Based on the best-selling fantasy series of books, THE WITCHER is an epic tale of fate and family. The story of the intertwined destinies of three individuals in the vast world of The Continent, where Humans, Elves, Witchers, Dwarves, and Monsters battle to survive and thrive, and where good and evil are not easily identified.
The Witcher has found his child a surprise, Princess Cirilla of Cintra. He vows to protect her from the brutality of the Continent, and from the inner power, she struggles to control – until he uncovers a secret that may prove deadlier than any monster.
Read the exclusive interview with Henry Cavill who goes deep into what lies ahead in The Witcher Season 2.
Q. Before you were cast as Geralt in season one, you actively pursued the role because you’re such a fan of the franchise, correct?
Henry Cavill: Yes. I love the games and books, I’m definitely a fan. When I was a kid, my dad would read to me, and he got me into the fantasy and sci-fi genres. When I have free time, those kinds of books are still what I most like to read. When I heard the show was happening, I called my team and said, “Let’s get on top of this before anyone else jumps at the opportunity.” But at that point, Netflix didn’t even have a showrunner attached. When Lauren was brought on, we kept calling, and I met with her. And then I actually didn’t get the role at first. They went through a full casting process, then came back to me, and it ended up working out in my favour. So I went from feeling heartbroken to feeling quite good about it. Now I try to do everything I can to represent Geralt in the best way possible.
Q. What was your reaction to the huge success of season one?
Henry Cavill: I was out there. I was looking at all the reactions — and the memes, which I found hilarious. I really did; I really enjoy that stuff. I do spend a lot of time sneaking around Reddit and reading all the forums, because this is a show that’s made for the audience. I think it’s very important to listen to an audience and hear what everyone’s saying. Even if you didn’t nail it the first time, you can start to adjust, you can start to tweak, you can start to caress it into something which does honour the amazing material that Andrzej Sapkowski created. For us to get to do a second season is very exciting and very validating. I’m just glad that whatever we’re doing is entertaining.
Q. As a video game enthusiast yourself, when did you first start playing The Witcher video games?
Henry Cavill: I actually played THE WITCHER 2: ASSASSIN OF KINGS first. I’d read some good reviews, dipped into it, and I was like, “Okay, I can’t immerse myself just yet.” And so I dipped out. When THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT came out, I just got sucked in. The worldbuilding and graphics, they still stand up today. The detail is extraordinary; the characters, the storytelling. Funnily enough, not long ago, I fired it up again. It took me three tries to get past the ghouls at the beginning. I was not impressed with myself. But my attachment to the video games is part of what makes this role so special to me. Getting to play a character from this world, which is such a huge part of a hobby I love, makes it more personal.
Q. This season we see Geralt travel to his home, Kaer Morhen, for the first time. Can you talk a bit about that setting?
Henry Cavill: Kaer Morhen is a dilapidated mountain fortress that was sacked about seventy years ago, and it’s home to the remaining Witchers — the place where Geralt goes to recover and recuperate during the winter months. He takes Ciri there to protect her, because it’s the safest place he knows to go. But it’s challenging bringing a young girl into an environment which is potentially dangerous, it’s a place where these mutants train so it’s not necessarily designed for a princess.
Q. At Kaer Morhen, we get to meet some of Geralt’s fellow Witchers. What is their dynamic like?
Henry Cavill: The relationship between Geralt and the other Witchers was something which mattered greatly to me. The Witchers, we come from all different walks of life. We have our different opinions, our different modus operandi, and we don’t necessarily all agree. But we are a tight knit group. This is an ever-shrinking group of people, but that gives them this shared sense of sorrow and loss. The world is changing and they are becoming more and more obsolete, which also gives them a heightened sense of kinship.
Q. Now that Geralt has found Ciri, what kind of relationship do they have and how does it develop?
Henry Cavill: I wanted him to be warm. If not a father figure, then definitely an older brother figure. But he’s also tough; he’s not going to be super soft. He’s lived a very hard life, and Ciri is about to face a very hard life, too. She’s no longer a princess. It was important to me that Geralt have a sense of humour while also being tough and intellectual and wise. And so I tried to lean into that as much as possible when it came to the relationship with Ciri. Over the course of the season, I think their relationship changes as she learns that she can trust him. She’s initially very hesitant to open up because she has her own secrets. Ciri’s growing powers are definitely a major concern for Geralt. He doesn’t know what they are, he hasn’t come across them before and that is an issue. He needs to know what she is so he can protect her.
Q. How has the loss of Yennefer emotionally changed Geralt this season?
Henry Cavill: The loss of Yennefer is a great blow for Geralt, and it’s something which he buries deep. But he’s also a man of action, a wise man, and so his focus is Ciri. He has to push his grief down and to one side, because that’s not what this is about anymore. He’s lost plenty of people. He’s lost Witcher brothers, and Yen is an emotional center for him, but he’s got a job to do.
Q. Kim Bodnia joins the witcher family this season as Vesemir, the oldest surviving Witcher and leader of Kaer Morhen. What was your experience filming together?
Henry Cavill: Vesemir is Geralt’s tutor, teacher, and a sort of father figure. He raised Geralt from being a young human boy to an adult Witcher, so there’s a strong and loving relationship between the two. Kim Bodnia and I, we worked with each other a lot to try and create a bond between our two characters — a dynamic that was genuinely caring and not so simple, not so basic. We wanted it to be sensitive, because I believe that real men are very sensitive. And so we wanted to make sure that sensitivity was a core element in their relationship, and that it wasn’t too driven by conflict.
Q. Geralt is wearing new armour this season. Talk us through his look.
Henry Cavill: The armour has evolved. Geralt had to find new armour, but he hadn’t had the opportunity to stop anywhere to buy armour or make it, so he delved into the dungeons of Kaer Morhen and found something very old and from a different era, but still serviceable. It’s a new look, and the redesign has made it a lot easier for me to move and fight. I helped to design with our wonderful costume designer, Lucinda Wright, and we put a lot of work into it in quite a short space of time. But I’m very happy with where we ultimately landed.
Q. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, all of season two was filmed in various locations across the UK. What was that experience like?
Henry Cavill: Filming on location is always a pleasure. Our production designer, Andrew Laws, does amazing and truly flawless work, and that really helps me to emotionally draw from the environments. My favourite location this year was the Lake District. That was beautiful, it looked like something out of LORD OF THE RINGS. Being in that environment, on horseback, in costume, and interacting with the other characters was thrilling. I loved it.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
The 8 episode long Season 2 of The Witcher, releases on December 17, 2021, on Netflix.