The Witcher S3: Anya Chalotra, Freya Allan and Joey Batey on being a family

The Witcher S3: Anya Chalotra, Freya Allan and Joey Batey on being a family

The Witcher stars Anya Chalotra, Freya Allan and Joey Batey tell us what we can expect from Season Three of the series.

With the last, explosive episode of The Witcher Season Two named ‘The Family’, and seeing Geralt, Yennefer, Ciri and Jaskier on the run because, well, pretty much everyone is hunting Ciri, we’re happy to see our dysfunctional family back for Season Three. 

“The family unit is something that we see in the books, but it’s almost immediately ripped apart again and then built back together and apart again,” Joey Batey tells us who plays Jaskier. “For me, that’s how families work. It’s about constant forgiveness and constant listening and understanding. And that’s what this family unit is learning to do.”

Indeed, after Yennefer’s betrayal of Ciri and Geralt last season, it’s not quite smooth sailing. “There’s been a year between the betrayal and how we begin season three,” explains Anya Chalotra, who plays Yennefer. “This dynamic that we have has been a year in the making, and even still, it’s quite rocky at the beginning of season three.”

The dynamic between Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri is still quite rocky at the beginning of Season Three.

This season really sees Ciri leaning on that family as she begins to understand who she is and what her role is: “She begins [the season] trying to confront her power,” says Freya Allan who plays her. “She’s often on the run from it and now she’s taking it on with the help from Yennefer.

“Ultimately, I think she wants this family together, and to stay together. But she’s battling with a lot of things. Her future and past and how that affects where she wants to take her future.”

Yep, Ciri has been through quite a journey from the young princess we saw in Season One. She’s discovered she has Elder Blood, magical powers, and she’s also a dab hand at fighting these days. 

Ciri has been on quite a journey!

The last episode of Season Two saw Ciri trapped in a memory of a banquet, where she was reunited with her late grandmother, Mousesack, and her parents. But Ciri decides to resist the dream and return to the real world to her new makeshift family, and the ripples of her experiences from Season Two are still keenly felt in Season Three.

“She has these idealistic views, but ultimately, confronting her past is what leads to her going down the path that she does, which is actually quite far from what she originally envisioned for herself,” Freya explains. “I think that the experiences that she goes through towards the end [of Season Three] kind of brings her back down to the reality, to the brutality of this continent.”

The brutality of the continent has also affected Jaskier, and this season sees him being a little more serious. “His role has become a bit more avuncular, he’s become less of the performative goon that he has been, and is now a bit more of the listener. He’s almost a soundboard to a lot of the other characters,” Batey tells us. “People often come to him going ‘I don’t know what to do’ and he goes ‘well, me neither, but do you want to talk about it?’. I think that’s his role for the time being.”

Jaskier takes on more of a listening role in Season Three.

Another new role that we’ll see in Season Three is Yennefer leaning into a motherly relationship with Ciri. “She’s entering a completely different phase to something she’s been in for 100 odd years,” Chalotra tells us. “But she’s never really felt this much in control of herself. Because she has to. She’s got something bigger to look to look out for now. That’s the first time we ever see that in her.”

With Season Two seeing Yennefer betraying Geralt’s trust and taking Ciri to Voleth Meir, to trade her in exchange for the return of her powers (before ultimately deciding not to), that bond takes a while to establish. Understandably… 

“Coming back from that betrayal, I didn’t know how I was going to become Ciri’s mother, or that maternal figure so quickly, but I think we found that quite organically in the limited scenes that we had,” Chalotra explains. “We knew that we had to achieve that.”

Yennefer takes on a motherly role this season.

“From my side, I think Ciri’s seeing Yennefer as this teacher, in a way and I think that is how their relationship has progressed,” adds Freya. “She sees the practicality of Yennefer initially. Also they have this sort of commonality that they felt between each other in Season Two. But I think it’s the practicality and the trust in Geralt for Ciri that allows her to go on that journey with Yennefer and then ultimately, naturally their relationship and trust builds.”

For Freya, who has played the character since she was just 18 years old, it’s been a pretty poignant journey to delve into a character and her relationships over the three seasons of the show we’ve had so far. “It’s really emotional,” she nods. “When you’ve played a character for this many years, and you as yourself have also grown alongside that character, there is this very emotional attachment you have. 

“So any scenario where you’re confronting that path is strangely very deep and easy to tap into. Because it’s there, you’ve lived it. I think the beauty of getting to play a character over years is you have that history with the character and so it feels very real.” 

Season 3 Volume 1 launches globally on Netflix on 29 June, 2023. Season 3 Volume 2 on 27 July, 2023