Over the weekend, Netflix renewed The Witcher, one of its flagship shows, for a fourth season. But that renewal comes with a major casting change that isn’t sitting well with fans.
In Netflix’s announcement for The Witcher season 4, it revealed that Henry Cavill—who originated Geralt of Rivia for the show—would be leaving after season 3. But this isn’t a slow goodbye for a character getting written out of the show. It’s a full-on recasting, and in the same announcement revealing Cavill’s exit, Netflix also announced who would end up in Geralt’s saddle next: Liam Hemsworth, best known for his role in the Hunger Games films.
The statements from Cavill and Hemsworth both expressed admiration for each other while each one—Cavill’s departure and Hemsworth’s arrival—highlighted their love of the character.
“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. “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 a Witcher fan I’m over the moon about the opportunity to play Geralt of Rivia,” Hemsworth said. “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. 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.”
We likely won’t be seeing what Hemsworth’s Geralt will look like for quite some time; The Witcher’s third season starring Cavill won’t debut until the summer of 2023. Netflix’s announcement gives us plenty of time to get used to the idea of Hemsworth as the newest iteration of the White Wolf. Cavill didn’t give a reason why he was leaving The Witcher, but he recently confirmed his return to the DC Comics universe as Superman, hinting there was more to come.
The Witcher is one of Netflix’s more popular shows—it’s already sparked an animated spinoff and a prequel starring Michelle Yeoh—and Cavill’s Geralt is part of its success. But whether they don’t want to see Cavill leave, a new actor taking on a character Cavill made his own, or they have opinions about Hemsworth as an actor, many fans seem to be in agreement with one thing: Hemsworth isn’t it.
Several videos included screaming or protesting the move emerged.
@realladyhightower Hes australian hes gonna br like “yennefaurrrr naurrr” #thewitcher #henrycavill #liamhemsworth #hotd ♬ original sound – Cody Paugel
@blurayangel11 Liam Hemsworth to replace Henry Cavill as the Witcher #thewitcher #henrycavill #liamhemsworth #blurayangel #marvel #mcu #marveltok #film #filmtok #movietok #series #dceu #dcmovie #fyp ♬ Um excuse me wtf – posts with 2% effort
Several Photoshops of Hemsworth of Geralt of Rivia emerged, some of which were better than others, to illustrate potential failings in the casting.
@dan.bren I’m gonna miss Henry so much #thewitcher #geraltofrivia #geralt #henrycavill #liamhemsworth #thewitchernetflix #thewitcher3 #thewildhunt #witcher3 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #danbren ♬ dźwięk oryginalny – Big Mouth
But some people felt for Hemsworth for being put in a near-impossible situation.
“I’m genuinely feeling bad for Liam Hemsworth right now because even if he does an amazing job, he’ll never be Henry, he’ll never be the version of Geralt we already love,” @theviscountjask wrote. “Recasting a main character, the face of the show, and having the audience to embrace it is almost impossible.”
The Witcher is far from the only show to recast major roles, although it doesn’t tend to happen with something like this unless it’s Doctor Who (which has the recasting of the titular role written into the show’s fabric); more often, characters are killed off or written out. But Hemsworth is now in the unenviable position of not only taking over a big role that a beloved actor already played for several seasons but also carrying a franchise on his shoulders.