Henry Cavill is the face of The Witcher franchise. Based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s eponymous novel series, CD Projekt Red developed a series of fan favourite video games that were quickly adapted into a Netflix series in 2019 by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. Cavill is featured at the centre of it as the brooding titular witcher, Geralt of Rivia.
With his flowing white mane and buffed-up body, Cavill breathed life into the disgruntled and courageous Geralt. Also known as the White Wolf, Geralt rode atop Roach, his horse, and swished his sword through grotesque monsters, protecting the human realm despite severe hatred and spent his night in the arms of women.
A true swashbuckler, Cavill’s Geralt quickly became a fan favourite, catapulting the series’ popularity and leading to the universe’s expansion. Besides developing the seasons for The Witcher on Netflix, Hissrich also began working on the animated film The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, which focused on Geralt’s mentor, Vesemir’s story and the upcoming prequel series The Witcher: Blood Origin, which will document the creation of the first witcher, set thousands of years before Cavill’s stories.
Fans were pumped and hoped to see Cavill return for the next seven seasons. Cavill, too, had been optimistic about the same. At the end of the second season promo, he talked about how he would love to be back for seven seasons to “honor Sapkowski’s works”. However, following his appearance at the Enola Holmes 2 premiere in New York, Cavill took to Instagram to announce his departure from the series following the third season, shocking fans in the wee hours of the morning. Cavill will be laying down his medallion and sword and bequeathing it to Liam Hemsworth.
Understandably, fans did not react well.
While many have been watching the series due to their sheer love for Sapkowski’s series and/or the video game franchise, most were hooked on Cavill’s brilliant presence as Geralt. He fit the role like a glove, and his passion for Sapkoswki’s novels and the games helped add a different dimension to the series. He was a vocal contributor to the writing room and often suggested changes. What changed Cavill’s mind?
Firstly, Cavill will be returning to the DCEU as Superman yet again, making his first cameo appearance in Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam. Scheduling conflicts might be one of the primary reasons for his departure. However, fans believe that trouble in paradise started when Cavill was annoyed by the way the writers tried to change the original source material in the seasons.
The Witcher season one was loyal to Sapkowski’s book while season two strayed away from the source material. Cavill was often called The Witcher encyclopedia by his co-stars. Was the actor not pleased with the narrative progression? Hissrich admitted the plenty of edits Cavill sent in regarding the season two script, starting from his demands for more Geralt dialogues in addition to the plenty of “Fuck” and “Hmm”-s. He also did not like the comic effect the writers tried to incorporate at Roach’s death, coming up with an alternative heartfelt speech which made the sequence extremely powerful. With Cavill gone, where does The Witcher universe stand?
Most of the fanbase was extremely dedicated to his role as Geralt of Rivia. Their indignant and heartbroken responses on his Instagram post say where their loyalties lie. Cavill will be leaving a massive hole in the series, which will be difficult for Hemsworth to fill. The latter acknowledges the “big shoes” he has to fill. Hissrich and Netflix’s inability to retain Cavill in the series will definitely prove to be a massive blow soon, especially revenue-wise, given how heavily the streamer depended on this Original series which brought in great viewership like Stranger Things, Money Heist, Squid Game and the like.
Whether Hemsworth will be able to pull in the crowds as well as Cavill will be worth noting; Netflix might have to shelve yet another expensive production due to creative differences and a lack of understanding among producers and the actors.