Ending The Witcher after Henry Cavill's exit was 'not something that we were willing to do,' showrunner says
Henry Cavill might be sheathing his sword, but The Witcher lives on.
The actor, who starred as the Netflix series' silver-haired hero Geralt of Rivia, announced in a statement last year that he would be stepping down from the role after its third season. His decision left the series at a unique crossroads, but showrunner Lauren Hissrich revealed that ending the story for good after his departure was one idea that was never on the table.
"I mean, we had the choice to have Geralt exit and to end the show," she told Total Film. "[But] that's not something that we were willing to do. There's just too many stories left to tell."
Netflix Henry Cavill in 'The Witcher'
It did, however, lead to a thorny question: Do you recast Geralt, or bring in a brand new Witcher? "If we replaced Geralt with another Witcher, we would be going fully away from the books," Hissrich explained, "and I don't think that's what anyone wanted either."
In the end, the series found a new actor to take up the mantle: Liam Hemsworth. The Hunger Games star will make his debut as Geralt in season 4, which was already greenlit by Netflix last year.
"We're all excited about Liam coming in," Hissrich said. "He's got enormous shoes to fill, but also has a lot of energy and a lot of excitement for it. It's obviously a brand new chapter for us. And there's a lot of feelings involved. But at the end of the day, we love what we're doing. So we're gonna keep going."
In his statement last October, Cavill said that his "journey as Geralt of Rivia has been filled with both monsters and adventures" and praised Hemsworth's forthcoming turn as the character. He added, "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."
Hemsworth, similarly, only had positive things to say about Cavill in his own statement. "Henry Cavill has been an incredible Geralt, and I'm honoured that he's handing me the reins and allowing me to take up the White Wolf's blades for the next chapter of his adventure," he wrote. "Henry, I've been a fan of yours for years and was inspired by what you brought to this beloved character. I may have some big boots to fill, but I'm truly excited to be stepping into the Witcher world."
Witcher fans will get to see Cavill return as the White Wolf for one last blaze of glory when the first half of its third season, which has been split into two parts, begins streaming on June 29. Speaking with EW in December, Hissrich revealed that the season will feature "the most heroic sendoff" for Cavill before it's through.
"Geralt's big turn is about giving up neutrality and doing anything that he has to do to get to Ciri. And to me, it's the most heroic sendoff that we could have, even though it wasn't written to be that," she said at the time. "Geralt has a new mission in mind when we come back to him in season 4. He's a slightly different Geralt than we expected. Now, by the way, that's an understatement."
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