Come August 17, Netflix have confirmed plans to resume principal photography on their adaptation of The Witcher. The announcement came from the show’s Twitter account:
I’m dusting off my lute and quill, I have some news, some mead to spill: After all the months we’ve been apart It’s time for production to restart. The Witcher and his bard – who’s flawless, Will reunite on set 17 August.
Despite that painful rhyme of ‘flawless’ and ‘August’, this will be welcome news to the fanbase. The Witcher’s first season proved a serious hit for Netflix, being the third-most in-demand streaming show in the week of its debut, behind only the heavy hitters of Stranger Things and The Mandalorian. An animated adaptation, The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, is also in the works and set to be released at some point before the second season.
Although the second season was already slated for release in 2021, this will inevitably have pushed the air date back further. The UK’s Arborfield studios, where The Witcher is filmed, were shut down completely in March when new addition Kristofer Hivju tested positive for coronavirus – which also delayed production on Netflix’s shows The Irregulars and Zero Chill. At the time, it was thought that this would only delay shooting for two weeks, reflecting how quickly and how drastically the industry’s response to the virus has changed.
In an interview with The Wrap, showrunner Lauren Hissrich mentioned that “we were literally in the middle of a big sequence we had been preparing for months” when the shutdown came, but was quick to say that the safety of the cast and crew was her priority: “the government may say it’s OK to do X or Y, but an actor may say they don’t feel comfortable doing that. And that’s always going to be our first concern. So we’re making all sorts of plans and accommodations and waiting for various governments to weigh in with their recommendations.” She also revealed that the break in production had been an opportunity to further polish the scripts.
Despite location shoots in the Canary Islands, Hungary, and Poland, The Witcher is part of a $500-million slate of UK-produced content for Netflix, which also includes the more obviously British works The Crown and Black Mirror.
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