The Witcher's first season rode in on Henry Cavill's shoulders and bathtub presence as Geralt. But like any ensemble fantasy piece, the once lesser-known cast members, like Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra as Ciri and Yennefer, are now as vital as Cavill. Season 2 will pick up more significant characters from the novels, including Witchers Eskel and Coën. But the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the filming schedule, and now with casting. Thue Ersted Rasmussen, who was cast as Eskel, has had to drop out, and is now being replaced by Basil Eidenbenz. But who is Basil Eidenbenz, and why is his The Witcher character Eskel so important?
PBS viewers will recognize Eidenbenz from his stint in Victoria as Lohlein, one of the downstairs servants in Buckingham Palace. The Swedish actor started out doing German comedies before moving to British television. Since then, he had a minor role in the Oscar-winning film The Favourite, and co-starred in The Athena, a comedy set in the fashion world, on SkyTV.
Like Thue Ersted Rasmussen, who he's replacing, Eidenbenz is a young European actor on the rise. Landing a part in The Witcher could be a significant breakout role, or at least a path to getting noticed by Netflix for the streamer's next British-accent drama series.
As for Eskel, the character Eidenbenz will now play, he's part of the School of the Wolf, one of the primary schools that train Witchers, headquartered at Kaer Morhen in Kaedwen. Fans have seen glimpses of this area of The Continent in flashbacks, but Season 2 will mark the first time the show visits it in the present day.
Now that Geralt has found Ciri, fulfilling his oath, the question for him will be what to do with her. At this point, he's not aware of the full extent of her abilities. But once he does, he'll realize that, like any untrained witch, she needs guidance to learn how to handle her abilities, lest she becomes a danger to herself and others. But Geralt is unwilling to send her somewhere like the Lodge of Sorceresses (where Yennefer trained), as he cannot protect her in such an environment. Instead, he'll take her back to the School of the Wolf, in hopes the fellow Witchers will be able to do right by her, even though the magic controlled by men and women does not work the same way.
Eskel is one of those at the School who steps up and tries to train Ciri, along with two other young Witchers, Lambert and Coën. Both are from shows familiar to Netflix fans, with Lambert played by Paul Bullion (Peaky Blinders) and Coën by Yasen Atour (Young Wallander).
The Witcher Season 2 does not yet have a release date, but conventional wisdom suggests it will arrive in late 2021.