The watchers of The Witcher have come to know and adore Henry Cavill as the mighty Geralt of Rivia, which made the news that the British actor would be stepping down from the role quite a shock. In his place will step up Liam Hemsworth who will replace Cavill in the role in season four. While viewers will have to get used to a new face after three seasons, this might not have been the case.
According to a report from Redanian Intelligence (via Eurogamer), the youngest Hemsworth brother was once among the favourites to play Geralt back in 2018, which is when the role was being cast. We don't know if he made it to the top three choices, but he was "definitely" among the frontrunners, according to the outlet.
So the Liam Hemsworth re-casting might not have come out of nowhere, or followed many further auditions, as according to Redanian's sources there was no extensive casting process for Cavill's replacement as the show's producers seemingly went back to their old frontrunners and considered Hemsworth the top choice.
This follows last week's announcement that Henry Cavill would be leaving the show. Netflix confirmed that The Witcher Season 4 will no longer star the British actor and that Liam Hemsworth would step into the Geralt role. There were reports that Cavill, who is a fan of both the books and the CDPR games, had disagreements with the showrunners on how Geralt was portrayed with the actor wanting more background and context for the character so viewers had a better sense of the character as he is in Andrzej Sapkowski's novels.
You could even sense this in Cavill's statement as the handover was announced. "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 4," Cavill said. But take note of the next part.
"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 reverance 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".
From his statement, it seems fairly obvious that Cavill enjoys the literary origins of the character, and perhaps he wanted more of that nuance and depth in the on screen version. For what it's worth, Liam Hemsworth returned the compliment in his statement, but it made no mention of his previous involvement in the casting process.
"As a Witcher fan I'm over the moon about the opportunity to play Geralt of Rivia. 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," Hemsworth said.
"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."
While we have yet to see Liam's portrayal of Geralt, many fans are unhappy about Cavill exiting the stage. In fact there's a petition calling for The Witcher to keep Henry Cavill as Geralt and to replace the show's writers instead. The Change.org petition – "NETFLIX: You MUST keep Henry Cavill as The Witcher and replace the writers instead" – is currently on around 137,000 signatories, at the time of writing, and is therefore close to the 150,000 needed to become one of the site's "top signed".
While Cavill may have been a true believer in the books, and may have even left the show due to friction with the show's producers over his desire for a closer rendition of the literary source, it is undeniable that the show so far has been a hit with audiences. Following the show's debut in December 2019, it's been a smash for Netflix and popular in many territories. We'll have to see if it continues its success with a new actor in the role.
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