Today is WitcherCon, a celebration of The Witcher franchise and its many offshoots: from the books and short stories that started it all, to the popular CD Projekt Red video games, to the Netflix live-action series based on the books and its own various spinoffs, including an upcoming anime feature-length film following Geralt of Rivia’s mentor Vesemir, and a prequel series which recently added Michelle Yeoh to its cast. In the struggle to fill the mainstream fantasy void left in Game Of Thrones‘ wake, The Witcher‘s massive appeal across multiple mediums makes it arguably the strongest competitor at present: at least until Amazon Prime gets on the board with The Lord Of The Rings.
And today, after being cruelly teased at Netflix’s Geeked Week event with only a twelve-second clip of Ciri, we got our first full trailer for The Witcher‘s second season – which also debuted new images, a poster, and received a release date of December 17th, 2021. The trailer clearly shows that The Witcher‘s creative team are upping the ante for season two, raising the stakes in what looks to be a more cohesive singular story than season one’s sprawling, chronologically complicated narrative. The timeline’s still a little bit confusing though, because Jaskier the traveling bard is back and doesn’t appear to have aged a day in the roughly twenty years since Geralt first encountered him in season one: and I kind of love that the show appears to just be rolling with that, and that we’re all willing to buy that somewhere along the line Jaskier became immortal because of course he did.
That’s the kind of cheeky attitude that helped make The Witcher so popular with fans, and I think it’s part of why holier-than-thou professional critics had a really fun time dumping criticism on The Witcher because it wasn’t “prestige” enough for their sophisticated tastes. But the show is still very grimdark and gruesome, and if this trailer is any indication, it will only get darker from here. Geralt of Rivia and Ciri (formerly Princess Cirilla of Cintra) team up to take on a variety of horrific monsters – all of which are being kept hidden through clever editing, to better preserve the jump-scares they’ll inevitably get out of me when I’m up at three o’-clock in the morning in December watching this show – while Ciri trains to become a Witcher herself at the desolate mountaintop fortress of Kaer Morhen, where Geralt’s mysterious mentor and father figure Vesemir is also being kept hidden: because he too is a monster, although of a slightly different kind. Will he give me a jump-scare too when he shows up? Maybe; it all depends on what the wig situation is.
Here at Kaer Morhen, we find Ciri coming into her own as the series’ protagonist (and apparently finding a really good Witcher hairstylist, because her wig looks amazing), but Geralt and Vesemir won’t be her only teachers. Yennefer of Vengerburg, who disappeared after unleashing an inferno upon the Nilfgaardian armies at the end of season one, is also back – something that the trailer treats as a big spoilery stinger, even though Netflix literally revealed that Yennefer was coming back several months ago – and she’ll be instrumental in helping Ciri to fully access and control her dangerous and unpredictable magical abilities before she succumbs to her desire to “burn the whole world”, as Ciri describes it (which provokes a hilariously exaggerated facial reaction from Henry Cavill’s Geralt that is only accentuated by his neon chartreuse contact lenses: speaking of wigs, his wig has evolved and actually looks halfway-decent these days, but there is absolutely no saving those contacts).
I love that Ciri’s got a dark side to her character, and I can’t wait to see what kind of monster-hunter she becomes in time, when equipped with her magic. There’s been rumors she and Geralt will encounter a fearsome leshy in the woods outside Kaer Morhen, but we also know – and this trailer confirms – that Geralt at the very least will stop by the manor of a man named Nivellen who’s mutated into a horrific beast, to save him from a demoness named Vereena…a grimdark Beauty And The Beast retelling that’s one of the storylines I’m most excited for in season two. We catch a glimpse of Nivellen in the trailer, and I think we also see Vereena at one point, wings unfolded, circling around Geralt in the manor’s snowy courtyard.
I think that, with everything that’s being hidden from us in the trailer, it would have been nice to get one slightly bigger reveal than Yennefer’s return (a first look at the fan-favorite mage Philippa Eilhart would have been an awesome way to get people talking), but I am undeniably excited for The Witcher to come back, and I’m glad that WitcherCon was a big hit with fans of the franchise so that we can do this again next year, hopefully. In the meantime, look forward to my coverage of both The Witcher and its swiftly approaching anime prequel, Nightmare Of The Wolf.
Trailer Rating: 8/10