Henry Cavill is quitting Netflix’s steamy series The Witcher after Season 3 and Geralt of Rivia is being recast, as announced today by the streaming service.
The departure will no doubt shock fans of the series, as Cavill is widely regarded as the best thing about the fantasy drama and a crucial part of its success.
Henry Cavill announces his departure on Instagram
“My journey as Geralt of Rivia has been filled with both monsters and adventures, and alas, I will be laying down my medallion and my swords for Season 4,” Cavill announced on Instagram.
Liam Hemsworth, brother to Thor actor Chris Hemsworth is replacing Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia.
“In my stead, the fantastic Mr. Liam Hemsworth will be taking up the mantle of the White Wolf,” Cavill said. “As with the greatest of literary characters, I pass the torch with reverence for the time spent embodying Geralt and enthusiasm to see Liam’s take on this most fascinating and nuanced of men.”
“Liam, good sir,” said Cavill, “this character has such a wonderful depth to him, enjoy diving in and seeing what you can find.”
Liam Hemsworth applauds Henry Cavill
“As a Witcher fan I’m over the moon about the opportunity to play Geralt of Rivia,” Hemsworth said, also via Instagram.
“Henry Cavill has been an incredible Geralt, and I’m honored that he’s handing me the reins and allowing me to take up the White Wolf’s blades for the next chapter of his adventure,” Hemsworth announced.
“Henry, I’ve been a fan of yours for years and was inspired by what you brought to this beloved character,” he added. “I may have some big boots to fill, but I’m truly excited to be stepping into The Witcher world.”
Reasons for Cavill quitting The Witcher unclear
Recasting a character four seasons in when it’s the very distinct, very well-established lead protagonist is a recipe for disaster.
It’s possible that Cavill doesn’t want to go down with the ship, as The Witcher was already showing signs of weakness in Season 2, and is getting out before things get worse.
Perhaps he will simply be too busy playing Superman in the newly-re-branded DCU. Perhaps there are creative differences we don’t know about.
Recasting Henry Cavill not a good idea
No matter how well Hemsworth does in the role, audiences will have a deeply difficult time accepting him as Geralt. It’s actually far from being “exciting news” as Netflix is spinning it.
Everyone was onboard after the first season, as Cavill did such a terrific job, and it is going to be a challenge to move from video game Geralt (or book Geralt) to a live-action actor.
Cavill has also shown a deep passion for The Witcher stories and the project and games. He has been a champion of fidelity to the source material.
Different Witcher should come with different backstory and personality
Many are deeply concerned that the show will falter without him involved. Cavill leaving should either mean the end of the show or moving the story in a new direction with a new Witcher in the title role who isn’t Geralt.
Bring Hemsworth in to play a different Witcher with a different backstory and personality by all means.
Former producer comments about writers of The Witcher
Interestingly, this also comes directly after Beau DeMayo, a former producer on the show, claimed that writers on The Witcher actively disliked the books and games.
“I’ve been on shows—namely Witcher—where some of the writers…actively disliked the books and games, even actively mocking the source material,” DeMayo explained.
“It’s a recipe for disaster and bad morale,’ he commented. “Fandom as a litmus test checks egos, and makes all the long nights worth it. You have to respect the work before you’re allowed to add to its legacy.”
We’ll likely never know whether these things are connected or not, but, on the bright side, it’s one way to learn that the show has been renewed for another season.
The final season with Cavill as Geralt of Rivia will air in summer 2023. A spinoff show, The Witcher: Blood Origin, comes out on December 25th.