The story behind Henry Cavill’s exit from The Witcher

Henry Cavill in The Witcher season 3. Cr: Netflix.
Henry Cavill in The Witcher season 3. Cr: Netflix. /

After hanging up his Superman cape, Henry Cavill stepped into the role of monster hunter on Netflix’s adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s popular book series The Witcher. Cavill played Geralt of Rivia for three seasons before ultimately exiting the dark fantasy show. But the show must go on and all that.

The Witcher has already been renewed for a fourth season and a rumored fifth (and final) season. The Hunger Games alum Liam Hemsworth will take over as Geralt moving forward, picking up his silver and steel swords as he tries to find Ciri after the devastating way The Witcher season 3 ended. So, what happened that made this recast a necessity?

Well, in October 2022, Henry Cavill announced he would no longer be playing Geralt, writing:

"Some news to share from The Continent…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. 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 reverence 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."

As to why Cavill left, we don’t have an exact reason. He’s never said anything about it apart from the aforementioned Instagram statement, though there are plenty of rumors, with the most significant being that Cavill wasn’t happy with the show’s direction after the second season veered away from the source material with several significant storylines.

During an interview with Philstar, Cavill said he pushed for some changes in the sophomore season, asking for a more “book-accurate” Geralt and requests revolving around keeping as close to Sapkowski’s books as possible.

"“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. It’s about treading a fine line there. It’s the showrunners’ story and so it’s an adaptation. The tricky bit for me was finding Geralt from the books’ place within that and being able to serve both as much as I could.”"

Season 3 was probably the most book-accurate season of The Witcher yet, adapting the bulk of Time of Contempt and even some stuff from Blood of Elves that got skipped over in season 2. So it’s interesting that Cavill would decide that was his last season after the change in pace, but odds are we’ll never know the full truth of what happened behind-the-scenes.

DC Extended Universe
TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 22: Actor Henry Cavill attends the “Man of Steel” press conference at the Grand Hyatt on August 22, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage) /

The Superman/Witcher mix-up of 2022

On October 24, 2022, Cavill was given the go-ahead to announce his return to the DC universe via his Instagram. He told his fans he’d be back in the cape. Five days later he officially announced he would not be returning to The Witcher and Hemsworth would be stepping into the role of Geralt.

Then, in December 2022, he revealed that he was actually not coming back as Superman despite making a cameo in Black Adam earlier that year. Given the timing of his posts, it’s understandable why people might have thought his DC return would make him unable to continue as Geralt.

But in 2019, Cavill talked about juggling multiple projects and indicated it wouldn’t be a problem for him, saying:

"“You’ve got to keep in mind that regardless of what movies I’ll be doing over the next few years, you can fit two projects into one year.”"

Unfortunately for the Superman actor and his fans, new DC helmer James Gunn had a different vision for the hero that would no longer include Cavill’s iteration of Superman. Since then, David Corenswet has been cast as the titular superhero in the upcoming Superman: Legacy film due for a 2025 release.

As soon as it was announced that Cavill wasn’t coming back as Supes, people hoped he would just turn around and go back to Netflix, but that didn’t happen, seemingly signifying the end of the discussion suggesting Superman, specifically, took him away from the Continent.

The Witcher. Cr: Netflix.
The Witcher. Cr: Netflix. /

What’s next for Henry Cavill?

He’s said goodbye to two significant ones so far, but Cavill isn’t done with franchises just yet. Next, the actor will star in and executive produce a live-action “Warhammer Cinematic Universe” for Amazon.

He announced this project on his Instagram in December 2022. We haven’t gotten any new information on this proposed universe yet, likely due to the writing and acting strikes, but hopefully fans will receive some updates in 2024.

Apart from Warhammer, Cavill will re-team with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. director Guy Ritchie for a new action film co-starring Eiza Gonzalez and he’s also set to star in Lionsgate’s Highlander reboot, which has been in development for several years now. He also stars in Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming spy comedy Argylle, premiering in February 2024.

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