Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ follows Geralt of Rivia as he wanders the Continent, making off of killing monsters. His destiny entangles with Princess Cirilla of Cintra, and together, they embark on a journey that leads them to even more dangerous things. The duo makes many enemies along the way and has to survive constant attacks from the people who want to capture Ciri to serve their own power plays. In the second season, Geralt and Ciri face Rience, a mage who wields powerful fire magic.
He proves to be a formidable antagonist and is difficult to defeat because he has an even more powerful force backing him. Given how important a character he is in ‘The Witcher’ universe, it is notable that he goes through a significant change between the second and third seasons. Even though the character and his arc remain the same, the actor who portrays the role was replaced in Season 3. Here’s everything you need to know about him.
Who Plays Rience in The Witcher Season 3?
The character of Rience in ‘The Witcher’ Season 2 is portrayed by Chris Fulton. However, in the third season, Sam Woolf plays the role of Rience. Woolf is best known for playing Prince Edward of Wessex in the fifth season ‘The Crown.’ He is also set to reprise that role in the show’s sixth season. His credits also include ‘Strike,’ ‘Call the Midwife,’ and voicing Birstan in the video game, ’Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.’
Rience is introduced to the audience in the second season, where Lydia van Bredevoort hires him to find Ciri. Rience quickly proves his worth by tracking down Jaskier, whom he tortures to find out the whereabouts of Geralt and Ciri. Before he can break the bard, Yennefer shows up and uses Rience’s magic against him, leaving the mage with a burnt face. Despite his injury, Rience continues with the search and reaches Kaer Morhen, where he steals the vial with Ciri’s blood, which Triss used to create a new mutagen to make more witchers.
Rience returns in the third season, powerful as ever and more intent at getting Ciri, no matter what it takes. With Geralt and Yennefer reunited, the task becomes even more difficult as he has to fight his brawn and her magic at the same time. He also stays in touch with his ruthlessness and kills anyone he believes could help Geralt and threaten his mission to find and deliver Ciri to his mysterious master.
Why did Chris Fulton Leave The Witcher?
It is unclear why Fulton was replaced in the second season. Netflix didn’t make any official statement regarding this decision; neither has the actor talked about the reasons behind his departure from the show. To Netflix’s credit, the recasting was done so well that most viewers might miss the difference. Fulton and Woolf have a similar facial structure, and the fact that half of Rience’s face is burnt means that the actor’s face is covered in prosthetics which might make it difficult for the audience to pin down the change.
In the case of such replacements, often, scheduling conflicts become the major factor. It is possible that one of Fulton’s projects clashed with the timing of ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 filming. The show’s creator might have decided to move forward without Fulton’s involvement to stop any delays. Meanwhile, Fulton has kept himself busy with his roles in projects like ‘Outlander’ and ‘The Lazarus Project.’ He also appeared in the second season of ‘Bridgerton,’ reprising his role as Sir Phillip Crane. His future projects include a romance drama titled ‘Falling Into Place’ and a biographical film, ‘Ride Out.’