The Witcher Season 3 Sets Up A 'Completely New Group' For Future Seasons

"The Witcher" might be swapping Henry Cavill for Liam Hemsworth in its fourth season, but that's not the only shake-up on the horizon for Netflix's popular fantasy show. Season 3 is set to introduce several new cast members, including "The Flash" TV series actor Robbie Amell, "Fleabag" star Hugh Skinner, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" breakout Meng'er Zhang, and Royal Shakespeare Company actress Christelle Elwin.

The roles of most of these newbies have already been revealed. Skinner's Prince Radovid is set to catch the eye of beloved bard Jaskier (Joey Batey), Amell will play an outspoken army leader at odds with Francesca (Mecia Simson), and Zhang will portray a huntress named Milva, per Variety. It's Elwin's role that may be extra intriguing to fans of "The Witcher" novels, though, as she is part of a new batch of actors who will apparently play an important role not just in season 3, but in season 4 as well.

Four new castmates will get a standalone episode in season 4

In a May 2023 interview with Deadline, casting director Sophie Holland shared her excitement about a quartet of actors who she cast in "The Witcher," Christelle Elwin included. "I had a really lovely opportunity recently with a very special — almost standalone — episode of season four of 'The Witcher,' which is exploring a completely new group of people," Holland said.

She noted that the group featured in the almost-standalone episode is composed of "almost all new talent," including Elwin, Connor Crawford, Juliette Alexandra, and Ben Radcliffe. "We found a boy called Connor Crawford for ['John Wick' spinoff] 'The Continental,'" she added, noting that the actor held his own in scenes opposite Mel Gibson "in the bunker of the hotel" on that series.

"We were able to put him in this group of kids in 'The Witcher,'" Holland told Deadline, adding that "the whole group is very exciting in terms of talent." While the casting director doesn't mention who these actors play, Variety's casting announcement for Elwin gives a good hint. The actress is set to play Mistle, a member of a group of teen thieves. Elwin as Mistle can pretty much only mean one thing: "The Witcher" is doing a storyline featuring the renegade teen criminals known as The Rats.

Aw, Rats!

The Rats are characters who appear in "The Witcher" books beginning with the series' second book and the fifth entry in the chronology, "Time of Contempt." The group has an intense backstory, with each member finding one another after facing specific hardships, all of them in one way or another related to ongoing wartime conflicts. They're a bit like less righteous Robin Hoods, interested in redistributing wealth and luxury goods to themselves "and sometimes the poor," per Variety.

The Rats eventually cross paths with Ciri (Freya Allan) in an increasingly dark storyline, but judging by Sophie Holland's comments, their full story won't unfold in depth in this summer's batch of episodes. "You meet the characters in season three and then they come into their own in season four," she told Deadline.

Holland's comments also confirm that the show has been renewed for a fifth season. "We're just about to start filming on season four with Liam Hemsworth and there will be a short gap then we go straight into season five," the casting director shared. Fans of "The Witcher" books know that The Rats stick around for a while, so it's likely they could return in season 5.

For now, though, it sounds like the group will make some sort of appearance in season 3 before earning a spotlight episode next season. There have also been rumors of a spinoff centered on The Rats. Meanwhile, Allan let slip a detail that seems to confirm the show's season 3 timeline, as she told Digital Spy that Ciri journeys through the Korath Desert in the new episodes. In "The Witcher" books, that plotline coincides with a fateful run-in with The Rats.

Netflix did not respond to an email request for clarification on the four new actors' roles. "The Witcher" season 3 Volume 1 premieres on Netflix on June 29, 2023, with Volume 2 streaming on July 27, 2023.