Henry Cavill
4 Theories About Henry Cavill's Unexpected The Witcher Departure

Fans are speculating wildly.

by Ani Bundel
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images

It seemed like an April Fool’s story that Henry Cavill was exiting one of Netflix’s biggest franchises, The Witcher. However, the announcement came in October, and it was no joke. Cavill has left the franchise he was central to the success of; Netflix had recast the titular role with Liam Hemsworth. Of course, fans immediately began theorizing why Cavill is leaving The Witcher.

Cavill’s announcement seemed to be aimed at letting fans down easy, with support for Hemsworth as the new Geralt arriving in Season 4: “My journey as Geralt of Rivia has been filled with both monsters and adventures, and alas, I will be laying down my medallion and my swords for Season 4,” Cavill said. “In my stead, the fantastic Mr. Liam Hemsworth will be taking up the mantle of the White Wolf.”

Cavill compared his exit to other recastings of major roles by younger actors when the originals age out. “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.”

Netflix’s habit of filming its series way ahead of its premiere dates has once again proved savvy. Principal photography for The Witcher Season 3 is already finished, allowing fans one more season with Cavill as the show’s star. But that, of course, only make the theories about why he’s leaving in the first place all the more interesting. Here are the top ideas:


Superman Filming Was A Conflict

The most obvious answer lies in Cavill’s newly inked deal to return to DC Films as Superman. Cavill is expected to star either in a sequel to Man of Steel, or another film in which he would be the main star. Either project would almost certainly conflict with filming The Witcher Season 4, and Cavill probably realized he’d have to choose between the two projects. As IndieWire pointed out, the announcement came within weeks of Cavill’s announced return to Superman, and it seems likely these announcements are directly related.


Cavill Didn’t Like The Witcher’s Direction

The “can’t be in two places at once” argument seems to be the most logical reason for his departure, but The Witcher fans were quick to come up with more dramatic answers. Fans took to Twitter and Reddit, claiming that Cavill, as a Witcher nerd himself, hated the show’s direction.

This claim has been floating around since the show’s first timeline-twisted season. However, it’s not clear if there’s any truth to these claims, as Cavill has always been positive about The Witcher in interviews.


Netflix Needed To Cut Costs

Probably one of the more ridiculous theories is that the recasting was Netflix’s idea, not Cavill’s. This theory posits that Netflix has been looking to cut costs, and this was a chance to dump Cavill for a cheaper actor. While it may be true Netflix might need to be a bit more mindful about budgets, it’s doubtful the streaming service would want Cavill — who initially signed onto the show for seven seasons — to leave halfway through. Besides, it’s not like Liam Hemsworth’s name doesn’t also come with a high asking price.


It’s All The Rock’s Fault

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Some fans aren’t blaming Cavill, the writers, or Netflix. They’re blaming Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If that seems a little far-fetched, consider: Until Black Adam came out with that post-credits scene, there was little belief that Cavill would ever return to play the Man of Steel again. It was Johnson who was publicly vocal that he wanted Cavill back to go up against in a sequel, and when Cavill returned, fans speculated the Rock had been influential in getting the deal made.

Perhaps this is a lesson of unintended consequences, but The Witcher fans may not be as willing to forgive Black Adam for this perceived villainy.

The Witcher Season 3 (which will star Cavill) is expected on Netflix in 2023. Cavill’s next turn as Superman has not yet been announced, but DC Films is expected to release details by early 2023.