[Warning: The below contains spoilers for The Witcher Season 2.]
After uniting with monster slayer-for-hire Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), Ciri and Geralt travel to the mountainous stronghold of his mutant brethren, Kaer Morhen. There, Ciri proves once and for all that she is so much more than Cintra royalty with uncontrolled magic in her veins — she’s a fighter. Early on in the season, we see her go through training to defend herself, from learning how to handle a sword to weaving her way through an American Ninja Warrior-esque course that knocks her down… a lot.
Those scenes were some of showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich’s favorites of Season 2. “I am in love with Ciri’s training sequence at Kaer Morhen,” she admits of the moments that are straight from Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski’s books and subsequent video games. “It’s the first time that we see Ciri really planting her feet and starting to fight back against all of the forces in her past. Freya herself just kicks ass through that sequence. She could not wait to begin training, to get a sword in her hand, and to do most of it herself, which is incredible.”
Just like her badass character, Allan was absolutely eager to do her own stunts, with one caveat. “I basically said, ‘I will do whatever I can do without potentially hurting myself,’ because obviously, if you hurt yourself it affects the entire crew and you don’t want that to happen,” the actress says. “But I wanted to do as much as I possibly could … It was something I had looked forward to for ages, and it’s always so satisfying when you conquer a stunt and execute it.” Allan adds: “It was so much adrenaline and so nice to get a break from doing all of those really heavy scenes.”
Ciri’s training is also one of many examples of The Witcher‘s enhanced budget this year (Season 2 was rumored to be on par with Marvel’s robust productions). But Hissrich notes that due to travel restrictions from the pandemic, they had limited options when it came to sets and travel, which made making those snowy training scenes really special a particular challenge. “We had to stay on our home sets in London, and we’d made a couple of local trips, but it doesn’t look like that,” she says. “The obstacle course was shot on our backlot in the dead of summer. A lot of that structure existed through what our production team built, but all of the backdrop is VFX. In that sequence alone there are 123 VFX shots. It is the largest that we did.”
Impressed? Check it out again below.
The Witcher Season 2, Now Available, Netflix