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What the heck is going on with ‘The Witcher’?

Henry Cavill is out as Geralt of Rivia and fans are not having it

Jon Hornbuckle
Written by
Jon Hornbuckle

The Witcher is one of Netflix’s most successful shows, but the fantasy epic seems to match its own brutal medieval realm for off-screen drama. The latest plot twists involve a dramatic recasting of the title role, as well as rumours of tension in the writers’ room.

Henry Cavill has announced his departure from the role of Geralt of Rivia – the magical monster hunter whom the show is named after – with Liam Hemsworth taking over the role. Fans still have more Cavill action to come in the third season of The Witcher, but Hemsworth will take over thereafter.

‘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 four,’ said Cavill in an Instagram post. ‘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. Liam, good sir, this character has such a wonderful depth to him, enjoy diving in and seeing what you can find.’

The Witcher
Photograph: Courtesy Netflix/Jay MaidmentThe Witcher

While that all sounds amicable, social media has been rife with speculation that there could be more to the seemingly sudden exit. In the spirit of their sword-wielding medieval hero, many fans are up in arms.

Cavill’s departure definitely comes as a shock, with the actor a major driving force behind the show. As a long-time fan of the novels and video games upon which the Netflix series is based.

But it seems there could be tension in the writers’ room, with not everyone as devoted to the source material as Cavill and the audience.

Ebay DeMayo, an ex-producer and writer on the show, hinted at off-camera tension during an Instagram Q&A. Speaking about crew members not being fans of the shows they work on, DeMayo said: ‘I’ve been on shows - namely The Witcher – where some of the writers were not [fans] or actively disliked the books and games (even actively mocking the source material).

‘It’s 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.’

Knowing Cavill’s love for Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series, it’s easy to see how fans have jumped to the conclusion that he’s unhappy with the direction of the show.

The recasting also coincides rather neatly with Cavill return as Superman in a Black Adam mid-credits scene, with the actor promising fans that he’s back for good as the Man of Steel.

A petition urging Netflix to keep Cavill and replace the writers instead has accured more than 18,000 signatures.

Hemsworth’s casting is his most prominent casting since the tepid Independence Day sequel, with the actor so far failing to build on his success in The Hunger Games franchise.

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