While the rich story began as a book series by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher has grown beyond the confines of its book pages. The books have been expanded upon through multiple mediums, the most popular being The Witcher video games. All of these stories star the brooding, intelligent Geralt of Rivia, who has become a rather beloved protagonist in the gaming community.
Because of his popularity and enigmatic personality, Geralt was a difficult role to cast. The script for the Netflix adaptation’s first installation has been confirmed as finished, and the eight-episode season is estimated to premiere in late 2019 or early 2020. However, rumors about Geralt’s casting have been the topic of hot debate.
Zach McGowan was a popular choice, along with Mads Mikkelsen. However, these two were overlooked for a rather surprising choice: Superman. The announcement of Henry Cavill as Geralt surprised many fans, with many saying that the actor was too young and too “boyish” for the role.
Geralt’s gruff, grizzled appearance doesn’t quite line up with the Henry Cavill fans know, and many fans have questioned the casting. However, the showrunners and even Geralt’s voice-actor stand by Cavill. They believe Henry will fill Geralt’s boots quite nicely, and have released several statements justifying the decision.
Henry Cavill has been cast as Geralt in Netflix's The Witcher series! pic.twitter.com/xxh888rhDX— IGN (@IGN) September 5, 2018
According to Gamespot, showrunner Lauren Hissrich spent a long time interviewing actors for the role, trying to decide which of them truly understood Geralt’s character. He’s more than just a seasoned swordsman, and she wanted an actor that would reflect his layered personality. Henry Cavill, a long-time fan of the series, had a better grip on who Geralt was than anyone else.
“I met Henry in April. Over the next four months, I met/reviewed hundreds of other potential leads, many of whom were amazing. But what I never forgot was Henry’s deeply insightful understanding of Geralt’s strength and brutality, and more importantly, his wit and vulnerability. Because as a fan of the franchise, Henry saw beyond the script pages. He saw the human connection that Geralt perpetually needs, even if he denies it, kicking and screaming at every turn. What I saw was Geralt’s heart, in Henry.”
Hissrich isn’t the only one who’s excited to see Cavill in the role. Geralt’s voice actor, Doug Cockle, said that Henry is “just right” for the role. He wants fans to see a new Witcher, and not cling too tightly to the Geralt they know from previous installations.
“Nobody likes change, and the reality is this is going to be a different Witcher,” he told BBC’s Newsbeat. “It’ll have visual differences, it’ll have behavioral differences, but it’s going to be awesome.”
Those familiar with both know that many adjustments were made when the book series was adapted into a game, and there will be a similar degree of change with this adaptation as well. However, fans can expect a show that is more similar to the books than CD Projekt Red’s game series.
Now that the titular character has a face, we’ll have to wait and see who gets cast next.