The news has been out for a while now that the former-Superman actor will no longer be playing his beloved Geralt of Rivia in the next season of Netflix’s highly-acclaimed fantasy series The Witcher. Cavill will be replaced by Liam Hemsworth.
Discussing his love for The Witcher video games (and the Andrei Sapkowski novels they are based on), Cavill said, “They’re so immersive; the world they build is so incredible. Then I read the books, and they are extraordinary.”
He also noted that his love for the fantasy genre is what drew him to the role in the first place. “It was one of those things that because I grew up with the fantasy genre and I hear Netflix is making a TV show, it was, for me, the exact role I want to go for. This is the stuff I live for. I love doing my best to stay faithful to the lore.”
Freya Allen, who plays Cirilla in the show, claimed that having Cavill on set is like having a Witcher encyclopaedia constantly on hand. She said of the actor, “on set, we’ll be doing a scene… and he’ll be like, ‘I think we should use this line from page 253 from Blood of Elves.‘”
Amazingly, Cavill also performs all the sword fighting scenes in the show, which go to show the length he is prepared to go to accurately portray his favourite fictional character. “That is 100 per cent me. It is very important to me that I continue the character into the action. The character must exist within the action as well as in the dialogue scenes.”
Cavill himself admitted to Graham Norton that perhaps he occasionally takes his love for The Witcher a touch too far. “I wouldn’t necessarily say [I know more than] anyone else, but I’m a big fan. I don’t necessarily [correct people]; I am effusive about being loyal to the source material, let’s put it that way.”
Perhaps that insistence on the source material and his almost obsessive love for the character is what led to Cavill having to depart the show. There were rumours of Cavill’s behaviour on set being somewhat unacceptable.
Upon announcing his departure from the show, Cavill said he was passing down the “mantle” of Geralt to Hemsworth. He said, “In my stead, the fantastic Mr Liam Hemsworth will be taking up the mantle of the White Wolf. 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.”
Hemsworth responded to the passing of the mantle, writing on his Instagram page, “As a Witcher fan, I’m over the moon about the opportunity to play Geralt of Rivia. Henry Cavill has been an incredible Geralt, and I’m honoured 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.”
But will Hemsworth be able to play Geralt with half as much passion as Cavill did? At the moment, that remains to be seen, but the actor certainly has a big task on his hands. He claims to be “a fan of the Witcher“, although that could well be merely a response to the fact that he knows that Cavill is a Witcher nerd and wants to give some kind of promise to fans of the show that he does indeed share the same passion.
As stated above, that passion is arguably what plunged the sword into and struck the final blow to Cavill’s future as Geralt, so in some ways, if Hemsworth takes a more relaxed approach to playing the character – in turn giving the reigns to the writers of the show (perhaps as Cavill should have done all along) – then he may well succeed in his portrayal.
Of course, with two seasons of The Witcher featuring Cavill as Geralt, and another on the way, fans have become accustomed to seeing Geralt with Cavill’s face. However, if the fourth season of the show is a success, then fans might just begin to prefer Hemsworth over the fact that the show’s future is no longer in doubt. For now, the only way to judge Hemsworth credentials is to wait until the fourth season arrives sometime in the near future.