henry cavill caught us all by surprise this past weekend by announcing that he was leaving ‘The Witcher’ and that the fourth season of the series will have Liam Hemsworth as the new Geralt of Rivia. The news was a major downer, as Cavill may not be a great actor, but I’m pretty sure at this point the Netflix series doesn’t make much sense without him. In fact, I think the best thing would have been to cancel it.
For now, Netflix faces a major problem: to make some sense of the change of actor, because ‘The Witcher’ is not ‘Doctor Who’, the quintessential series when it comes to justifying a change of protagonist. The question remains as to whether they will come up with some strange excuse – let’s hope it’s not some crap like when El Gran Wyoming replaced Juan Echanove in ‘milk brothers’– or if they will do it rough, because it is not clear that they have left nothing prepared when the filming of season 3 concluded.
Then there is another important factor. You will think what you want about Cavill, but He was a top-tier actor in Hollywood when he signed for ‘The Witcher’, being the main hook for a greater number of public to give the series a chance. Without him, many may leave. And some have already done it before, since the follow-up has already dropped -albeit slightly- from the first to the second season.
There is also the added problem that ‘The Witcher’ is a very expensive series. It’s clear Netflix is going to save money by swapping Cavill for Hemsworth, but that is something that the platform may take advantage of to reduce costs on more sides to see if the series can go ahead without making such a large investment. Something like this may go well, but it may also happen that many smell the toast and the only thing that they achieve is to postpone the cancellation until the end of season 4.
On the other hand, Cavill’s departure also has led Netflix to make its renewal official well in advance. After all, season 3 will not arrive until the summer of 2023 and it remains to be seen how the public will react to knowing that the series will continue without him. There will be those who may decide to get off the ship before and that could lead to what I mentioned before, that they choose to lower costs to the beast instead of canceling something that no longer gives more of itself.
The only thing that is clear is that ‘The Witcher’ was one of Netflix’s flagship series and now it is in an undesirable situation. There may always be a miracle, everything continues more or less as if nothing and the change of Cavill for Hemsworth is not a mortal wound for the seriesBut I’m not optimistic about it.
The point is that everything suggests the opposite, and the signing of Hemsworth does not generate any illusions and serious doubts about how he can lead a character who lives on charisma above all else, an aspect in which he loses by a landslide in the comparison with Cavill . And that can do more damage than anything else, because later it can surprise us, but I am clear that a sector of the public will not even want to give it a chance, that ‘The Witcher’ was, above all, the Henry Cavill series and now it is a ship adrift. And whoever thinks that the brand ‘The Witcher’ stands on its own should not forget ‘The Witcher: The Wolf’s Nightmare’, the animated prequel that practically nobody saw…
Netflix has already made a mistake to a certain extent comparable with ‘House of Cards’, since it was logical that the platform did not want to know anything about kevin spacey back then, but his last season was his worst by far, and a lot of it was due to his absence. With ‘The Witcher’ they have also been in an undesirable situation and I am not at all clear that they have made the right decision.
Of course, there may be part of damage control, because in December ‘The Witcher: The Origin of Blood’ is released and the platform cannot afford to release it already dead. But since it doesn’t work so well and/or the third of ‘The Witcher’ doesn’t meet the expectations next summer, zero surprises if the fourth installment does not even see the light.