(photo via Netflix)
Staff Writer: Kamryn Kobel
On October 29th, Netflix announced that famed actor Henry Cavill will be stepping down from his role as Geralt of Rivea from the acclaimed Netflix series The Witcher.
This was announced on The Witcher’s Twitter account, as well as on Cavill’s Instagram. Both posts reveal that The Hunger Games actor Liam Hemsworth will be taking on the role of Geralt in Cavill’s stead.
The first season of Netflix’s The Witcher broke the record for the most streamed debut in the platform’s history, with 76 million viewers in the first month.
The announcement that Cavill is leaving The Witcher came suspiciously close to his return as Superman in the recently released movie Black Adam.
Cavill confirmed his return as the infamous Clark Kent in a video that he posted to Instagram, saying, “I wanted to make it official – that I am back as Superman.”
Cavill has expressed his love for playing Superman multiple times over the years. He recently told the Happy Sad Confused podcast that he “never lost hope” that he would return to this role. Prior to Black Adam, the last time Cavill put on the Superman suit was in Justice League (2017).
Cavill proves his knowledge and love for the book and game series in this interview from IGN, where he goes into detail about the character Geralt and the world that The Witcher takes place in.
Cavill was heavily involved in developing Geralt’s character within this adaptation.
He worked alongside the costume designer to create the armor that Geralt wears in Season 2. He also worked alongside The Witcher’s stunt team to develop a fighting style for Geralt that would be accurate to the source material’s depiction.
Seeing as Cavill is such a lover of Geralt and The Witcher franchise, it comes as a surprise that he would leave the series so suddenly and with such little explanation.
The adaptation of Geralt in The Witcher is a product of Cavill’s own hard work, and his leaving it behind to pursue other projects is unexpected and upsetting to fans of the Netflix series and of Sapkowski’s work.
This sudden departure leads fans to believe that Cavill’s decision to leave The Witcher was influenced by more than just the opportunity to return as the Man of Steel.
Some fans of the series believe that Cavill was unhappy with the direction that the showrunners chose to take the character of Geralt and the stories from Sapkowski’s universe.
Beau De Mayo, a writer for The Witcher, said this during an Instagram stories Q+A session: “I’ve been on shows– namely The Witcher– where some of the writers…actively dislike the books (even actively mocking the source material.) It’s a recipe for disaster and bad morale” (quote via The Direct).
In November of 2021, Cavill told The Hollywood Reporter that he was committed to seven seasons of The Witcher, with one caveat: “As long as we can keep telling great stories which honor Sapkowski’s work.”
The combination of De Mayo’s insight into The Witcher’s writing room and Cavill’s dedication to source material accuracy are what fans believe drove Cavill to drop out of the series.
Fans are so convinced that Cavill’s departure is the fault of the showrunners that they have created a petition for Cavill to return and for the showrunners to be replaced.
The petition has over 190,000 signatures to date. The description of the petition reads as follows:
“Henry isn’t leaving The Witcher because of Superman, Netflix executives have once again made a grave decision against delivering for their fans. The reason why The Witcher is such a popular show is the fans’ love of the source material of books and games, that are hated by and have actively been mocked by the writers and showrunner. Henry Cavill is one of those big fans, he knows all of it inside out and wanted to stay true to Sapkowski’s world, which is why Netflix wants to replace him.”
Whether fans are correct in believing that Cavill was driven from The Witcher due to bad show running or he left due to his love for playing Superman, fans of Geralt will be saying goodbye to Cavill and introducing Liam Hemsworth into Sapkowski’s world.
The situation unfolding within The Witcher fanbase is a testament to how beloved the characters, world, and story of Sapkowski’s novels truly are.