Why Henry Cavill Left ‘The Witcher’ After Three Seasons
Why did Henry Cavill break our hearts?
Shockwaves went through The Witcher fanbase on October 29, 2022, when Netflix announced that star Henry Cavill would be departing the show. Cavill has portrayed the main character, Geralt of Rivia, since the show’s premiere in 2019. After the news was announced, he made his final appearance as Geralt in season 3 of The Witcher. The show has been renewed for a fourth season, with Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) taking over as Geralt.
While the news was surprising for many, Netflix’s decision to replace Cavill is understandable. In The Witcher, Geralt, a magically enhanced monster-hunter, is the lead of the series. If Cavill couldn’t continue portraying Geralt for whatever reason, it would’ve brought the series to an end unless a new actor took on the part. Given that The Witcher is one of Netflix’s most popular and most-watched shows, it seemed unlikely that Netflix would bring the series to an end because its lead actor stepped down.
Reaction to the news has been pretty mixed. Admittedly, replacing the fan-favorite star of a show is a pretty risky move. In addition, many pointed out that Cavill was an intense fan of The Witcher and that his passion and understanding of the source material gave him an edge in portraying the role. It’s hard to say if Hemsworth will give Geralt the same depth that Cavill did. Cavill’s strong performance as Geralt and his status as a fan of The Witcher also makes it harder to understand why he left.
So why is Henry Cavill no longer in The Witcher?
Neither Netflix nor Cavill have given a reason for his departure. Cavill did acknowledge the replacement on social media but only expressed his gratitude for the role and passed the torch to Hemsworth.
Many fans have assumed that Cavill’s departure has something to do with his former commitments to DC/Warner Bros. and his role as Superman. The timing of the announcement was suspiciously close to the release of Black Adam, in which Cavill reprises his role as Superman in a post-credits scene. Unfortunately, after announcing his departure from The Witcher, Cavill revealed that he actually wasn’t returning as Superman in the DCU due to James Gunn and Peter Safran’s decision to recast the role. It’s unclear if Superman ever was the reason that Cavill left The Witcher, though.
A few months seems like a short period for Netflix to have received notice of his departure and found a replacement. Another fan theory is that Cavill was disappointed in the direction of The Witcher. As mentioned above, Cavill is a huge fan of the source material (both Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series and the video game series by Projekt Red) and even expressed a desire for his character’s portrayal to be truer to the books. A former producer on the show claimed that some writers on The Witcher actively did not like the source material, which probably didn’t help matters.
While rumors and speculation should not rule us, it is likely that taking creative liberties with the source material and allegedly mocking it wouldn’t sit right with Cavill. Ultimately, it’s unknown why Cavill left, though it’s entirely possible it was something as minor as scheduling conflicts or wishing to move on to new projects. Even though Superman and The Witcher are both now off the table, Cavill is currently developing a Warhammer 40k TV show with Amazon.
The Witcher cast and crew address Cavill’s departure
Now that season 3 has aired, Cavill’s stint on The Witcher has officially concluded. The series finale gave little indication of how his departure will be handled in-show or if it will be addressed at all. Meanwhile, the series director and cast have commented on Cavill’s role in the show. Director Marc Jobst said that Cavill was the backbone of the show, and detailed the grueling work he put in for his role, including doing all of his own stunts. Cavill reportedly put in 12 hours days on set, while also working out to maintain his physique between filming.
Meanwhile, Cavill’s co-star Anya Chalotra denied rumors that Cavill left because of creative differences on the set of The Witcher. According to Chalotra, Cavill was simply dedicated to bringing his character “to life in the best way.” While dispelling rumors and praising his performance, the cast and crew are continuing to respect his privacy by remaining quiet on the reasons for his departure. This means that, unless Cavill chooses to speak on the issue, viewers likely won’t know the true reason why he left The Witcher.
(featured image: Netflix)
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