Fans of The Witcher television series were surprised a few weeks ago when the series was renewed for the fourth season without its leading actor, since Henry Cavill left the role of Geralt of Rivia. In his place, Liam Hemsworth will take up the mantle, and executive producer and showrunner Lauren Hissrich hopes the change will bring a new energy to the Netflix series.
“What I’m excited about is that we’re allowing this franchise to continue to grow, and for us to get new energy and chemistry that we haven’t discovered yet,” he told IGN. “And to me that’s part of the fun of television; you don’t know exactly where the adventure is going to end. So that’s something I’m really excited about.”
However, the strange thing about this for some fans of The Witcher is that Hissrich and Netflix should know exactly where the adventure is going to end. Both she and the cast have spoken in the past of her love for Andrzej Sapkwoski’s original The Witcher novels, stating that the production team is committed to keeping the story laid out in the eight-book saga.
The biggest proponent of this philosophy was Henry Cavill himself, who often derailed interviews with geeky anecdotes from Geralt, Yennefer, Dandelion and company from deep within the pages of the original Witcher saga. Therefore, the biggest concern surrounding his departure is not the change of leading actor in three seasons, but that could mean the absence of what makes The Witcher so good in the first place.
Attention: The following paragraphs contain spoilers for seasons 1 and 2 of Netflix’s The Witcher, plus minor spoilers for Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher book saga.
Now, I am by no means an advocate of sticking to the source material religiously. Turning the story from the books scene-for-scene would make for a terrible TV series, and I like how Netflix has hit key plot points in different ways. Even, dare I say, he’s done a few things better than Sapkowski. The key to season three will see the wizarding institution crumble in a bloody battle, for example, but Hissrich and his team have already established the main players and tensions. The book’s versions of events featured all of these characters at once, forcing me to read the entire section twice to understand what had happened. That being said, when Netflix completely abandons the original material is when the series becomes weaker.
The Witcher’s world began as a twisted version of fairy tales: in her version of Snow White, the princess robs and plunders with seven gnomes before murdering them; the Little Mermaid is here a sarcastic political debate between two obstinate camps; and Beauty is killed by the Beast in Sapkowski’s version. It is the high fantasy of The Lord of the Rings with the brutality and rawness of Game of Thrones..
Hence, when Netflix introduced its season two antagonist as a creepy witch in the woods who’s just magical, or its monolithic plot that seems to go as deep as “Geralt kills monsters, so let’s make monsters.” harder”, I can’t help but feel that Netflix has completely lost its way and doesn’t understand why people love The Witcher. Add to this the fact that former producer Beau DeMayo has said that some writers “didn’t like” and even made fun of Sapkowski’s books, my hopes are that there will be an interesting live-action version of this incredible and unique world. of fantasy have been gradually reduced.
The same seems to be true of Henry Cavill, who said in November last year that he was absolutely committed to a seven-season Witcher series “as long as we can continue to tell great stories that honor Sapkowski’s work.” The fact that he decided to leave the series only a few months later, after the shooting of the third season, it’s pretty damning.
We’ll see the last time Henry Cavill dons the white wig when season three premieres next summer, but we’ll have to wait a few more years to see. which direction Netflix is taking in its supposedly open-ended adventure. Hemsworth will likely do a good job as the new Geralt of Rivia, but I don’t think he’ll do it with a world or story that fans of The Witcher will be excited about.