If you’re a fan of Netflix fantasy series The Witcher, you’ve probably already heard the bad news. Henry Cavill, Geralt of Rivia himself, is not continuing with the TV series after The Witcher season 3. That means that the actor has swung his last sword, and killed his last kikimora as the Butcher of Blaviken.
Instead, and in even worse news, the character will be taken over by the lesser-Hemsworth, Liam. The Australian actor, who’s most famous for his time as Gale in the Hunger Games action movies, will be stepping into Cavill’s shoes from The Witcher season 4 onwards. Hemsworth’s suitability for the role aside (he’ll probably be fine) fans were hugely surprised, and disappointed, to see Cavill leaving the show.
The disappointment came because Cavill was able to breathe so much life into Geralt, and his performance and dedication to the role has carried the fantasy action series through its rougher patches. But, the surprise was just as substantial. Cavill has given next-to-no indication that he’d be leaving the show, and has been very open about how much he wanted the role in the first place thanks to his love for the source material. So that begs the question, why did Henry Cavill leave The Witcher, really?
Why did Henry Cavill leave The Witcher?
Henry Cavill hasn’t said anything about why he left The Witcher. In a statement posted to his social media, he simply confirmed the news, wished Liam Hemsworth well, and stated that he had enjoyed his time in-post. It was a short, no-nonsense goodbye, with no explanation as to why he was departing from one of the biggest series on TV.
However, there’s more than enough to go on as a basis for some good old-fashioned speculation. In our opinion, there are two main reasons why Cavill is likely cutting his time as the White Wolf short: Superman, and frustration.
The first is probably the biggest factor in the end of Cavill’s journey on the Continent. By now, everyone who’s seen Black Adam (as well as those lucky enough to not have seen Black Adam) knows that Henry Cavill is making his long-awaited return to the DC movies as Superman.
For the longest time, Cavill’s future as the Man of Steel had been up in the air, and it was unclear that he would ever be returning as Clark Kent. However, thanks to Dwayne Johnson’s influence Cavill’s future is newly secure, and there’s even a hint that Man of Steel 2 could be in the works in addition to the inevitable superhero movie team-up.
All that flying about in tight underwear demands a lot of time, and if Cavill’s career as Kal-El is about to get a jolt of life, it’s hard to imagine how he could juggle leading the DCEU and one of the the biggest Netflix series of all time. And that explanation, conflicting scheduling, could be it. That could be the only reason why Cavill is leaving The Witcher. It would be perfectly logical and understandable, because even though The Witcher is beloved by critics and general audiences alike, Superman is undeniably the bigger gig.
But, there’s another potential reason too, and it’s much, much juicer. For some time now, there have been rumours that Cavill has been unhappy with the direction of The Witcher. As a fan of the source material, Cavill has been clear that he likes it when the series matches Geralt’s journey as set out in Witcher lore. Speaking to Philstar, the actor said “The toughest part for me was finding that balance between the showrunners’ vision and my love for the books, and trying to bring that Geralt to the showrunners’ vision.”
He also said that he directly pushed for a more book-accurate portrayal, saying: “The things that I pushed for, it was not necessarily just more dialogue. It was bringing a more book-accurate Geralt to the screen.” While The Witcher is a great fantasy series, certainly up there near the top of the current crop, it’s not a particularly faithful adaptation in many regards.
Cavill has been surprisingly candid about struggling with this, and if he’s expressing his concerns in public, it’s safe to say that he feels very strongly on the subject. Perhaps the actor even felt strongly enough about the topic to cause him to depart the series, if the showrunners weren’t willing to match his vision for what The Witcher should be.
Of course, it could be a combination of both of these factors. Or, it could be something totally different. Don’t bet on that, though, and with time we’re sure more details will rise to the surface about exactly why Henry Cavill took the shock decision to leave The Witcher. In the meantime: it’s over to you, Liam Hemsworth.
For more from the world of The Witcher, check out our guide to the upcoming prequel series, The Witcher Blood Origin.