Recasting lead roles is a challenging business, often met with a lot of fandom backlash, and this is especially true when it comes to Henry Cavill in Netflix’s adaptation of the iconic fantasy franchise, The Witcher.
After his debut as the witcher Geralt of Rivia, Cavill has managed to conquer the hearts and minds of millions of viewers, including many who were critical of his casting when it was first announced. Cavill’s contribution to the series cannot be understated, and with his part in The Witcher officially over, we believe this is a good time to reflect on his journey. As with every good story, this story has humble beginnings.
Henry Cavill, nerd superstar
Henry Cavill is a handsome and charismatic man, without a doubt, but make no mistake — he is also a huge nerd. A big fan of the fantasy genre, Cavill has read everything from Brandon Sanderson to Robert Jordan. And one cannot forget his love for video games. In particular, Cavill has talked a lot about his love of the Warhammer franchise. It’s no surprise that he has also read some superhero comics, given his role as Superman.
In an interview with Heatworld published on YouTube, Cavill described how big an influence the fantasy genre has been on his life. “I have been a fan of the fantasy genre since I was a boy. My dad would read to me before I could read and then any of my free time spent reading has always been, well, more often than not, has been reading the fantasy genre. I’m a big PC gamer as well, and so I spent a lot of my time playing role-playing games in that genre.”
By the time Cavill became a very successful actor, with multiple box office hits under his belt, one could expect these passions and hobbies to fade. But this wasn’t the case, as he explained in an interview with GQ. “Every time I step out my front door, I’m hyper-aware. Even if I’m not looking terrible, you still realise there are people taking sneaky photos of you, because that’s what people like to do. At home, I get to sit playing games for ridiculous amounts of hours and escape there because going outside has the opposite effect.”
Discovering the Witcher games
“My first involved experience [with the franchise] was The Witcher 3,” Henry Cavill said in the interview with GQ. He is, of course, referring to CD Projekt RED’s award-winning 2015 video game The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt. Like many, many gamers, Cavill fell in love with the world and the characters of the Witcher franchise.
“Witcher 3, when it came out, I just got stuck in,” Cavill said in an interview at WitcherCon. “And the world-building in that is so fantastic. They’ve set their rules. The graphics in there still stand up today. I mean, I’ve been playing on my 3090, and so I think the graphics still stand up. And that’s what I loved the most about it was the immersion in that world, and you could really feel like you could just go and do anything. And the detail was extraordinary.
The characters, the storytelling, the nature of what everything was was so wonderful, and all from Sapkowski’s amazing work. And it was an adaptation, yes, -a sort of a post-adaptation. It’s post the books, but they’re also doing some stuff which kind of happened during the books, and I thought that was a nice way of doing it because they’re not, they’re not really changing any major rules, but they are, it’s more like an ode to that world. And I think they did an amazing job.”
When asked if he played the games since becoming Geralt, Cavill confirmed that he did, and in the most challenging difficulty too: “I actually, funnily enough, not long ago fired it up again, just because I wanted to have a look. And, I don’t know if I told you this, but I played the game through a couple of times both on the second hardest difficulty, Blood and Broken Bones, I think it is, then Death March, which is the not-fun way of playing the game. And so I thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to have some not-fun way of playing the game.’
And I definitely need to re-warm myself up before I get into that. It took me three goes to get past the ghouls at the beginning, and I was not impressed with myself. So I may go back to Blood and Broken Bones and then have a go at it again – because I haven’t finished the expansions, and it’d be nice to actually go back there and play through the expansions.”
A Netflix adaptation is announced, and Henry Cavill starts his quest to become Geralt
On November 6, 2015, it was announced that a movie based on the Witcher novels is under development with an intended release in 2017. The project was a collaboration between Hollywood producer Sean Daniel and the Polish post-production company Platigue Image led by Tomek Baginski, and Baginski had ties to Witcher Saga author Andrzej Sapkowski as well as game company CD Projekt RED, both of which were key to securing the rights to this live-action adaptation. At the time, the film was intended to be “based on themes from the short stories ‘The Witcher’ and ‘Lesser Evil’ from ‘The Last Wish’ collection.”
Of course, Hollywood is a complicated place, and while both Sean Daniel’s production company and Baginski’s Platigue Image remained in key roles, the Witcher project bounced around a bit before landing at Netflix’s doorstep as a TV show. On May 17, 2017, it was announced that Netflix had secured the rights and will begin developing a series based on the books. Like many Witcher fans, Henry Cavill was happy to hear the project had climbed out of development hell and into the sunlight. But for Cavill, this was also a signal to start his long and persistent campaign to become Geralt of Rivia.
“I called my agents and said: Right, I want to at least get into the room as early as possible and see if I could get this. It’s really, really important to me,” Cavill told News.com.au. When Cavill began his campaign to become Geralt, Netflix hadn’t even selected a showrunner or made any concrete plans.
When Netflix’s plans for The Witcher matured with Lauren Hissrich selected as showrunner, the Netflix execs directed Cavill to her and he finally got the meeting he was working for. “By the time it got to the stage Lauren was actually taking meetings, they said: Look, you’ve gotta meet this guy, otherwise he’s gonna turn up to the door.”
“As soon as it was announced it was going to be a show, he contacted his agents who contacted Netflix and said he wants to be part of this. And Netflix was like, ‘We don’t have a show yet, there’s nothing to be a part of!’” Hissrich told Gizmodo. “Once I came on board they expressed that to me, and I sat down and met him. But I was really honest with him and I said, ‘It’s really great to meet you, you seem like a nice guy. But we don’t have a script, we’re not even casting.’ And he sat back and understood.”
And it was in this meeting that the showrunner revealed to Cavill that the show will be an adaptation not of the game, but of its source material: a series of five novels and two short-story collections (and an extra prequel novel).
Discovering the Witcher books
After his first meeting with the showrunner, Cavill understood that his campaign to become Geralt needed to cool down while the show matured. In an interview with BBC Radio One, Cavill admitted that he received a rejection a few days later.
“We had a meeting and a couple of days afterwards, they said, ‘look, the role’s not for you’ or ‘it’s not right’ and so then, I was crushed. I resigned myself to that and I finished another play-through of The Witcher.”
The battle was lost, but not the war. Perhaps Cavill knew he still had a chance, but pestering Netflix was not the way to go about it. He took this long period as an opportunity to begin reading the books.
“I actually hadn’t read the books until Lauren had mentioned them to me,” Henry said in the WitcherCon interview. “So Lauren introduced me to the books, and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness me. I thought the books were like a play off the games.’ Because they all had the game cover on. And so I then went and read them, and I thought these books are absolutely spectacular. I read them all in record time. And I was literally landing, in a plane landing at one stage. I think I was reading A Shard of Ice, and I didn’t want to get up from my seat, even though everyone was moving. And I was like, ‘No, no, no, I haven’t finished yet. You don’t know what’s happening!'”
“I fell in love with them. It was such a wonder to read something so new, a fresh take on the genre,” Cavill told News.com.au. “It’s a dream come true. I consider myself very fortunate – I love acting anyway, but to be able to play a character who I play in my head anyway in my free time, whether it’s in the computer games or books, is a dream come true. I hope I’ve done it justice.”
This interview was taken before Season 1 was released on Netflix. By now, everyone knows that Cavill has done justice to the character, providing a memorable, and even iconic performance that kept improving with each season.
Finally, Henry is cast as Geralt
The showrunner and her team auditioned 207 actors for the part of Geralt of Rivia. Showrunner Lauren Hissrich told Gizmodo: “The really interesting thing is that I do think with casting you have to see everything to know that you have the right thing. And having met with Henry, I knew he wanted the show but that didn’t mean that he necessarily was the right person for the show. So I met everyone else that also thought they were the right person for the show.”
After these few months, the Netflix casting team invited Henry Cavill to do an audition. For an actor of this caliber, some may have considered this an insult, but Cavill is humble and didn’t let Hollywood ego blind him. His passion for the project was too large to miss the opportunity. Henry Cavill was the first and last to audition for the role of Geralt.
In the BBC One interview, Cavill described that call from his agent. And then they said, ‘Look, okay, so they’ve done the casting and you don’t have to do this but do you want to audition?’, and I said, ‘No, absolutely I do. This is Geralt of Rivia and I want to audition.’ I did a reading and I think I was given the role later that day… I’m incredibly fond of this character and I will fight tooth and nail for him, to do him justice.”
“We had great auditions,” Hissrich told Gizmodo. “But honestly I couldn’t get Henry’s voice out of my head as I started writing, and ultimately I called him back and said, ‘Are you still interested?’ And he was like, ‘Absolutely. What do I need to do?’ And I said, ‘I need to hear you be Geralt.’ So we both flew to New York and basically did an audition, and he was pretty much hired on the spot.”
On September 4, 2018, Netflix made the announcement. Henry Cavill would soon become Geralt of Rivia. Lauren Hissrich wrote on her Twitter at the time:
“He was my first meeting. I didn’t have writers or scripts yet – just a greenlight and a lot of passion. That was four months ago, and I’ve never forgotten the passion he brought. He IS Geralt. He always has been. I’m so thrilled to welcome HENRY CAVILL to the Witcher family.“
How Geralt evolved throughout the filming of Season 1
Our first look at Henry Cavill suited up as Geralt of Rivia was a controversial one. The Legolas wig was one of many details of Geralt’s portrayal that evolved throughout the filming of the first Season.
In a recent interview with Metro, executive producer Tomek Baginski recalled the initial fan reaction and the multiple iterations of Cavill’s Geralt in Season 1. “I also remember what were the first reactions for Henry years ago in 2018. At that time, a lot of people couldn’t imagine this character being played by Henry Cavill, because, ‘Oh he’s too muscular.’ There was a ton of different opinions all over the internet. And then we released first materials and then we released first trailers and finally [it] was like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting. That actually is working, that’s actually going quite well.'”
It was not just the wig that changed, nor Geralt’s armor. One major evolution was Geralt’s raspy voice, which was adopted by Cavill during filming of Episode 3. Cavill described his voice revelation during the WitcherCon livestream.
“Physicality and mannerisms take, I find, take time because it’s about living in the skin of the character. And unless you’re doing rehearsals all day long, which often isn’t the case, it’s about time on-screen and time interacting. And then you find it. And then you find that place where the character sits within yourself. Voice-wise, I do remember saying to Lauren, I was like, so for the rehearsal with Alik and Lauren, not rehearsal, for the audition, and I said, “Do you want me to put like a bit of rasp in my voice or anything?” And they were like, ‘No, no. Just your normal voice.’ I was like, ‘Oh, okay… okay cool.’ And I was like, that’s a cool way to go. And did that and obviously got the role.”
“And then I found throughout shooting, there was one, I think it was Episode 3, actually King Foltest, that scene where I lock everyone out of the room and walk back in. I didn’t do that intentionally. That happened by accident. And that was after the Christmas break. And then afterwards, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I just played a whole scene in the wrong voice.’ And I realized that that voice made a lot of things sit better when it came to delivery of certain lines and the delivery of certain dialogue. And I thought, ‘I actually kind of prefer this.’
“And I know it’s very similar to Doug Cockle’s amazing work. That was definitely a concern of mine. I thought, ‘I don’t seem like I’m plagiarizing another professional’s extraordinary work,’ and I had a look at it, had a listen to it, and I thought, actually, they are different enough. It’s clearly inspired by, but I did my own thing. And then I spoke to Alik and I spoke to Lauren and they both said, ‘It’s okay, actually, if you want to do that, we can go with that. And we’ll redo the rest.’ We actually ended up reshooting a lot anyway, so I could go back to do the voice which felt natural to me.”
Cavill passes the ultimate test in a meeting with Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski
By the time Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski visited the set, Cavill had found his Geralt. The author visited the set during the filming of the iconic fight scene between Geralt and the striga, which occurred in the show’s third episode. Cavill told News.com.au of the experience: “I was very nervous to meet him. I was in full Geralt hair and costume, and I was wondering what he was going to think. I’m about to do this stunt which involved dropping 15-20 feet. [The fall] was backwards, and I had someone on top of me.”
It was an anxious day on set for Cavill for both these reasons: a challenging stunt which he performed in front of the author of Cavill’s beloved franchise. Fortunately, Sapkowski brought the tongue-in-cheek humor so common in the novel to the set, breaking the ice quite nicely. “The first thing he said was ‘I didn’t write this, so it’s not my fault! You can’t blame me!’”
And this is what the Polish author had to say some months later in an interview with People magazine: “I was more than happy with Henry Cavill’s appearance as The Witcher. He’s a real professional. Just as Viggo Mortensen gave his face to Aragorn [in The Lord of the Rings], so Henry gave his to Geralt — and it shall be forever so.”
Henry Cavill did all of Geralt’s stunts
Season 1 of The Witcher was a huge success for Netflix. Despite some major changes from the books, most fans of the franchise agreed that the show began with a solid first season, and with a very promising future. A key reason, and perhaps the biggest reason, was the cast. Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer, Freya Allan’s Ciri and Joey Batey’s Jaskier grew very popular very quickly and were universally beloved, and so was Henry Cavill’s Geralt. Within hours, a dozen different memes flooded the internet featuring Cavill’s Geralt. The fans fell in love with Cavill’s portrayal, as his dedication and passion was clear in his performance from the very first episode.
The unforgettable fight scene in the town of Blaviken from the show’s Pilot episode cemented not only the inhuman strength and speed of Geralt but also the physicality of Henry Cavill. Throughout the show, Cavill chose to do his own stunts every single time, and in this fight, he worked alongside choreographer Wolfgang Stegemann. Cavill had recruited Stegemann himself to reshoot this iconic scene after their collaboration on Mission Impossible: Fallout. Every frame of this fight scene was carefully chosen to depict Geralt’s various abilities, including his skills with the sword and his spells, called Witcher Signs. But what really steals the show is Geralt’s emotional confrontation with Renfri.
Cavill spoke of his mission to do all of Geralt’s stunts with Variety. “For me, when it comes to that kind of thing like stunts, I’ve always enjoyed doing the physical stuff. Working with Tom Cruise [on “Mission: Impossible — Fallout”] really helped — or maybe, in the eyes of the producers, made worse my enjoyment for stunts. I really want to do them now, and I think it’s an essential piece to the character. If an audience is watching Geralt on-screen, they must believe that it is me. If it’s not me, I feel like I’ve betrayed the character in some way, and so I try and do as much as a production will let me.”
Most recently, Season 1 director Marc Jobst discussed with ScreenRant about Henry’s dedication to the role and his very strict and challenging schedule. “Henry does every single beat of his stunts, he won’t even allow a hand, if you’re doing a close up of a hand grabbing a sword, it has to be his hand. So, normally, what you do is you bring in a double, Henry will go off and shoot some other scene in which he’s in somewhere else, and you get somebody else into the hand, so that you don’t have to bother your number one. Henry won’t do that, and as a result of that, the results are extraordinary. You’re working with an incredible athlete, first and foremost, who works out hours before, and hours after, you’ve been shooting for 12 hours, and who cares deeply about the work that he does.”
The cast reacts to Henry Cavill
One of the greatest friendships on the show and in the books is that of Geralt and Jaskier, and that friendship extends to the actors behind the scenes. Henry Cavill and Jaskier actor Joey Batey quickly became good friends, as Batey described in an interview held by Wirtualna Polska released shortly before Season 1 red carpet premiere.
“We absolutely adore each other. Last night, for example, we were at the London premiere and I was a bit tired, and I needed a break from all the chaos of everything. So, I found a small room and there was a piano in it, and I just went and to calm myself down, I try and just play some music. And I played for about five minutes, just playing away, and then I turned to my right and Henry was just sitting there. He snuck in and was just listening, and we both had this little moment where we were like, oh yeah. There’s something special which you just really can’t manufacture or fabricate in any particular way.
“Thank god for that, because I turned up on my first day of rehearsals and within minutes we were laughing and joking. We have a very similar sense of humor, yeah, we make each other laugh, which can be a bit chaotic on set. So Henry is a really funny person, yeah, he tries very hard to make it look like he’s very serious but, no, he’s a total goofball.”
Speaking to GamingBible, Freya Allan described Cavill as a ‘Witcher bible’ on set: “He’s an absolute Witcher expert. 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. It’s very cool having someone who is, basically, like a Witcher bible.“
But of course, the most iconic relationship in the show belongs to Geralt and Yennefer. The wonderful Yennefer actress Anya Chalotra was recently asked by Variety about working with Henry, and whether his being a big lore nerd created issues on set. In short, her answer was absolutely not.
“No, it’s a breath of fresh air to have someone to work with that loves the material. It really is. Because he knows more than anyone about the world of The Witcher, and all the rules and regulations and the terms and Witcher knowledge — he’s up there. So to work with that, it’s a blessing because there are days when you might disbelieve the world a little bit more than the next. And he’s there to go, ‘Hang on, we’ve got this.’
“He’s very involved in his understanding and portrayal of this character, and it’s something that he’s always been so passionate about from day one, about these characters and this story. That’s all I’ve ever known is his dedication to Geralt and to this narrative.”
Henry Cavill listened to the fans and made a big change between Seasons 1 and 2
Season 1 was, undeniably, a huge success. However, some fans and especially book readers still had some criticism to share, in addition to all the memes and praise. Some of that criticism was also about Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Geralt, and to be specific, a choice made by Cavill and the showrunner in the first season to reduce Geralt’s dialogue and make him more of a “strong silent type” character than the incredibly verbose and opinionated Geralt we met in the books.
“In the first episode, I wrote Geralt with a lot of lines,” showrunner Lauren Hissrich told EW. “Henry shot them all, and in the edit, we started pulling some of them out. Henry brings subtitles to this character, finding emotional resonance in small moments, and playing it in such a subtle way that you understand what the character is going through without necessarily having huge chunks of dialogue. By the time we got to episode 108 — the finale of the first season — we didn’t even shoot half the dialogue because we knew there was so much Henry could do with Geralt that didn’t require my words.”
Viewers who have not read the books found this interpretation of Geralt immensely entertaining, hence all the Geralt memes about him grunting and cursing all the time. But book readers were a bit disappointed, and shared their opinions online. Thankfully, Henry Cavill read these opinions and made adjustments to his Geralt accordingly, as he confirmed in the WitcherCon interview.
“Yes, I was out there. I was looking at all, the memes I found hilarious. I really did. I really enjoy that stuff. I do spend a lot of time sneaking around Reddit, and reading all the forums, because that, just the audience, is who this is for. And… I listen to them. And I think it’s very important to listen to an audience and see what everyone’s saying. So even if you didn’t nail it the first time, you can start to adjust, you can start to tweak. You can start to sort of caress it into something which is, does honor to the amazing material that Sapkowski created. And so I was reading, yeah, positive and negative, and it’s, I think it’s important to do it, it’s really important.”
In the same interview, he described his push to make Geralt more verbose in Season 2. “For me, the important thing this season was to bring Geralt as close to the books as the vision and the plot would allow. And I wanted him to be more verbose, more of an intellectual, more representative of a man who’s lived 70 years and has a philosophical lean and yeah, can be mopey at times but is also, he’s wise. He’s been around, and he’s a nice guy, despite the fact that he has moments of unpleasantness and is very capable of doing extraordinary violence. His intentions are often, and that’s the tragedy of the character, pure. And so I wanted to really reflect that as much as possible.
“And it’s very easy to fall down the line of him being the ‘Grumpy Snowman’. And there’s a comedy aspect to that. I wanted to lean away from that. I want it to be less about, I played the Season 1 way deliberately, which was him out in the wilds and without the opportunity for vast swathes of dialogue. It’s, I thought best, be the man who says less because that seems like he’s thinking more. And that was the intention with that. But once you get into a scenario with Cirilla, and the Witchers and his home space and with those people who he already knows, then it was of my opinion that, I was of the opinion that you had to let him be verbose and be philosophical and speak more and be intellectual, because that’s what he is. He’s not just a big old white-haired brute.”
The times Henry Cavill campaigned for a book-accurate Geralt
Besides asking the writers for a more verbose and intellectual Geralt in Season 2, Cavill and his costars mentioned two other occasions where he had pushed for a more book-accurate adaptation of Geralt.
One of these moments happened in Geralt and Yennefer’s reunion in Epsiode 6 of Season 2. In the scripts, their meeting led almost immediately to a passionate sex scene. In an interview with SyFy, Cavill discussed sex scenes and working with Anya, and that led him to reveal his and Anya’s disagreement with the original script.
“Well, one always rehearses these things to a degree. Anya is an exceptional actress and when it comes to these things we do like to keep it fresh and as real as possible. And so if one over-rehearses then it takes some of the magic out of the moments.” Then, Cavill discussed the scene mentioned above, that did not sit well with himself or Chalotra. “We just wanted to be very careful that it was true and real and it didn’t turn into something that we, as actors, didn’t believe it should be. We wanted it to be emotional rather than sexual. It was really, really important and we had to lean away from what was originally on the page.
These are people who believe one thing about the fate of another, and then find out something else is true, that’s not how they behave. How they behave is they just want to be with the person and emotionally recognize their existence again in that shared space. So, Anya and I worked to make sure that that was an emotional beat rather than anything else.”
In the same Season 2 episode, Geralt and Ciri are attacked by a monster, and Geralt’s beloved mare Roach dies. The original script included a moment where Geralt uses a piece of Roach’s fractured bone to kill the monster, a scene the production labeled as “Roach’s Revenge”. After the monster was killed, Geralt was originally going to mention that this one was “his favorite Roach”. This is of course a reference to the fact that Geralt names all his horses Roach in the books.
“It seemed like a bit of negligence on Geralt’s part,” Henry told Digital Spy. And though this scene was reportedly filmed as written, Cavill decided to wing it in one of the other takes and switch the reference with a eulogy to Roach based on an iconic scene that was cut from the show. He described this addition in a Polish interview with Marcin Zwierzchowski.
“There is a fragment right at the beginning of Blood of Elves where Geralt loses consciousness on Sodden Hill. Geralt experiences a vision at the moment and talks to Death. Then, beautiful words are uttered about crossing the meadow and the fog,” Cavill begins, talking about a scene that happens not really in Blood of Elves, but rather at the end of Something More.
“There was no such scene in the series,” he continues, “And these words captivated me with their poetry, they were so wonderfully ‘Sapkowski’ that I wanted them to be spoken by my Geralt. However, I did not feel like having long discussion about whether I could add this bit somewhere. So I just did it, said the words in front of the camera, and was ready to face the consequences. Eventually, this issue hit the mark in Season 2.”
“Henry was so unhappy with the line,” showrunner Lauren Hissrich recalls in an interview with Polygon. “Finally I said, ‘You know what, you come up with something. I trust you, you know this material so well, you know the book so well, you don’t even have to pitch it to me.’ And he came back the next day with a beautiful speech that’s at the end of Sword of Destiny when Geralt is facing death and it’s such a pitch-perfect moment.”
Henry asked to give Ciri her big monster fight in Season 3
Geralt is not just a father figure to Ciri, but also her tutor in the ways of the witchers, and though Ciri would never undergo the Trial of the Grasses, she becomes somewhat of a witcheress herself. Ciri actress Freya Allan knew this, which is why she was pushing for a chance to have Ciri face off with a monster in Season 2, but her requests were rejected at the time.
“It’s like every season I’m not satisfied in terms of the fighting,” Allan told TheWrap in an interview about her work on Season 2. “This season I was like, ‘Can’t I just fight the monster?’ and they were like ‘No, we have to leave something [for future seasons].’”
In Season 3, Ciri fights multiple monsters, but her biggest fight was against the Aeschna on the chain ferry in Episode 4. As it turns out, it was not originally meant to be a scene so focused on Ciri, and it was Henry Cavill who made that happen, as he says during the Making The Witcher: Season 3 documentary released on Netflix.
“It’s something that [stunt choreographer Wolfgang Stegemann] and I worked on, and I asked Wolfie to make the fight more about Ciri, rather than about Geralt. And it is a rather alternate father-daughter moment, where he allows her to do the work. And he will cover her when she overexposes herself. If you watch the fight carefully, you’ll see there are a couple of strikes that he puts in there which would’ve otherwise killed Ciri. But he’s letting her do all the work, and it’s putting her training to the test.”
And of course, this was a big moment for Freya Allan. “That was so fun, I just loved the fights. And then, getting to do one with Henry. I mean, I’ve been waiting for this moment. It’s the first time you see them fight properly together.”
The next time Geralt and Ciri fight side by side is likely to be at the very end, on the bloody staircase of Stygga Castle. But even if the show will adapt this iconic moment from the books, Freya Allan will be paired with a very different Geralt.
Something Ends, Something Begins
On October 29, Cavill released a statement on his Instagram account to announce that he was giving up the wig and the two swords.
“Some news to share from The Continent… 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. 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.”
Always the gentleman, Cavill passed the torch to Liam Hemsworth respectfully. “Liam, good sir, this character has such a wonderful depth to him, enjoy diving in and seeing what you can find.”
This undoubtedly shook the entire fandom and it hasn’t been the same ever since.
Henry Cavill’s emotional farewell to his Witcher costars
Throughout most of the marketing of Season 3, Henry Cavill had avoided the fact that it would be his final season of the show, and it seems that this was an intentional PR move. But on the stage of TUDUM, Netflix’s annual fan event revealing new glimpses at upcoming content, Jaskier actor Joey Batey called the matter to attention.
“I suppose we should talk to Henry?” Batey asked. “I mean, maybe? Henry, tell us about filming your final season with us!“
This led to an immense uproar among the audience, and Cavill seemed rather moved by the gesture. “Goodness me, thank you very much, everyone. I really feel the love, and I love you guys, too. It’s so wonderful to be here. But I’m going to talk about what it was like filming my final season. And I actually just want to talk about my co-stars here. Because, once again, it was such a pleasure and an honor to be working with you guys.”
“You guys bring so much nuance and detail to these characters which are often at risk of being oversimplified, and what you guys have done with the characters has involved work, care, and effort. And, believe me, working with you guys was the biggest pleasure. So, uh, I just wanted to say I’m going to miss you. I’m going to miss you very much.”
Batey then gave Cavill a standing ovation in the name of the cast, and indeed the viewers. “Henry Cavill, everybody! Well, our time is almost up, and we of course cannot ignore that this is your last season with us, Henry! From us, from everyone here, apparently, we want to thank you so, so much for your incredible contribution to The Witcher across three seasons. And we love you.”
Later, Cavill gave his final farewell to everyone on June 25, 2023 via his Instagram:
“In my happy place this Sunday, cooking away in the Wild Kitchen with my lady and my hounds. I just wanted to take a moment to say, officially, to the fans I met and stood in front of in Brazil, and Poland recently, that you have touched my heart. Thank you so very much. I want you to know that you are greatly appreciated. Thank you.“
Now, Season 3 has been released, and with it Henry Cavill’s final appearance as Geralt of Rivia. Though Cavill will move on, his spirit and passion have left an unmistakable mark on the franchise, one which will not soon be forgotten.
To put it simply, Henry Cavill was a fantastic Geralt, and this means Liam Hemsworth has some big shoes to step into. Hopefully, he will fill these shoes nicely and bring his own charm to the role. Meanwhile, we wish Cavill the best of luck in his future endeavors.