It’s one of the most surprising cast shake-ups in recent memory — replacing Henry Cavill with Liam Hemsworth as the lead in The Witcher for Season 4.
The news, announced in November 2022, was met with polarized reactions — leaving fans to wonder how exactly Netflix’s adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s books would farewell Cavill, who has been successfully fine-tuning his version of the beloved character since 2019. Would The Witcher pull a Doctor Who regeneration scene, exchanging one actor for another but making narrative sense? Would they kill off the titular hero, replacing Geralt with another witcher altogether? Reader, they did neither.
In the final episode of The Witcher Season 3, Volume 2, Cavill’s last scene as Geralt is, fittingly, an exhilarating fight scene — one in which the witcher finally gets off his favored bench of political neutrality and picks a damn side. In a moment of Robin Hood energy, Geralt assists a family trying to cross the Nilfgaardian border, turned away by the empire’s corrupt guards. In a rare point of moral duty, inspired by his love Yennefer’s (Anya Chalotra) words, Geralt absolutely destroys the battalion, taking on about 30 armed guards in his signature unbeatable form, whirling through the motions as the camera keeps up, with assistance from the bard Jaskier (Joey Batey) and kickass new character Milva (Meng’er Zhang). Having served justice, the three of them stride on into Nilfgaard, grab some horses, and walk onward to rescue Ciri (Freya Allan).
A hell of a final scene for Cavill.
Credit: Susie Allnutt
It’s at this moment that Cavill’s Geralt simply walks into the next chapter, out of focus, and into the credits. Essentially, The Witcher leaves you with no idea of how Hemsworth’s Geralt will roll into Season 4. Exactly when Season 4 will be released is also up in the air — production is likely pushed to 2024, as the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes see many TV shows and movies on hiatus until a deal is struck.
So what we’re left with is a pretty damn open book for Hemsworth to take a page from, as Season 4 will inevitably draw Geralt, Jaskier, Milva, and Yennefer toward Nilfgaard, where Emhyr var Emreis (Bart Edwards) — aka The White Flame and Ciri’s very much alive father — believes he has successfully returned Ciri to his side (he hasn’t).
Following the news of Cavill’s imminent departure from the show, Mashable’s Belen Edwards wrote about how Season 3 could end, and what The Witcher could do to introduce Hemsworth as Geralt — notably suggesting that the bard Jaskier could be the key to smoothing over the adjustment with some tongue-in-cheek lyricism. But it’s unclear whether the show will acknowledge the change at all, which could prove an issue with fans.
Joey Batey’s Jaskier might have to sing us out of this one.
Credit: Susie Allnutt
“Season 4 of The Witcher may still be a while aways, but the worst thing it could do is treat the new casting like it’s business as usual,” Edwards wrote. “This isn’t a House of the Dragon time jump situation where we need new actors because a character has aged up — this is a full-on replacement of the lead. The Witcher needs to find some way to maintain its fans’ trust after such a big change, and the solution may very well be leaning into the strangeness of the entire situation. That’s right: It’s time for The Witcher to get meta.
“Of course, it may be difficult for the show to poke meta fun at itself while maintaining its tone,” she continued. “We can’t have Hemsworth turning to camera and going, ‘I bet you’re wondering how I ended up here,’ but we can’t have The Witcher stay completely silent on the matter either.”
Sadly, Season 3 gives us nothing to work with besides a stride into the woods, and Geralt did almost die this season, so maybe that can still happen. We’ll likely have to wait until 2025 to see how this all rolls out.