The Witcher season 3 will serve as a “heroic sendoff” for Henry Cavill

The Witcher season 2. Image courtesy Jay Maidment, Netflix
The Witcher season 2. Image courtesy Jay Maidment, Netflix /

Netflix’s The Witcher won’t end with season 3, but it will be the last time Henry Cavill will play title character Geralt of Rivia, which for some fans might as well be the end. Starting in season 4, the character will be played by Liam Hemsworth, Chris’ brother.

The Witcher season 3 will drop in 2023. It will roughly adapt Andrzej Sapkowski’s novel Time of Contempt, which has a lot for Geralt to do. “Henry has given so much to the show and so we want to honor that appropriately,” showrunner Lauren Hissrich told Entertainment Weekly. “What is so interesting is that season 3, to me, is the closest thing that we’ve done as a one-to-one adaptation of the books. Obviously, we can’t do every page, but Time of Contempt gave us so many big action events, plot points, defining character moments, huge reveals of a big bad. There’s so much to do that we were able to stick really, really closely with the books.”

"Geralt’s big turn is about giving up neutrality and doing anything that he has to do to get to Ciri. And to me, it’s the most heroic sendoff that we could have, even though it wasn’t written to be that. Geralt has a new mission in mind when we come back to him in season 4. He’s a slightly different Geralt than we expected. Now, by the way, that’s an understatement."

The Witcher season 3 will take us to the elven ruins of Shaerrawedd

“Neutrality” is a theme that will come up a lot in season 3. In the book Blood of Elves, Geralt gives Ciri a memorable speech about neutrality when they come upon the elven ruins of Shaerrawedd, but that moment hasn’t shown up onscreen yet. It will in season 3, or at least some version will; whatever Hissrich says about textual fidelity, the show has proven itself very willing to stray from the source material, so I’ll believe it when I see it.

Speaking to EW, Hissrich called the Shaerrawedd set “one of the biggest we ever built.” (Incidentally, “Shaerrawedd” is also the title of the season 3 premiere.) “It was an interior-exterior set. Every shot is visual effects. Obviously there’s a fight happening, but more than that, it is this big, open space. There are blue screens everywhere, so we are just now putting the final touches on it. Episode 1’s been done for ages, but it’s taken that long to get this setting right. I think it’s really important for the story.”

It all comes back to the idea of neutrality, something that Geralt prizes but that he may have to abandon as his quest becomes increasingly intense and personal. “One of the very first things the writers do when we set out … to write a season is we write one-sentence character arcs so that we can boil it down to, this is Ciri’s journey this season, this is Yennefer’s, this is Geralt’s,” Hissrich explained. “Geralt’s was him relinquishing his neutrality by the end of the season.”

That all starts at Shaerrawedd. “This is when we get Geralt’s main thoughts on neutrality and why he wants to be neutral,” Hissrich said. “It’s a theme you will continue seeing throughout the season, right up to some of my favorite quotes between him and Dijkstra [Graham McTavish] about his neutrality offending so many people.”

The Witcher season 3 will arrive on Netflix sometime next year.

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