The Witcher to hunt demons in Slovakia for its second season
- The second season of Andrzej Sapkowski’s Netflix fantasy series will be partially shot in Slovakia and is expected to hit small screens in 2021
Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy saga about the adventures of the white-haired monster hunter Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher, might just have become Poland’s biggest export. Recently, in a letter to its shareholders, Netflix boasted that their “hit content can penetrate the global zeitgeist and influence popular culture. The show’s launch drove up sales of The Witcher books and games around the world, and spawned a viral musical hit.” The streaming platform called its small-screen adaptation the “biggest season-one TV series ever” and greenlit the second season even before the actual release, which was, according to the letter (read it here), watched by 76 million of its member households. The second season is expected to hit small screens in 2021.
This means that pre-production has already begun, and KFTV reports that the show will be shot in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, London and Scotland, as opposed to the first season, which was largely filmed in Poland, Hungary and the Canary Islands. Some scenes in season one were shot on the Hungarian-Slovakian border. Fantasy stories have been filmed in Slovakia on numerous occasions, including Dragonheart (1996), Kull, the Conqueror (1997) and Eragon (2006). Slovakia’s Orava Castle, Count Orlok’s Transylvanian castle in 1922’s Nosferatu by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, even served as inspiration for Kaer Morhen, the witchers’ fortress, for the video-game adaptation of The Witcher.
Besides a couple of scenes in season one, The Witcher also has some additional Slovakian input: the Night King from the television show Game of Thrones. Slovakian stuntman Vladimír Furdík is the person behind the CGI face of the Night King, and he worked as a co-creator of the fight-scene choreographies and stunts on the HBO show. He brought his skills and experience to the set of The Witcher as a personal trainer to Henry Cavill, who stars as the white-haired demon hunter in the series, Geralt. However, Furdík has confirmed that he will not be returning to the set of the second season.
The Witcher is not the only high-profile series to have been shot in Slovakia. Orava Castle recently reprised its role from 1922 as Dracula’s lair in BBC One and Netflix’s 2020 small-screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s immortal tale starring Claes Bang, of Ruben Ostlund’s The Square [+see also:
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile] fame. Lately, Slovakia has also served as a backdrop to the mysterious Bollywood psychological thriller Chehre/Faces, directed by Rumi Jaffery, which was filmed in the High Tatras and wrapped in December 2019. It was the first Bollywood production to take place in Slovakia. Crew member Maciej Zemojcin noted that finances were also a factor in choosing the country, as it was cheaper to shoot in Slovakia than in Austria (read more here).
Finally, another notorious demon hunter will make her presence felt in Slovakia: Vanessa Helsing, the daughter of Dracula’s nemesis Abraham Van Helsing and the leading character in season 5 of Syfy’s series Van Helsing. The production registered for the film incentives (see the news) via Slovakian production company Spectral sro, which also collaborated on the production of season 2 of Marco Polo, the movie Hanna [+see also:
film profile], and the BBC One and Netflix joint effort Dracula.
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