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Henry Cavill’s anticlimactic departure from ‘The Witcher’ flies in the face of promises of a ‘heroic sendoff’

It was nothing but a bold faced lie.

Screengrab via Netflix

There’s no denying The Witcher season three was fighting an uphill battle. The impending departure of Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia was never going to stick the landing, but promises from showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich that Cavill would receive a “heroic sendoff” led me to believe the final episodes might — just might — assuage the sting of the British actor’s premature departure. At the very least, it gave me hope it wouldn’t suck.

See, from the moment Cavill told us he was leaving the show, preoccupation with season three was always going to be how it would lay the groundwork for Liam Hemsworth’s takeover as Geralt in season four. The fact that the show’s executive producer Steve Gaub even said there would even be an in-universe, lore-accurate explanation for Geralt’s new face in season four had us — me — expecting to see some version of that story take shape by the end of the third season.

Couple that with Hissrich’s promise of Cavill’s “heroic sendoff,” and you have yourself a heaping pile of unrealistic expectations. Perhaps there’s no one to blame but myself, yet by the time this season’s final three episodes (volume two) came out, I was ready to watch the next phase in the show’s evolution play out, i.e. Cavill’s heroic departure and Hemsworth’s imminent arrival. Do you know what we got instead? An entire episode dedicated to Ciri, Geralt laying in bed most of the time, and a finale that was as anticlimactic as ascending the top of a rollercoaster only to go straight instead of down.

On its own, away from the giant zit that was Cavill’s departure staring us in the face, the finale might have been fine; Geralt taking a stance against Nilfgaard, killing an entire border patrol on his own, sending a threatening message to Emhyr, even parting ways with the golden brooch Renfri gave him in season one — it was all a metaphor for a Geralt stepping out of his neutrality and paving the way for a new version of the character to come forward next season. And yet, as he, Jaskier, and Milva walked off into the distance to save Ciri from her evil father, my final words were — literally — “That’s it?”

Delivering on expectations while simultaneously disappointing an entire fandom is about as close a television show can get to being stuck between a rock and a hard place. It was never going to be able to please an entire fandom, but as a viewer who is relatively easy to please, I’m disappointed with the way Cavill’s final moments as the White Wolf played out. To me, there was nothing heroic about it.

When season four rolls around, the show will have to tackle a very big plot point before it can carry on. Not beginning that process with Cavill still in the driver’s seat felt wasteful and, to be frank, disrespectful given the actor’s sheer adoration of the intellectual property.  Alas, what can you do when the announcement of his departure occurred already after filming finished? There are reshoots, sure, but that’d be asking too much of a show that has already disappointed its fandom one too many times.

Cody Raschella
About the author

Cody Raschella

Cody Raschella is a Staff Writer and occasional Editor who has been with WGTC since 2021. He is a closeted Swiftie (shh), a proud ‘Drag Race’ fan (yas), and a hopeless optimist (he still has faith in the MCU). His passion for writing has carried him across various mediums including journalism, copywriting, and creative writing, the latter of which has been recognized by Writer’s Digest. He received his bachelor's degree from California State University, Northridge.