When The Witcher Season 2 returns to Netflix to continue the adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski's beloved novels, the story will have to feature a veteran Witcher. Vesemir is already the focus of Netflix's anime prequel movie, Nightmare of the Wolf, and at long last, the streaming platform has cast an actor in the live-action role. Despite rumors and speculation that Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill was gunning for the role in December, it has since gone to a dark horse that's even better.
Netflix announced Friday that actor Kim Bodnia (Killing Eve, The Bridge) had been cast in the 8-episode second season of The Witcher. In an official statement, showrunner Lauren Hissrich said she "cannot wait for him to bring strength, tenacity, and warmth to the character of Vesemir, who is such an integral part of our upcoming season."
In many ways, Mark Hamill would have been a fun choice for this role, but he also would have attracted too much attention and stolen the show. Hamill might make for an entertaining pick, but Bodnia is nothing short of perfect for this role in every sense.
"A charming relic of the witcher Golden Age, Vesemir is the oldest and most experienced witcher in our series, as well as a father figure to Geralt," the character's official description reads. "As one of the survivors of The Massacre at Kaer Morhen, a haunting slaughter that nearly exterminated the Witchers, he is fiercely protective of the remaining few, who he sees as an endangered community who can find glory on 'the Path' slaying monsters."
A man once described by The Guardian as "a gentle bear of a man," Bodnia couldn't be more perfect for this role. He first gained renown playing a Danish detective in the Nordic crime series The Bridge, but much more recently he's recognized in a key role on BBC's Killing Eve as Konstantin Vasiliev, a Russian spy who serves has handler to Villanelle, the skilled but insane assassin at the focus of the series. Konstantin's dynamic with Villanelle is playful and dangerous in an unsettling but wildly entertaining way. His character can be likable and affectionate one moment before shifting into outright threatening the next.
He's warm and sentimental but clever and confident enough to never let his softer side become a point of vulnerability. It's clear that the folks at Netflix were looking to Bodnia's nuanced performance from Killing Eve as a paternal figure when considering him for this role on The Witcher. To play an effective Vesemir, an actor would require equal parts warmth and strength, and Bodnia has that in spades.
For further context, when you first meet Vesemir in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game, he's fallen asleep in the Witcher castle Kaer Morhen while teaching young Ciri about monsters. He's a cheery grandpa who's totally capable of stabbing a striga in the face if he needs to. He also has a soft spot for the people he cares deeply about. Within the universe of The Witcher, that includes Geralt whom he treats like a son, and eventually also Ciri who becomes a pseudo granddaughter to him.
Netflix couldn't have made a better choice.
The Witcher Season 2 will premiere sometime in 2021.