The Witcher Theory Could Explain Why Henry Cavill Left Netflix Series

Fans of the Witcher are not thrilled that Henry Cavill will no longer play Geralt of Rivia, but they don't blame him for leaving the series.

Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) in The Witcher
Photo: Susie Allnut | Netflix

This weekend, fans of Netflix’s The Witcher were given surprising news about the series’ future. The Witcher is officially returning for a fourth season, but star Henry Cavill is not returning as Geralt of Rivia. Instead Hunger Games actor Liam Hemsworth is stepping into the role. Both actors posted about the change on Instagram, offering little information on the reason for the casting change.

To say that fans were distraught to hear that Henry Cavill is no longer playing Geralt is an understatement. While some believe that Cavill’s return as Superman and the scheduling conflicts that may ensue is the primary reason for his departure, others aren’t convinced that Cavill wouldn’t find some way to make both roles work. Fans are noting Cavill’s love of the character and the source material, stating that there must be something going on behind the scenes that would cause him to take this opportunity to move on from the show.

Since The Witcher premiered on Netflix in 2019, it has been pretty well known that Henry Cavill is a huge fan of the video games as well as the book series that the show is based on. But it seems as though some of the other creatives behind the scenes may not share this love of the source material. In a recent Instagram Q&A, former series producer Beau DeMayo shared that some of The Witcher’s writers “were not [fans] or actively disliked the books and games (even actively mocking the source material.)” According to DeMayo, this lack of respect is “a recipe for disaster and bad morale. 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.”

Given that Cavill has been referred to as an on-set “Witcher bible” by costar Freya Allan, it makes sense that a series with a writing staff who actively mocked the work they were adapting might not be something he’d want to come back to. According to Allan, Cavill would also use his Witcher expertise to make suggestions during filming. She says that “We’d be doing a scene and he’ll say ‘I think it should include this line, because this line is from the books.’ He’s definitely a nerd, but he definitely owns that, which is cool.”

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Henry Cavill himself has said that he was committed to showrunner Lauren Hissrich’s plans for seven seasons “as long as we can keep telling great stories which honor [author Andrzej] Sapkowski’s work.” Even though Hissrich took his notes to heart for season 2 and welcomed his help in shaping the characterization of Geralt during his season arc, it also shouldn’t be up to Cavill alone to make sure the true essence of his character is represented on screen.

I’m sure Liam Hemsworth will be perfectly okay in the role. He’s also a fan of The Witcher, so it’s not like Geralt is suddenly going to be played by a nobody who has no idea what he’s stepping into. But at the same time, Henry Cavill approaches the role with such an immense knowledge of and passion for the character’s story, mannerisms, and philosophy that it is hard to picture anyone else bringing the same energy and love to Geralt that Cavill does. Without Cavill’s influence, and writers that actually care about the story they’re writing, it seems as though The Witcher may struggle to maintain its strong viewership through its potential seven seasons. There are many fans who see Cavill’s Geralt as the glue holding the series together, so without him who’s to say how much longer fans will stick around.

You can check out some fan reactions below if, like me, you’re still not over this casting news.