The Henry Cavill Drama

Henry Cavill is an actor that has really earned his nerd cred over the past few years. It started in 2013 when he played Superman. While not everyone loved his Snyder-version of Clark Kent, he talked on Conan how he missed the call from Zack Snyder telling him he got the part, because he was in the middle of a World of Warcraft raid.

However, the Snyderverse version of the DC Universe has come to very mixed reviews. While some people liked the grim and gritty version of Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman, many did not. There was a big enough fan pressure that the “SnyderCut” was eventually made and released.

Then, in 2019, he was cast as Geralt of Rivia, a move that many people were unsure about, until The Witcher premiered on Netflix, and was honestly one of the best fantasy shows I’ve ever seen. He made himself known as being a huge fan of the source material, in a way I can only describe as like Stephen Colbert with The Lord of the Rings.

I also found a fantasy movie of his from 2007 called Stardust, which I wrote an entire article about how you need to go watch this movie if you haven’t already.

What’s probably my favorite recent interview question, is someone asking about what Warhammer 40K army would Sherlock Holmes use, as Cavill is returning to Sherlock in Enola Holmes 2.

But last week, fans around the world cried out in terror. In Season 4 of The Witcher, Geralt of Rivia will be recast. Henry is leaving the show. Let’s talk about why.

New DC

First, let’s talk about James Gunn. James Gunn entered the Nerdd-sphere when he wrote and directed Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, a movie that was the weirdest thing the MCU had seen, and also instantly a fan favorite. Then he did it again when he made The Suicide Squad, which was instantly so much better than the previous Suicide Squad, as it’s “standalone sequel.” On October 25, James Gunn was announced as the new DC Studios co-president, with Peter Safran, the producer of The Suicide Squad and Shazam!. With this announcement Gunn stated what he wants to do with DC moving forward, to pull it out of the uncertainty they’ve had during the Snyder era.

Then, following a (!Spoiler!) cameo in Black Adam, Henry Cavill officially announced that he is returning as Superman.

“There is so much in the way of conversations to be had. Obviously, I have a very close connection to the character,” Cavill explained. “There is something extraordinarily special about him. Extraordinarily special about his capacity to give and to love. I don’t mean romantically; I mean his love for Earth and for the people who live here, and to make people feel powerful–to make people feel like Superman themselves.”

“I have plenty of desires for this, of course, which will be discussed more in time,” Cavill continued. “But the most important thing, which I will be aiming for, is for the audience to leave the cinema and to feel like they can fly, to feel like they can protect, and to feel like they want to give to everyone else. That would be my goal.”

“So excited to tell a story with an enormously joyful Superman.

Happy Sad Confused podcast

The thing that sticks out to me the most is the phrase “enormously joyful Superman,” something drastically different from the Snyderverse version.

It’s so—and I don’t throw this around often, because I think a lot of people throw it around—but it is humbling to be the guy who gets to be the custodian of that character once again and, hopefully for many years to come as long as I do justice by the character.

Extra TV

So if Henry Cavill is returning to being Superman in the new DC Universe, that helps us understand why he is leaving The Witcher behind. However, there’s not just a pull, but apparently a push as well.

Witcher Writers

Henry Cavill has famously had disagreements with the production and writing team of The Witcher, particularly about how faithful the adaptation is.

The toughest part for me was finding that balance between the showrunners’ vision and my love for the books, and trying to bring that Geralt to the showrunners’ vision. It’s about treading a fine line there. It’s the showrunners’ story and so it’s an adaptation. The tricky bit for me was finding Geralt from the books’ place within that and being able to serve both as much as I could.

The things that I pushed for, it was not necessarily just more dialogue. It was bringing a more book-accurate Geralt to the screen. […] All of my asks and requests were along the lines of just being faithful to the source material.

As long as we can keep telling great stories which honor [author Andrzej] Sapkowski’s work.

Henry Cavill

This is also confirmed by writer Beau DeMayo on his Instagram:

I’ve been on show – namely Witcher – where some of the writers were not [fans] or actively disliked the books and games (even actively mocking the source material)

It’s a recipe for disaster and bad morale. Fandom as a litmus test checks egos, and makes all the long nights worth it. You have to respect the work before you’re allowed to add to its legacy.

DeMayo, Instagram

Now, while it sucks that this is might be a reason for Cavill, an performing artist, to leave the project, this does not mean that the show itself will instantly be bad, or that we shouldn’t still give it a chance. I love Henry Cavill as Geralt, but he is not the only thing about the show that is worth watching.

Between this, The Rings of Power, and House of the Dragon, all anyone wants to talk about lately is faithfulness to source material, something I could not care less about.

If you want to have something be exactly like the books, you have the books. Adaptations should change for two reasons:

  1. Stories don’t translate between mediums perfectly.
  2. The story still wants to surprise you. Why tell a story that you already know?

When the creators of a TV show sit down to tell the Geralt of Rivia story, they shouldn’t want to just take what’s on the page and put it to the screen. They want to tell a new and unique story that’s based on the book.

“Then why don’t you just make something new, with a new character?” some of you say.

Can you imagine, if Netflix made a show about a mutant monster hunter, in a grim and gritty fantasy world, where Elves and Dwarves were prosecuted, and didn’t call it The Witcher? People would lose their minds, about how they “stole” everything from Andrzej Sapkowski, and Netflix would probably be sued for it. Why does that seem like a good idea to anyone?

No, according to these fans, the only two options is to stick religiously to the text, or make something completely different.

I want to see a different version of Geralt, because that just means I have more Geralt. I have book Geralt, video game Geralt, and show Geralt. I have so many ways to enjoy The Witcher that doesn’t feel repetitive, because faithfulness is not the singular goal.

I can understand why Henry Cavill, who has to spend months of his life living as Geralt every season, would only want to do that with a version of the character he understands/respects, but you don’t have to dedicate your life to it, so calm down and give it the same chance you’d give a new series. If Henry Cavill is the only reason you watch the show, then you don’t need to be upset, because Henry Cavill will continue working, and you can watch him in all of his other roles, like Sherlock Holmes in Enola Holmes 2.

Liam Hemsworth

Now, Liam Hemsworth is announced to be the new Geralt of Rivia starting in Season 4, and I can only imagine how he feels, to see the pure vitriol the news has received.

Did you know that there’s a petition on Change.org for Netflix to fire the writers and keep Henry Cavill, with almost 150,000 signatures? First of all, Netflix is not beholden to Change.org. Secondly, Season 1 got 541.01 MILLION hours of viewership in the first 28 days. For a show that is 7 hours 56 minutes long, that means that the equivalent of 68,482,278 people watched it in it’s entirety. So 150,000 signatures comes out to be about 0.2% of the viewership, a number I like to call “Who Cares?” Netflix could lose all 150,000 subscribers, and then only have 222,850,000 subscribers left. Why have I seen over a dozen articles about this petition?

But let’s talk about Liam Hemsworth for a minute. Liam Hemsworth, younger brother of Thor Chris Hemsworth, has 35 acting credits on IMDb, and was nominated for an Emmy, so he’s not just Thor’s brother.

He famously had his break in The Hunger Games saga from 2012-2015, and hasn’t had many other big projects since then. However, while Quibi was a flop of a platform, I did watch Most Dangerous Game with him and Christoph Waltz, and I found it very engaging.

I will say that people haven’t started calling for Liam’s head as “fans” have done with castings for other fandoms, but I can only imagine how awkward he must feel. Getting the biggest part in seven years, won’t be available for another three at least, and the group that will be most invested are this angry.

Casting has always caused a ton of anger, and so many instances the casting was the right call.

  • Heath Ledger – The Joker
  • Daniel Craig – James Bond
  • Robert Pattinson – Batman
  • Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman
  • Anne Hathaway – Selina Kyle
  • Tom Cruise – Lestat de Lioncourt
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Katniss Everdeen

My point being we need to assume that actors can’t successfully “pull off” a role, even when it’s not how you expect the role to be. I assume that Liam’s Geralt won’t be trying to imitate Henry’s Geralt, and it will certainly affect the relationships with the characters. I won’t be surprised if the Geralt/Ciri relationship goes from a father/daughter dynamic to a big brother/little sister one, especially as Ciri grows up and grows in her Witcher training.

What do you think about a new Geralt? Let me know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s