When Netflix’s The Witcher first debut in 2019, “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” became an unexpected hit that contributed to the overwhelming success of season one. Sung by Joey Batey’s Jaskier in the second episode, the song secured the bard’s fan favourite status in the fandom of The Witcher. With his constant buffoonery, hilarious moments of comic relief, and endearing relationship with Geralt (Henry Cavill), the addition of Jaskier made for some of the show’s greatest moments.
Following the climactic events of the The Witcher’s season finale, fans are eager to see whether Jaskier would return in the show’s sophomore season. Turns out, not only is Jaskier involved in the story of season two in a major way, but he has also gotten quite the makeover since we last saw him, and his latest tunes align with his dashing new style.
Recently, we at August Man Malaysia had the opportunity to speak to the English actor-musician. In this interview, Batey talks about the development process of the follow-up to “Toss a Coin”, his friendship with Henry Cavill, and whether a Jaskier spin-off is in the works.
Fans had trouble getting “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” out of their heads back in season one of The Witcher, can we expect a follow-up from Jaskier in season two?
I think it’s fair to say that there will definitely be some kind of music that is coming your way. I don’t think you could shut him up. He’s the kind of character who won’t stop singing or talking even when he’s in dire straits. So, I think he’s definitely going to keep singing. Joe Trapanese, our amazing composer for season two, and I have been working on the music.
We’ve worked really, really hard at trying to create something that isn’t necessarily the antithesis to “Toss a Coin”, but it’s perhaps a more mature direction for Jaskier’s music and a bit more of a developed tone. This is his difficult second album and I think he’s working really hard at finding his own voice within the history of the continent.
As a musician yourself, how exciting it is for you to work on the music of The Witcher?
It’s really exciting and very rewarding, not least because Joe Trapanese is an absolutely wonderful human being and also an extremely talented composer. He’s taking elements of the music from season one, which was written by Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli, and incorporating them while furthering the clashes of culture that this music allows us to explore. It allows us to see a lot more of the continent, the continent that Mr Sapkowski wrote.
We did a lot of the writing over the pandemic. We were very far away from each other, so we had to have zoom calls at odd times of the day. He was in LA, and I was in the UK, but it really felt very natural and open. We bounced around a ton of ideas and did a number of different versions of these songs. I think the one that we settled on is something that will not necessarily break the Internet again, but I think it’s something that will develop the show into a darker and more mature place.
The friendship between Jaskier and Geralt was universally beloved in season one. How was the creative process like in developing the friendship between the two characters?
If I’m completely honest, there wasn’t too much of a creative process, and that’s mostly due to the fact that Henry is an absolute delight. When we first met for our rehearsals in season one, we were already having a laugh within five-ten minutes. It was an easy friendship to develop.
Playing characters like Jaskier and Geralt, and finding the humor within these characters, whilst playing them as truthfully as possible have been effortless in many ways. We developed an almost telepathic sort of link between the two. Whenever we needed to get a gag, or get a joke out of something, Henry would be very collaborative in putting up with a lot of what I do. I tend to ad-lib and improvise, and he’d often cut some lines and allow the dynamic to develop in a natural way. We got the freedom from Lauren and from the directors to enjoy these characters and take our time with it.
The Witcher franchise is expanding rapidly on Netflix through multiple spin-off projects. So, will we ever get a Jaskier spin-off series, and when is it coming out?
I’m almost certain that that won’t happen, and that’s mostly because I think that would be the most annoying show for everyone involved. [Laughs] Let’s wait until the end and see where it goes, maybe we’d have a Better Call Saul situation that’ll happen once we finish it all!