flashbacks, for instance, that we wouldn't be able to do if we were doing timelines. Season 3 I think is really great. It's based on 'The Time of Contempt,' and that actually to me is a very easily adaptable book. 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 3, for instance, takes place on a very, very small time line. Not a lot of time passes, because it doesn't need to."
On season 3 specifics, Geralt actor Henry Cavill said during Netflix’s Unlocked show (opens in new tab) that "there is a chance to explore the Nenneke relationship a little further. Of course, I would love to work with the Witchers some more… but it’s about making sure that story happens without too much in the way of diversions [from the books]."
Cavill added that Geralt’s fraught relationship with Yennefer is "going to take some real work and nuance and complexity" to overcome.
Also on the Unlocked show, Hissrich offered up vague hints and teased a deeper dive into Vilgefortz’s secret history, connections to Lara Dorren, a larger look at the kingdom of Redania, and – of course – that Emhyr reveal.
"We’re going to lean into the suspense… how and when are our characters going to figure it out?" Hissrich said, while suggesting that Emhyr/Duny has a "new partner" in season 3. Expect his search for his daughter, Ciri, to form the crux of the season's narrative tensions.
Executive producer Steve Gaub has also given a tease on the next season's scope, along with a picture of an interior set. "We definitely won’t be going smaller in season 3," he wrote. It sounds like next season will be bigger than ever, then.
As for new characters, Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab) reports casting is underway for the Professor, a villainous assassin who shows up in both the game and the books. The site also says (opens in new tab) Milva, an archer who helps Geralt search for Ciri in the source material, will be part of the third season. That's all unconfirmed for now, though, so take it with a pinch of salt.
When can we expect a trailer for The Witcher season 3?
In short, not for a while. Previous first looks at The Witcher’s upcoming season have both landed in July, five months before a December release date. To clue us in further, we’ll need to know the release date for season 3. Once that’s set in stone, be on the lookout for a trailer 4-6 months before release – and potentially at either a ComicCon or a Netflix streaming event.
In the meantime, though, there are photos from location scouting to tide you over. Check them out below.
So, we might have a long time to wait until The Witcher season 3 drops. In the meantime, check out some of the best Netflix shows and best Netflix movies you can watch right now on the streaming service.