The Witcher season 3: key information
– Releasing in mid-2023
– Post-production phase well underway
– All major characters set to return
– Plot based on The Time of Contempt book
– Season 4 greenlit
– Henry Cavill not returning after season 3
– Showrunner ‘fully understands’ fans’ frustration over Cavill departure
– Blood Origin spin-off sets up season 3 plot
Bittersweet Continent-based news, everyone: The Witcher season 3 is coming in mid-2023, but it’ll be the final time we see Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia.
If you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be unaware that the show’s lead is departing one of the best Netflix shows in 2023. Nobody knows why, but The Witcher’s showrunner “fully understands” why fans are angry at this development. Regardless of what the issue is, it’s a sad day for fans who loved Cavill’s portrayal.
Still, we’ve got one more season left to watch Cavill as everyone’s favorite monster slayer. With that in mind, it’s high time you caught up on everything worth knowing about The Witcher season 3.
Below, you’ll find every big pieces of news about the fantasy Netflix series’ next installment, including its cast and plot details, potential launch date, and the show’s future sans Cavill. Oh, and how The Witcher: Blood Origin spin-off show sets up season 3’s plot.
Major spoilers for The Witcher season 2 follow. Additionally, possible spoilers for its follow-up season can be found within. Use the navigation bar to your left to skip ahead if you’re avoiding them.
The Witcher season 3 release date
The Witcher season 3 doesn’t have an official release date. However, a mid-2023 release window was announced at Tudum 2022. We’d previously suggested it would arrive then, so we’re glad we were right.
The Time of Contempt is nigh. 👀The Witcher returns to Netflix in Summer 2023 #TUDUM pic.twitter.com/MUzOKXwFjVSeptember 24, 2022
The launch window reveal came two weeks after showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich confirmed principal photography had wrapped. The end of production also comes nine months after Hissrich exclusively told TechRadar that the scripts for The Witcher season 3 were almost complete.
Of course, mid-2023 could be mean it’ll be released anytime between June and September. Given its post-production phase will be extensive – with plenty of VFX shots, music and ADR to add in, and the long process of editing down the assembled footage into season 3’s likely eight episodes – we think it’ll be closer to August 2023.
The Witcher season 3 cast
Here’s The Witcher season 3’s likely cast:
- Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia
- Freya Allen as Princess Cirilla of Cintra
- Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg
- Joey Batey as Jaskier
- Eamon Farren as Cahir
- MyAnna Buring as Tissaia de Vries
- Mimî M. Khayisa as Fringilla Vigo
- Royce Pierreson as Istredd
- Anna Shaffer as Triss Merigold
- Mahesh Jadu as Vilgefortz
- Tom Canton as Filavandrel
- Mecia Simson as Francesca Findabair
- Lars Mikkelsen as Stregobor
- Terence Maynard as Artorius Vigo
- Graham McTavish as Sigismund Dijkstra
- Ed Birch as King Vizimir of Redania
- Sam Woolf as Rience
- Aisha Fabienne Ross as Lydia van Bredevoort
- Cassie Clare as Philippa Einhart
- Wilson Mbomio as Dara
- Bart Edwards as Duny/Emperor Emhyr, aka The White Flame of Nilfgaard
- Meng’er Zhang as Milva
- Robbie Amell as Gallatin
- Hugh Skinner as Prince Radovid
- Christelle Elwin as Mistelle
Many of these characters have played significant roles in The Witcher, but those who haven’t should have expanded roles.
Emperor Emhyr definitely will As the season 2 finale revealed, Duny – the knight Geralt saved in season 1 and also Ciri’s father – is not only still alive, but he’s the leader (aka The White Flame) of Nilfgaard’s forces. And he wants to be reunited with Ciri, so he can use her abilities for his own nefarious means.
We expect Philippa Einhart to feature more regularly. She was in season 2 but, based on what we know of her book counterpart, she has a bigger role to play. That expectation also extends to King Vizimir and Sigismund Dijkstra, with the kingdom of Redania becoming more prominent as the story in Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series unfolds.
Meanwhile, four actors were officially added to the ever-expanding roster in April 2022. They include Shang-Chi’s Meng’er Zhang and Upload’s Robbie Amell, and you can read more about the characters this quartet will play in our cast update explainer.
Potential season 3 cast spoilers follow. Skip ahead to the plot section if you don’t want to know who else may show up.
THE WITCHER Season 3 cast is getting even bigger:welcome ROBBIE AMELL (Upload), MENG’ER ZHANG (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), HUGH SKINNER (Fleabag) and CHRISTELLE ELWIN (Bloods) to the Continent! pic.twitter.com/VOIAtnivljApril 14, 2022
Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab) has also claimed 10 other actors – two in one article, six in another (opens in new tab), and two more (opens in new tab) in separate news stories (opens in new tab) – have been cast. Netflix hasn’t confirmed these hires, but we’ve listed them below as their characters may be of interest to diehard Witcher fans:
- Stuart Thompson as Fabio Sachs
- Jim Sturgeon as Applegatt, a royal messenger of King Demavend of Aedirn
- Ryan Hayes as Artaud Terranova, a mage who participates in the Thanedd Coup
- Josh Weller as Valdo Marx, a bard rival of Joey Batey’s Jaskier
- Kate Winter as Putney
- Martyn Ellis as Barker
- Michalina Olszanska as TBC
- Sean Cernow as TBC
- Harvey Quinn as TBC
- Poppy Almond as TBC
In another Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab) leak, The Rings of Power season 1 actor Fabian McCallum is rumored to play Kayleigh, a member of the teenage misfit gang known as The Rats.
Other season 2 newcomers, including Adjoa Andoh’s Nenneke, Simon Callow’s Codringher, Liz Carr’s Fenn, Kaine Zajaz’s Gage and Sam Hazeldine’s Eredin/King of the Wild Hunt, may also be back. Until we hear official confirmation on this front, though, we haven’t included them.
Kim Bodnia’s Vesemir and other Witchers including Coën (Yasen Atour) and Lambert (Paul Bullion) might not be back. That’s based on Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri leaving the Witchers’ Kaer Morhen stronghold in the season 2 finale. Unless Geralt and company return to Kaer Morhen, Vesemir and company aren’t likely to return. Netflix’s Witcher series has diverged slightly from its source material at times, though, so Vesemir and company could still be included in some capacity.
Two actors who won’t be returning are Blair Kincaid and Chris Fulton, who played Crach an Craite and Rience in season 1 and season 2 respectively. Per Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab), Fulton has been replaced by Sam Woolf (The Crown, Humans). Meanwhile, Vikings Valhalla star Johannes Haukur Johannesson has reportedly been cast as Crach for season 3 (via Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab)).
Finally, there are plenty of characters from the books who could be introduced. According to Redanian Intelligence, a new villain known as The Professor (opens in new tab), may play a supporting role. Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab) also claims that Safiyya Ingar (Summer of Rockets, Faith) has been cast in an undisclosed role.
The Witcher season 3 plot
Major spoilers follow for The Witcher TV series and novels.
Little is known about The Witcher season 3’s plot, but Netflix has released an official (albeit brief) plot synopsis:
We’re also excited to reveal the official plot summary for the upcoming season…#TheWitcher pic.twitter.com/oqg6LnufBTApril 4, 2022
Additionally, Hissrich exclusively told TechRadar that The Witcher season 3 will be based on the second main novel – i.e. The Time of Contempt, so maybe we’ll see less in the way of plot diversions.
Or will we? Chatting with Collider (opens in new tab), Hissrich also reaffirmed her desire to stick as closely to the source material as possible, but season 3 will incorporate plot points from other books in the series. Hissrich told Collider that a “big story from Blood of Elves”, the first novel in The Witcher saga, will form part of the third season’s overarching narrative.
Meanwhile, speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast (opens in new tab), Cavill said fans can expect “lots of action” – and particularly good action, too. Stunt co-ordinator Wolfgang Stegemann, who choroegraphed the Blaviken fight scene in season 1, has returned to helm this installment’s battles.
Potential plot spoilers follow from now on. Don’t read past the tweet below if you’re avoiding them.
A lot has happened in 1200 years. Here’s where The Witcher: Blood Origin sits in the wider timeline… pic.twitter.com/Voz7gHd1FtDecember 11, 2022
There are only two major Blood of Elves storylines not included in the previous season. The first concerns the Scoia’tael, a group of non-human guerillas who fight for Nilfgaard and attack Geralt, Ciri, Triss, and Yarpen Zigrin’s dwarven contingent in the novels. Hissrich confirmed to TechRadar that the Scoia’tael will be part of season 3, so their introduction should cause problems for Geralt and company.
The second is far more important. It relates to Geralt telling Ciri about the roses of Aelirenn, an elf who led the last band of their kin against an invading human army. Aelirenn’s forces were massacred by their foes and, given that only young elves can produce offspring, the demise of Aelirenn’s forces inadvertently led to the elves’ slow march towards extinction. Expect this particular story to tie back into events concerning Francesca and her murdered elven baby in season 2.
Speaking of maternal relationships, Anya Chalotra, who plays Yennefer, wants to see more of the dynamic between her character and Ciri from the novels. Talking to Glamour (opens in new tab), Chalotra said: “[I want to see] everything that happens in the book where she gets to develop a mother-daughter relationship with Ciri. She also calms down a bit and she realizes she is enough.”
In terms of Sapkowski’s version of The Time of Contempt, what can we expect from The Witcher season 3? For one, Redanian Intelligence suggests we’ll see three iconic sequences play out in the show – two concerning Ciri and one involving Geralt.
In Geralt’s case, Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab) has seemingly confirmed that the thrilling battle between Geralt and Vilgefortz is part of proceedings. Meanwhile, the same website claims Ciri will be involved in two moments pulled out of the books – the first involving Wyverns (opens in new tab), which might see her rescue Fabio Sachs, while the second sees her lost in the Korath Desert (opens in new tab). Big Witcher fans will know all about the importance of this latter sequence.
Redanian Intelligence has also suggested we’ll see two major events (opens in new tab) play out in The Witcher season 3 – an elegant ball attended by numerous mages (and Geralt), and the Thanedd Coup, which sees mages loyal to Nilfgaard and the North clash in a bloody battle that costs many lives. This ties into the Geralt and Vilgefortz fight we mentioned above.
Finally, Reddit has rounded up so potential spoiler-y content from Hissrich (based on some Twitter replies to her followers) about certain season 3 character arcs. You can read about them here (opens in new tab) but, be warned, they reveal new locations and the development of specific characters in The Witcher season 3. Read them at your own risk.
The Witcher season 3 trailer
Unfortunately, there won’t be a trailer for a while. Once one is released, we’ll update this section.
The Witcher season 3: future seasons and spin-offs
Netflix renewed The Witcher for a fourth season in October 2022. However, Redanian Intelligence says writing has begun on seasons 4 and 5 (opens in new tab), so we could be getting two more seasons at least. Previously, Hissrich told Collider (opens in new tab) she’s mapped out a seven-season arc but her plan depends on whether the final three seasons are greenlit.
However, Cavill isn’t returning after The Witcher season 3. Announced alongside the season 4 renewal, Cavill and Netflix revealed that Liam Hemsworth is taking over for season 4 onwards. No official line has been given about Cavill leaving, but Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab)‘s sources claim it goes back to Cavill not seeing eye-to-eye with Hissrich and company over season 2’s plot deviations from the books.
In the days that followed, angry fans set up a Change.org petition (opens in new tab), calling on Netflix to sack the show’s creators and retain Cavill’s services instead. Speaking exclusively to TechRadar about Cavill’s departure, Hissrich said she “fully understands” fans’ ire, but hoped they would continue watching.
From monsters to magic, here’s #TheWitcher Season 2 in numbers. Bring on Season 3… pic.twitter.com/M51AfUBMKjJune 21, 2022
Spin-off wise, there are a few offshoots in the works.
First up is The Witcher: Blood Origin prequel series. Set 1,200 years before Netflix’s main Witcher series, Blood Origin will cover the story of the first Witcher’s creation. The show also follows events leading up to and during the Conjunction of the Spheres, the cataclysm that results in the collision of multiple universes and their human, elven, and monstrous races. Blood Origin is due to be released in December 2022 – read our spoiler-free review for what we think of it.
Meanwhile, Minnie Driver, who plays a time-traveling storyteller in Blood Origin, wants to cross over into the main series and hang out with Geralt. Given Blood Origin plays a big role in the Witchers’ creation and the Continent’s history, as well as what else happens in the spin-off, Blood Origin directly impacts season 3’s story.
Other spin-offs include a family-friendly animated series and a second anime movie, both of which were announced at Netflix’s Tudum fan event in September 2021. Meanwhile, Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab) claims a a spin-off involving other Witchers like Lambert, Coen, and Eskel could be in development. Another Redanian Intelligence (opens in new tab) article claims a spin-off of The Rats is in early development. Netflix is yet to confirm either of these, though.
For more Witcher-based content, check out these five bloody fantasy shows while we wait for its third season. Alternatively, find out how to read The Witcher books in order.
Watch the video here: The Witcher season 3: everything we know so far