Henry Cavill has long been hinting at his dissatisfaction with The Witcher, and it sadly should come as no surprise that he’s departing. For Henry Cavill, the opportunity to play the character of Geralt was something of a dream come true. “I really enjoy playing these kind of games and reading these kinds of books in my spare time,” he observed in an interview back in 2019. “I don’t consider it a job. For me it is more like an extraordinary opportunity to live my childhood and adult life fantasies” (via Hobby Consolas). This, more than anything else, has made the recent news Cavill is leaving The Witcher after season 3 particularly shocking.
In truth, though, Cavill has been hinting at his displeasure with Netflix’s The Witcher franchise for quite some time. The problems stem from the very fact he is a fan of the source material – both the books and the games. He’s clearly wanted to be part of a faithful adaptation, one that brought to life everything he loved about Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels and those classic games. In contrast, however, the creative team behind The Witcher has clearly showed little respect for the source material, and the story feels as though it’s increasingly deviating from the one Cavill loves.
How The Witcher’s Writers Drove Cavill Away
Cavill had previously committed to The Witcher‘s seven-season plans, but in interviews he’d made it clear there was a caveat. He insisted he was only on board “as long as we can keep telling great stories which honor [author Andrzej] Sapkowski’s work” (via The Hollywood Reporter). That point has come up time and again, including when Cavill was pressed about whether his character Geralt could work with other Witchers more in future seasons. “It all depends on how much the story allows,” he observed in an interview published on The Witcher‘s YouTube channel. “I’m a huge fan of the books and staying loyal to them, and it’s about making sure that story happens without too much in the way of diversions or side things going on to muddy the waters.“
It’s long been clear the creative team working on The Witcher didn’t share that same attitude, however. The Witcher season 2’s ending went in a very different direction to Sapkowski’s books, complete with a main villain – the Deathless Mother – who doesn’t exist in the novels at all. A rare behind-the-scenes glimpse was recently provided by writer Beau DeMayo, who explained he’d left The Witcher in part because of the attitude some of his fellow writers had towards the games and novels. On an Instagram story, DeMayo claimed “some of [them] were not [fans] or actively disliked the books and games (even actively mocking the source material.)” It’s easy to see why a fan like Cavill would be unhappy with this approach and working environment.
What Cavill Leaving Means For The Witcher As An Adaptation
There have already been signs The Witcher season 3 will move away from the books, with Robbie Amell cast as what seems to be a major elf character who doesn’t even exist in Sapkowski’s works. Presumably The Witcher‘s writing team – and, indeed, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich – have no intention in strictly adhering to the source material going forward, leading to creative differences that made Cavill feel he could no longer be part of the hit Netflix show. This will surely infuriate some portions of the fanbase, meaning future seasons of The Witcher will be increasingly controversial.
The Rock May Have Helped Cavill Leave
Dwayne Johnson is known to have pushed for Cavill’s Black Adam cameo, outmaneuvering then-DC Films boss Walter Hamada to get his way. It’s entirely possible he played a part in encouraging Cavill to leave The Witcher as well, by offering him a shot at returning to the Superman franchise and becoming the Superman he had always wanted to be. It’s interesting to note, though, that Cavill is also reuniting with Guy Ritchie for The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, a spy thriller set during World War II. This will give Cavill an opportunity to play Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, and Ritchie hopes the film will be the beginning of another new franchise.
All this makes it seem as though some very attractive opportunities came up for Henry Cavill at the very moment The Witcher was taking a direction he disagreed with. The simplest solution was to jump ship, with Cavill departing and Liam Hemsworth taking over as Geralt from season 4 onwards. It’s disappointing news for lovers of Netflix’s The Witcher, and it leaves the franchise’s entire future in doubt. But it is a completely understandable decision on Cavill’s part.