The primary episode of The Witcher season 3 begins with a prolonged recap of the earlier two seasons: flashes of Henry Cavill in that preliminary, questionable Geralt wig, Freya Allen as a much-younger, extra eyebrow-less Ciri, everybody’s shittier eye contacts, sword fights, magic, and a little bit of intercourse. Whereas watching, I used to be viscerally reminded of how a lot floor the sequence has lined since its 2019 debut—how significantly better the make-up and styling obtained, how impressively legible the sword fights are, the simple sexiness of many of the solid, and the way totally excellent Cavill is because the eponymous witcher, Geralt of Rivia.
Netflix’s The Witcher pulls from Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy novel sequence of the identical title (which impressed CD Projekt Crimson’s recreation franchise), although there are lots of inventive liberties taken with the twisting, turning, time-traveling books. The present can generally be a little bit of a large number in terms of plot, getting mired within the political goings-on as a substitute of laser-focusing on the core trio of Geralt, Ciri, and mage Yennefer, however it shines each time it offers these three heart stage. It’s then that you just keep in mind: Cavill was made to play Geralt.
With Cavill leaving after this season and The Starvation Video games’ Liam Hemsworth set to take his place (the reason being nonetheless unclear, although rumors referring to Cavill’s frustration with the present’s writers and his potential different filming commitments have been swirling for months), it’s onerous to observe the present season and never marvel: How will The Witcher go on in Cavill’s absence?
Henry Cavill is a dream Geralt
Cavill’s physicality and familiarity with Sapkowski’s universe shine in each second he’s on display screen—he completely captures the quiet kindness and probing philosophical thoughts that Geralt shows so typically within the books. Geralt can kill you together with his naked palms, however he also can have a riveting debate with you about battle and race relations, and Cavill embodies that completely. I don’t know if I’d name Cavill a wonderful actor, however he is a wonderful Geralt.
There’s additionally a particular sort of physicality that Cavill brings to the position that’s largely rooted in his potential to do lots of his personal stunts. Whereas watching this season, I discovered myself questioning: “Did Cavill take notes from Tom Cruise whereas on the set of Mission Unimaginable: Fallout?” Cruise famously does nearly all of his personal stunts, constantly pushing the bounds of what a Hollywood actor can pull off on-screen, and the payoff is clear: the Mission Unimaginable movies are the very best trendy motion films by a rustic mile.
Cavill has been working with stunt coordinator Wolfgang Stegemann since Fallout—the 2 labored collectively to choreograph the enduring one-shot struggle scene from The Witcher season 1, so the connection isn’t all that far-fetched. And Stegemann instructed GamesRadar that “it’s stunning to see an actor who’s doing all of the stunts themselves. I’ve an important stunt crew however I don’t want a stunt double for him. [This means] I’m capable of shoot particular digicam positions that I might by no means have the ability to do with out him.”
Will Hemsworth have that sort of dedication to his position? The Witcher sequence typically falters in plot development and infrequently in character improvement, however each time Cavill is combating in a scene, you may’t look away. And in Season 3, he will get struggle scenes and emotionally deep moments in spades, reminding us time and time once more that he’s a wonderful Geralt of Rivia.
The Witcher with out Cavill
Bizarrely, even Netflix appears decided to reassure viewers that sure, Cavill remains to be on this season of The Witcher. A current advertising marketing campaign projected the phrases “Sure, he’s nonetheless Geralt in season 3 of The Witcher” on buildings and cliff faces around the globe. Sadly he received’t be Geralt in season 4 of The Witcher, and that’s what I’m most fearful about.
The Witcher season 3 is break up into two components with the second set of episodes coming later this month. The primary set of episodes ended on a cliffhanger, making the watch for these new episodes really feel only a bit longer. Spoilers under for the books, however the second half of the season will probably kick off with the Thanedd coup, an notorious battle that horrifically injures Geralt. He carries that harm with him for the remainder of the sequence, and the aftermath of the coup has main reverberations all through your complete continent: It dissolves the mages’ Brotherhood, it separates Ciri from Geralt, it crowns an elven queen, it imprisons Yennefer.
The Thanedd coup will drastically shift the sequence’ tempo—count on it to maneuver quickly, count on the stakes to be upped tenfold, count on your coronary heart to be damaged time and again. It’s onerous to think about anybody apart from Cavill shouldering the thrilling way forward for The Witcher, however I’ll preserve an open thoughts. Perhaps Hemsworth has obtained the chops, and his Geralt of Rivia can be one for the ages. The Witcher showrunners have promised a “flawless” and “meta” transition from Cavill to Hemsworth, so I’m at the least wanting ahead to seeing how they pull that one off.
The Witcher season 3 volume 1 is streaming now on Netflix; Quantity 2 is due out on July 27.