The Witcher Books Have a Perfect Explanation for Hemsworth Replacing Cavill

The Witcher Books Have a Perfect Explanation for Hemsworth Replacing Cavill
Image credit: Netflix, Legion-Media

When in doubt, blame some magical woodland creatures.


  • Henry Cavill has departed Netflix 's The Witcher due to creative differences
  • He will be replaced in the upcoming seasons by Liam Hemsworth
  • The source material provides a possible explanation for why Geralt of Rivia will suddenly have a new face.

Fans of the Netflix fantasy series The Witcher should be filled with glee right now. After all, the world's biggest streaming service has axed a lot of fantasy shows in the last few years, including well-received ones like Shadow & Bone and Warrior Nun.

But The Witcher proved too popular to purge, due in part to the massive star appeal of Henry Cavill as the lead character, monster hunter Geralt of Rivia. And while fans of other fantasy shows are mourning their cancellations, The Witcher has been confirmed for two more seasons.

But its fans are more nervous than excited.

Cavill Out, Hemsworth In

In spite of his leading-man Hollywood cred, Henry Cavill is a self-proclaimed fantasy nerd. He campaigned hard for the role of Geralt and was open about his passion for the story. But creative differences soon caused friction on set, especially as the storyline of The Witcher's second season started to veer farther and farther from the source material.

Depending on who you listen to, Cavill either: a) became too hard to work with, always thinking he knew better than everyone else on set, or b) tried valiantly to save the show from writers who didn't know or care about its source material or fans.

Whatever the truth may be, enough was finally enough. After filming the third season of the series, Cavill has said goodbye to Geralt. The iconic white wig will be taken up by another square-jawed Hollywood babe: Liam Hemsworth.

Do You Think People Will Notice?

Of course, this isn't just some minor background character you can change up without anyone noticing. This is Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher himself. So how exactly do you swap out a lead actor three seasons into a show?

The answer may come from the original source material. In the second book, Time of Contempt, Geralt battles with the mage Vilgefortz and is severely wounded. He is forced to spend a significant amount of time recuperating under the magical care of dryads in the forest of Brokilon.

Being so damaged that only magic can heal you is a perfect excuse for a character to walk away with altered features. And while the television show has already passed this point in the story, the series has always played a merry hell with the plotlines, timelines, and characters from the books. So it would be a relatively minor thing to toss in the idea that this 'slow-acting magic' has been working away at Geralt's body all this time.

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What Did Netflix Do Instead?

Fan theories have been flying thick and fast about this change. How will Netflix play it off?

One popular idea was that, as The Witcher has a canonical multiverse, (different Dimensions were once easily transversable) Hemsworth will simply play another version of Geralt. This is a major departure from the original source material, where the Dimensions are all entirely different from one another and there is only one Geralt of Rivia across all of them. But again, the series has been more than willing to make major changes in the past, so this was definitely a possibility.

If you believed this theory, you can congratulate yourself on being correct. Sort of. Because it looks like Netflix will be introducing Hemsworth through an unreliable narrator.

In a recent interview with Yahoo, the show's executive producer Tomasz Bagiński said: 'We have a very, very good plan to introduce our new Geralt and our new vision for Geralt with Liam. Not going deeply into those ideas because this will be a huge spoiler, [but] it's also very, very close to the meta ideas which are deeply embedded in the books, especially in book five.'

And what happens in book five, you might ask? It takes place hundreds of years after the events of the main saga, and the main character of the book is a young girl named Nimue, who decides to become a sorceress after being inspired by the legends of Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri told by a Stribog – a traveling beggar and storyteller.

'Suddenly, at the beginning of the [fifth] book, we learn that everything we've read so far may not have been true,' Bagiński said in an interview with Polish newspaper Wyborcza. 'There is only one reality in Sapkowski's work, but because it is a story from the past, what we know has been filtered by various authors, historians, writers, etc.'

So maybe in Stribog's version, Geralt has the face of Henry Cavill, while in reality he has always looked like Liam Hemsworth?

Another confirmation of this theory came from the behind-the-scenes clip of the table read recently released by Netflix, where we can clearly see that both Nimue (played by Serrana Su-Ling Bliss) and Stribog (played by Clive Russell) are present.

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Both the clip and the interviews have sparked a heated debate in the Witcher fandom, so perhaps the wisest course of action would have been for the writers not to mention the physical change at all. Whether it's played as a joke, the result of magic, an unreliable narrator, or a glitch in the multiverse, every fan watching will know the truth: that the lead actor was replaced, and now it's up to the show's creators to prove that The Witcher is still worth watching.

Source: Yahoo, Wyborcza (via Redanian Intelligence), Netflix.