How The Witcher could work Henry Cavill recast into the story

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher. Image: Netflix
Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher. Image: Netflix /

It’s been a challenging past few days for fans of The Witcher following the shocking news that Henry Cavill is leaving the series after its upcoming third season. Yet in the same stroke, Netflix also let fans know that there will be a season 4 of the show, with Liam Hemsworth stepping in as Geralt of Rivia.

While The Witcher has gotten mixed reviews, Cavill’s performance as Geralt has easily been the most consistently praised part of the series. What does a Witcher show without him as Geralt even look like? Hemsworth has a large task ahead of him, but sounds like he’s pretty excited to take it on. “I may have some big boots to fill, but I’m truly excited to be stepping into The Witcher world,” he said in a statement on Instagram.

The idea of recasting Geralt also brings up an interesting question: how exactly will it work in-universe? He’s the main character, the literal face of the show. Will the other characters just act like nothing changed in between seasons 3 and 4? As it turns out, the end of season 3 may present a unique opportunity for the recast.

We’re going to get into SPOILERS here for The Time of Contempt, the novel by Andrzej Sapkowski on which season 3 will largely be based.

How Geralt being recast on The Witcher could become part of the story

The Time of Contempt is considered one of the best books in The Witcher saga, and a lot of that comes down to its epic climax. The back half of the novel centers around a gathering at Aretuza, the seat of power on the Continent for mages, sorceresses, and the like. Just about all of our main characters factor into the Aretuza set piece in some way or another.

We won’t get into details about what goes down — you can read the book for that — but suffice it to say that what happens at Aretuza changes the trajectory of the story. Every character finds themselves in a different place moving forward, and Geralt is no exception. It signals the end of one section of his story and the beginning of another.

To make a long story short, during the climactic moments of this section, Geralt is brutally, horribly injured. Of all the trouble that Geralt of Rivia gets himself into throughout Sapkowski’s books, Aretuza arguably brings him the closest to actually dying. His injuries are so bad that he’s spirited away from the tower by Triss Merigold and brought to Brokilon Forest, where it’s hoped that the dryads can heal him.

They do eventually succeed in healing most of Geralt’s injuries over the course of several months, but he’s never quite the same. After Aretuza, Geralt suffers from chronic pains for the rest of the series, including a limp which sometimes hinders him in combat. Learning how to cope with this is a big part of Geralt’s arc for the back half of the series, and Lauren S. Hissrich has confirmed we should expect to see it in the show.

How Henry Cavill could transform into Liam Hemsworth

But what if The Witcher amped up Geralt’s injuries even farther? While many of them are broken bones, magic is involved as well. What if that magic horrifically damages Geralt to the point where the dryads in Brokilon Forest are unable to completely restore him to the way he was? Or what if the magic used to heal him itself has the unexpected effect of altering his appearance? It could explain his different looks.

I’m not saying I think this is necessarily the best choice or the route the show will take — it could just as easily recast Geralt and expect viewers to just go along with it without a single comment from any of the other characters. But if it did incorporate Geralt’s visual change into the story, the end of season 3 presents as good an opportunity as the show will get.

Just imagine characters like Yennefer or Ciri commenting on Geralt’s changed appearance after the tragic events of Aretuza, while fans mourn the loss of Henry Cavill. It could be cheesy. It could be cathartic. At the very least, it could be interesting.

The Witcher season 3 premieres next summer and we probably won’t know for sure how the recast will play out until season 4.

Next. Henry Cavill denies rumors he’s joining House of the Dragon. dark

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