It was recently confirmed that Henry Cavill would be donning the red and blue suit again and to star in Superman: Man of Steel 2 and yes we all cheered at the good news but at what cost? Because this week, the actor dropped the second bombshell that he was quitting the titular role in the Netflix series, The Witcher after season three to be replaced by Australian actor Liam Hemsworth.
“In my stead, the fantastic Mr Liam Hemsworth will be taking up the mantle of the White Wolf,” said Cavill, gracious as ever. “As with the greatest of literary characters, I pass the torch with reverence for the time spent embodying Geralt and enthusiasm to see Liam’s take on this most fascinating and nuanced of men. Liam, good sir, this character has such a wonderful depth to him, enjoy diving in and seeing what you can find.”
The reason this comes as such a surprise is because The Witcher is Cavill’s baby so to speak. The British actor spent lockdown playing and mastering the game series before going on to read the books and short stories written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. Essentially, the man gunned hard for this role and to get the series happening.
Cavill was also instrumental in bringing The White Wolf, Geralt of Rivia to life – demanding that he come across like he does in the book with more dialogue, more engagement and less like a one-word-talking grunt.
So why leave? The most basic reason is one of scheduling – filming Superman would have overlapped or taken over entirely timings for filming The Witcher. New management at Worlds of DC paved the way for actor to return as the Son of Krypton after a rocky series of films (Batman vs Superman and Justice League) failed to win over audiences.
But there had also been rumours that Cavill was unhappy with the writers and their direction with the series and the character that meant so much to him and fans of the books and games.
In interviews, Cavill has stated that he would always be happy to play Geralt on the condition that they “can keep telling great stories which honour Sapkowski’s work” and we know that there had been changes to storylines (the death of Roach, for example) that didn’t sit well with the actor.
Proof this latter theory might be on the money comes via an ex-The Witcher writer, Beau DeMayo. During an Instagram Q&A, DeMayo flat out said the writers room was not perhaps the most respectful to the source material that Cavill held in such high regard.
“I’ve been on a show – namely Witcher – where some of the writers were not 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.”
While we’re sure Hemsworth will do just fine in the role, it is a shame that Cavill – if the stories are true – felt the need to depart a role he practically created due to not just creative difference but what seems like creative indifference.
But at least we’ve got another Superman.