Last week ended on a sour note with the announcement that Henry Cavill will be taking off his white wig and hanging up his sword after The Witcher season 3. We’ll see more of Geralt, but Cavill’s moving on. Despite some iffy early pictures of him looking like a mediocre cosplayer, Cavill’s depiction of the White Wolf has become just as iconic and defining as Doug Cockle’s, so he’ll definitely be missed. We’re just a bit obsessed with Cavill in general here at PC Gamer, so naturally the mood is blue.
How are we handling the tragic news? What do we think of Australian interloper Liam Hemsworth? Would we rather see someone else in the tub? Read on for our reactions.
Fraser Brown, Online Editor: Cavill’s planned departure from The Witcher has opened the door to a lot of speculation, but whatever the reasons I can’t say I’m surprised that one of the world’s biggest movie stars doesn’t want to be locked into the same show year after year—especially not one that sees him perpetually covered in mud and gore and shoved into very tight trousers. This was bound to happen.
That said, it’s still a gargantuan loss for the show. I have no opinion on Liam Hemsworth—I’ve seen him in two movies and he did the job he was paid to do—but it’ll be tough getting used to seeing him performing a role that Cavill so defined. And I think fans will be hesitant to embrace him as the new witcher when season 4 comes around, unless Cavill seriously drops the ball next season.
It’s not just that Cavill’s performance is nuanced and immensely entertaining—it’s that we know he takes the gig seriously. He knows the source material, he knows the games and he treats the character like he’s a custodian, taking care of it and giving it respect—all things that keep fans happy. So he’s built a relationship with a sizable community. And it goes beyond this role in the show. Stuff like his obsession with Warhammer and his PC building video makes this Greek-statue-looking, Superman-playing Hollywood action hero seem relatable, and people lap that shit up. Even a miserable cynic like me. Playing Warhammer with Cavill is right at the top of my bucket list.
So the odds are stacked against the second most famous Hemsworth, though I do think he’ll at least look the part. He just needs to be scuffed up a bit.
Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: I’m going to harden my heart with some cynicism and say that this will not be the last or deepest disappointment. We’re witnessing an inflection point in The Witcher’s fanchisification, the capital letter Intellectual Property-ing. CD Projekt’s game series and the Netflix show both snatched success from initial skepticism. We’re statistically overdue for some real missed swings in this universe and if Hemsworth the younger doesn’t become one of them, it’ll be something else.
As Fraser says, Cavill really made a name for himself as the Executive Witcher Fan in recent years. We were skeptical at first, but then he started talking about building PCs and how he wanted the role because he’d read the books. Cavill’s enthusiasm may have been wielded for promotional purposes, but it was still nice to have a fellow PC gamer and Witcher fan in the show’s lead role. I’m still going to try being all grim and sensible about the change, but it is hard not to feel let down.
Lauren Aitken, Guides Editor: I was extremely unhappy with Cavill being cast as Geralt in the beginning, especially with those god awful prompt shots before he became buff and they got him a proper wig. Season 1’s Geralt’s hair was a bit too perfect and he was a bit too clean looking, but Cavill’s insistence on following the source material to the letter meant we got a softer, more unkempt and ultimately more dangerous Geralt in season two. Season three Geralt could be the best TV Geralt possible without dubbing Doug Cockle’s gravelly tones over Cavill’s voice.
I’m so used to seeing Cavill’s buff Geralt interpretation that it’s difficult to imagine there might be a more worn down, haggard type. Maybe we should let Liam run free and bring out an Australian accent—nobody said the Rivians couldn’t sound like our pals from down under. Not sure shouting “Crikey, she’s a beauty!” at a Bruxa is going to have the same effect as muttering “Fuck”, though.
Andy Chalk, NA News Lead: Plenty of people predicted that Heath Ledger would fail miserably as the Joker because Jack Nicholson owned the role so completely, and like Lauren I had powerful doubts about Henry as Geralt when I saw those first test shots. So I’m trying to keep an open mind about this recasting. But I just can’t envision Dollar Store Thor filling the role convincingly: He’s too young, too small, too tender. I hope he proves me wrong, but even if he does it won’t soften the real blow: I feel incredibly let down by Henry. You can’t blame a man for chasing the money, I know, and I’m not mad—just very, very disappointed.
Imogen Mellor, Feature Producer: I actually thought it was a Hard Drive article when I first heard of the recasting. It feels almost ridiculous to recast someone so important to the series like this, but there must be a lot of trust in Liam Hemsworth’s capabilities for them to believe he can pull it off. Either that or The Witcher is too successful for them to let go, Cavill or no Cavill. Either way, I don’t envy Hemsworth’s position. I just kind of wish they had picked someone a little older than Cavill, rather than younger.
Get your first look at Henry Cavill in The Witcher! pic.twitter.com/1O2eWS1MkPOctober 31, 2018
Rich Stanton, senior editor: It’s definitely something to do with his Hollywood roles I think. DC is clearly gunning to have a more serious crack at the superhero extended nonsense.
Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: Steroids, plastic surgery, and crossfit have made leading men a dime a dozen. There are too many of them. Any even moderately successful comedian will be captured by Disney, injected with human growth hormone, and made to hit a tire with a hammer one million times so he can mug at the camera as the obscure Jack Kirby character Captain Doodoo and say “did that really just happen?”
Cavill’s got them all beat: He’s the hunk’s hunk, a man to lead all the other leading men. He killed it as Geralt, and all respect to Liam, I hope he proves me wrong, but I don’t want to see the off-brand version of Cavill’s performance.
I wish Netflix had leaned into the skid: recast Cavill with someone who looks nothing like him. Ride the lightning, baby. The hunks have had their day, let’s bring back character actors. Give me a sphinxlike and wry Mads Mikkelson Geralt. Show me the raw sexual charisma of a Matt Berry Geralt. Hell, maybe even the bracing manic energy of a Nic Cage or Paul Giamatti Geralt. This could have been an opportunity, not a tragedy.