The Witcher Season 2 Recasts Eskel with Basil Eidenbenz

The role of Eskel on The Witcher has been recast with Basil Eidenbenz after COVID-related scheduling issues with the previous actor.

Basil Eidenbenz; Eskel in The Witcher video games
Photo: Tom Wagner Photography/CD Projekt Red

The Witcher Season 2 has cast Basil Eidenbenz for the role of Eskel, replacing the previously tapped Thue Ersted Rasmussen.

Swiss actor Eidenbenz will fill the role of Eskel, which was vacated by Rasmussen over rescheduling issues attributed to COVID-19, reports Deadline. Pertinently, Netflix’s The Witcher was among an entire industry-wide slate of productions that halted back in March as COVID escalated to a pandemic level; an occurrence that leaves the series with a lingering issue upon its recent return, since Rasmussen had been filming scenes as Eskel starting in late February before the early-March shutdown. Consequently, the recasting of the character with Eidenbenz calls for reshoots.

The role of Eskel will likely prove important for The Witcher Season 2, since the character is a fellow Witcher peer of Geralt, and also happens to be a childhood friend with whom he came up through the physiology-altering Trial of the Grasses to gain the special abilities endowed by the position. A particularly powerful magic wielder, Eskel has been depicted in the literary and video game mythos as being distinguished by a prominent scar that runs down the right side of his face. With the character being an ally and old friend of Henry Cavill’s Geralt, the reshoots could prove particularly inconveniencing, especially if the scenes shot by Rasmussen included the headlining star.

Eskel represents the biggest role yet for the Zurich-born Eidenbenz, who comes into The Witcher having put in notable television runs on shows such as U.K. Sky comedy The Athena, Canadian AXN/Ovation spy series X Company, and ITV/PBS historical drama Victoria. He also had a small role in director Yorgos Lanthimos’s Oscar-nominated historical comedy, The Favourite, along with appearances in recent films such as Wildlings, Oh, Ramona! and Another Mother’s Son. He joins fellow newcomers on the series such as Game of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju as Nivellen, Yasen Atour as Coen, Agnes Bjorn as Vereena, Paul Bullion as Lambert, Aisha Fabienne Ross as Lydia and newcomer Mecia Simson as Francesca.

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Adapting Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s literary fantasy mythology and the popular video game series it spawned, The Witcher premiered on Netflix back on December 20, 2019, and became an instant hit. Besides brandishing an A-list headliner in Henry Cavil, the series also seemed to be the fantastical serial offering for which fans were clamoring, especially after the genre’s most prominent example, HBO’s Game of Thrones, had just wrapped things up—some might say disappointingly—that May. Indeed, Netflix ordered a second season of the series just a month after the debut, and even a production-halting pandemic failed to dampen its enthusiasm, leading to the streamer’s July order for a six-episode spinoff prequel series, titled The Witcher: Blood Origin.

The Witcher Season 2 doesn’t have a formal release date as of yet, but production appears to be back on track in time to make its previously-teased 2021 window.