Whilst we eagerly await the return of The Witcher: Season 3, which is scheduled to come out in 2023, we can look forward to seeing more of the beloved Witcher on our screens a lot sooner than expected with the release of the new prequel series called The Witcher: Blood Origin. With Netflix confirming that Blood Origin is set to be released on the 25th of December 2022, it’s definitely one to keep an eye out for! The Witcher: Blood Origin filming locations are sure to captivate audiences, so let’s take a look at some of the sets used throughout the filming of this thrilling series.
Table of Contents
The impact of COVID-19
The majority of filming largely took place between August 16th and November 21st 2021, with some scenes needing to be re-filmed during the early months of 2022. It’s also important to note that with Covid having been very present in a lot of countries for the majority of 2020 and 2021, the producers were forced to reconsider their potential filming locations. There were talks that The Witcher was originally planning to film scenes in a variety of different European countries ranging from Slovakia to the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, in the end, they were forced to keep production within the borders of the UK due to the ongoing pandemic and many regulations being put in place preventing travel. It was also incredibly difficult to plan and prepare for the ever-changing laws.
A number of various sources have indicated that the show was allocated an episodic budget ranging between $7 to $10 million, which is very generous and viewers are keen to see how this will be reflected in the show.
We’re kicking off this series in the South of Iceland, where filming began in August. The director, Declan de Barra, dedicated a significant amount of time to scouting out an array of different locations within Iceland that would compliment the magical and mystical feel of The Witcher.
The cast and crew landed in Iceland at least a week before filming commenced in order to complete their mandatory covid quarantine checks in preparation.
By far one of the most notable locations in Iceland is the Mystical Nauthúsagil Ravine, in the South. It is best known for its beautiful waterfall and majestic ravine. Nearby you can also find other popular waterfalls, such as Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, both located amongst very scenic surroundings.
Remaining in the southern region of Iceland, filming was also taking place at the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano and Glacier. Here you can find some incredible lava fields now covered with a layer of spongy moss. The moss layer that has formed all along the rocks in Iceland, is there as a result of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption in 2010 and the following ash spread that covered the local area. The moss is exceptionally fragile and almost sacred to the local Icelanders. Damaging it in any way is seen as highly offensive, so this was something to bear in mind when deciding on where to film certain sets and cooperation with local rules and organizations was absolutely crucial for the film crew to have a smooth time operating in Iceland.
The United Kingdom
Once filming in Iceland had concluded, the crew moved on to the United Kingdom to continue shooting the series there, with numerous familiar locations amongst some unique treasures.
Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley Moor
As we travel across the country, we begin in West Yorkshire in the north of England, where the crew visited Ilkley Moor. Ilkley Moor is part of Rombalds Moor, the moorland between Ilkley and Keighley, towns in the West of Yorkshire. Ilkley, Ben Rhydding, and the surrounding areas offer such rich history, making for perfect filming locations for many sets, hence its popularity and a great reason as to why the crew decided to film there. The place is home to an ancient legend of Rombald the giant and how he went about creating the Cow and Calf on Ilkley Moor. The Rocks are claimed to have been created by the mystical Rombald and his wife. Legend says that as he was running away from her during an argument, he stepped onto the rock, splitting it right in half and leaving the formation which we can now see there today.
The film crew cooperated closely with the Bradford Film Office, which helped the team in finding appropriate locations to film in Ilkley, also working closely with both the local council and the Countryside and Rights of Way team. This ensured that all local rules and regulations were respected much like in Iceland making for a hassle-free trip.
Another one of the main shooting spots was Arborfield Studios in Wokingham in the South of England. Arborfield Studios is a former army barracks that was built well over 100 years ago. The reasonably newly updated is home to huge stages, ranging from around 7,000 square feet to nearly 70,000 square feet. There are all sorts of artistic elements such as editorial spaces and VFX suites. Crew wardrobes, art rooms and props, and even a backlot area. Arborfield studios is a well-known and popular choice for many producers as it can elevate the filming and helps with any editing work that needs to add specific special effects.
It’s important to note that in the early days of 2022, the series was forced to reshoot several scenes, with the much-needed help of Alex Garcia Lopez, the director, to help with these reshoots. The reshoots are supposed to have taken place at Cowleaze Wood in Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve.
All in all, we can clearly see how much hard work and effort has been put into the filming of The Witcher: Blood Origin so I hope you are just as excited as we are to immerse ourselves in the ultimate viewing experience, unravelling all the thrilling riddles intertwined within the background settings and plot of this phenomenal series.